Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Netroots and the Clintons"

Matthew Yglesias:
Matt Stoller says the netroots have a deep-seated loathing of Hillary Clinton and her elitist triangulating ways. Atrios says the foundation of the netroots worldview has to do with outrage at press coverage of Whitewater and a separate post complaining about Fox News and the "Clinton rules of journalism."

All of which reminds me that I meant to link to Ed Kilgore's post on the netroots and Clintonism, though not to answer his questions which seem to me to have been phrased in a loaded way. The thing of it is, however, that both the Stoller post and the Atrios posts speak to important strands of netroots thinking. You can find a ton of mean stuff written about Bill and Hillary Clinton on the blogs, but it's still the case that the progressive internet movement substantially has its roots in endeavors (MoveOn, MediaWhoresOnline, the Daily Howler) whose original purposes were to defend the Clinton/Gore administration and their DLCish policy agenda from the right-wing's attacks. And, indeed, since this started with looking at Stoller in contradistinction to Atrios, it's worth revisiting this section of Matt's big recent essay:

Beginning with the Clinton impeachment in 1998, identity liberals who had voted but not really gone beyond that in their direct political activity began to sign petitions, give money, and engage in activism. As the shocks not only got worse – the impeachment was followed by what was essentially a legal coup in 2000, the attacks of 9/11, and then the disgraceful Democratic complacency during the Iraq debate in 2002 – liberals began to not only vote but use innovative political strategies to take and institutionalize power.

9/11 and Iraq are today's signature issues, but the origins institutionally and emotionally are the battles in defense of Clinton (1998) and Gore (2000) and I don't think the implications and meaning of this are well understood.
Howie says: Read the comments if you're not sure you agree with this. For example, this one from Stuart Eugene Thiel:
I don't see the contradiction. Sure, the Clintons are equivocating, triangulating weasels, but they're OUR equivocating, triangulating weasels. And they're both really damn smart and, at bottom, their hearts are more or less in the right place. We'll defend them when we must and will replace them when we can.

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