Netroots Digging Deep

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2006 at 5:03 pm

A good piece in today's Guardian on the blogosphere's influence on the 2008 election:

Joe Lieberman has a fight on his hands. Until very recently, the three-term Democratic senator and former presidential candidate was cruising to re-election in Connecticut, his home state. But the 64-year-old grandee now finds himself in sudden danger of falling victim to a new political life form: the internet candidate.

Ned Lamont, a cable television entrepreneur, has come from nowhere to pose a serious threat, with the help of internet fundraising and anti-war bloggers outraged at Mr Lieberman's gung-ho support for the Iraq invasion.

Less than two months ago, the Connecticut senator was 27 percentage points ahead of Mr Lamont in the polls. By last week that had shrunk to six points, with seven long weeks to go before the Democratic primary election.

Over the weekend, in a sure sign of nerves, the Lieberman camp "went negative", producing a much-ridiculed attack advert in the form of a cartoon portraying the upstart as a bear cub running as a proxy for Republican interests.

What seemed at first to be a quixotic challenge to a Democratic titan is turning into an epic battle that could signal the direction the party will take.

It is a test of strength between the old way of doing politics built around a hierarchical party machine and the new campaigns fought by the so-called "netroots", who organise themselves and raise money on the web. The first netroots uprising was the Howard Dean insurgency, but when the former Vermont governor imploded as a candidate in 2004 the new politics lost some of its glamour.

If Mr Lamont stages an upset in the Connecticut primaries on August 8, it may signal the point of no return for American politics. "It will change the kind of person who goes into politics," said Arianna Huffington, who runs the political blog Huffington Post. "It will end the dominance of consultants who have been running campaigns in the same focus-group, poll-driven way that has taken the soul out of politics."

For the time being, this conflict between old and new is being fought out principally inside the Democratic party…

Read the rest of this worthwhile article here.


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