Liberals could face major losses if they continue to ignore the Tea Party movement, a panel of progressive writers said Thursday during a discussion at NetrootsNation, an annual gathering of bloggers, activists and policy makers.
The panelists, which included well-known authors David Neiwert and John Amato of Crooksandliars.com, warned that regardless of whether people have negative attitudes toward the Tea Party, progressives could lose their footing unless they mobilize their own base and treat the right-wing movement as a force to be reckoned with.
...but ultimately pointless: the netroots have already mobilized their base. A large portion of it is in Las Vegas right now resolutely ignoring the Blanche Lincoln Lesson*, and the rest of it is bitterly at home producing the political pornography which is the netroots' reason for existence. As for the consumers of that pornography... well. They're already engaged in the struggle through said consumption: what more can people reasonably expect of them?
This is one of the great conceits of 2010, and one that the Daily Caller itself tolerantly indulges: the notion that the mirror image of the Tea Parties is the Netroots. It's not. The Tea Parties have already passed online activists and bloggers in its ability to direct public discourse, mostly because it has also already demonstrated its superior ability to get people out in the streets, protesting. The netroots have spent the last two years trying to match numbers and enthusiasm, either by cargo cult imitations or from trying to generate counter-protests. The first type invariably ends in tears and futility; the second requires padding from union goons and professional agitators, which is semantically equivalent to 'encourages acts of violence and intimidation.' Neither is particularly reflective of the actual opinions of the American voting public; if they were, there would be no need to try either technique.
That's why, when professional scaredy-cat David Neiwart** talks about how people need to "activate truly the populist wing of the progressive movement" he's talking even more out of his hat than usual: there isn't one. We now know what a populist wing of a movement truly looks like, and the Left couldn't get one up and running if their political survival was at stake.
Which, oddly enough: it is.
*"Online indignation has an upper limit in its ability to affect elections."
**Hi, Dave. The RepubliKKKan militia Tea Partier who lives under your bed and whispers to you in the night wanted me to remind you that he's taking his two weeks' vacation in September this year.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.