Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Crashing the Gate: Markos and Jerome Tell it Like it Is"

"Last September I posted an essay entitled “The Triangle: Limits of Blog Power” in which I attempted to assess the scope of progressive blog influence. I concluded by saying that it was reasonable to assume “that the best strategy for the progressive netroots is to go after the media and Democratic Party leaders and spend less time and energy attacking the Bush administration."

I argued that
"if the netroots alone can’t change the political landscape without the participation of the media and Democratic establishment, then there’s no point wasting precious online space blasting away at Republicans while the other sides of the triangle stand idly by. Indeed, blog powerhouses like Kos and Josh Marshall have taken an aggressive stance toward Democratic politicians they see as selling out core Democratic Party principles. Kos’s willingness to attack the DLC is mocked on the right, but it is precisely the right’s fear that Kos will “close the triangle” that causes them to protest so loudly.”
Six months later, Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zuniga) and co-author Jerome Armstrong are receiving much-deserved accolades for their new book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. True to form, the pair takes direct aim at the structural flaws, strategic failings, and ideological timidity of the Democratic establishment. It isn’t a blanket condemnation - several courageous Dems are praised - but it is an unflinching look at the Party through the eyes of two netroots visionaries. While Republicans are by no means spared, it’s the brutally honest look at the Democratic establishment and progressive infrastructure (if such a thing exists) that makes Crashing the Gate an essential read.

Some of the key attributes of the progressive blog and online activist community are a confrontational disposition, pride, realism, intellectual candor, and scorn for those who fail to recognize that strength is not defined by focus-grouped policy positions but by fierce devotion to principle. Markos and Jerome reflect that blogospheric disposition and mince no words in their assessment of the current political landscape.

The split between the Dem establishment and the netroots may be tempered by Bush’s depressed poll numbers, but a serious split it is, a difference in worldviews and attitudes, and one that risks expanding into a deeper fissure as we approach the midterms.

The good news is that steps are being taken by a number of bloggers and Democratic insiders to build bridges across the netroots-establishment divide. Whether these efforts will bear fruit remains to be seen -- hopefully we can avoid open warfare. Until then, read this book to get an accurate understanding of the fault lines and a good sense of where we’re heading…"-Daou Report.

The Seattle stop on the book tour (Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave, Hall 1, April 7, 7:00 p.m.) is confirmed here.

No comments: