“Netroots” Power Weakens as Voters Embraces Centrist Democrats

“Progressive” astro-turf in denial as Congressman Rham Emanuel and Senator Chuck Schumer Deliver Power To The Democrats

As published on DonkeyDigest here, here, and here, Centrist Democrats, often hand-picked by party leaders, faired much better than so-called “grassroots” candidates backed by “progressives.” This from the liberal Magazine “The Nation.” In a piece titled ‘Netroots’ Loose Their Grip In Midterms, Ari Melber writes:

The blogs’ most famous candidate and top fundraising beneficiary, Ned Lamont, lost his bid to unseat Senator Joe Lieberman. One of the campaign’s senior advisors, former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis, said the victory “proved the blogosphere is all wind and very little sail.” Bloggers tell a different story: the unusual, 3-way race should not be judged strictly by who won, but also by its success in helping “make Iraq the center of this electoral season,” as Joel Silberman wrote on FireDogLake. If Lamont’s loss is counted as a symbolic effort that beat expectations, his performance fits a pattern. Many of the netroots’ most popular House candidates beat expectations this week, but ultimately lost.

While there is no single, authoritative list of netroots candidates, ActBlue.com, a Democratic fundraising clearinghouse, lists the candidates nominated by top blogs and ranks them by total donors. Looking at their top 20 Democratic House candidates, so far ten have lost, three have won and the other seven are in races that are still too close too call at the time of writing. The netroots’ lost races include national names, such as FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley in Minnesota and New York’s Eric Massa, the popular former aide to Gen. Wesley Clark. Winners include attorney Paul Hodes in New Hampshire and two veterans, Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Tim Walz in Minnesota. (Bloggers also provided critical early support to long-shot Senate challengers Jon Tester and Jim Webb, who were locked in races that were also still too close to call on Wednesday morning.)

Yet regardless of the remaining results and recounts, the fact is the netroots’ favorite candidates did not perform as well as the Democrats targeted by party leaders.

The facts outlined above are now a matter of public record and historical fact. But the netroots claim (and rightly so) that DCCC chairman Rep. Rham Emanuel hand-picked candidates for many House races and discouraged candidates who were more progressive from running in some districts. Their implication is that had “progressive” candidates been “allowed” to run, Democrats would have won bigger. But what the netroots have never seemed to fully understand is that, in some parts of the country, certain ideologies just won’t be accepted. Senator Ted Kennedy, for example, would never win in Montana and Virginia where centrists Tester and Webb just won Senate seats. Representative Dennis Kucinich would lose in a landslide in South Carolina where Heath Schuler defeated an incumbent Republican last night.

And that was the pattern the entire night.

But the denial goes a bit deeper and is personality driven. The netroots despise Emanuel (and to a lesser extent Chuck Schumer,) and seem to be spinning facts in order to deny him credit for the House wins last night. But even Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House, said last night, “”Let’s hear it for Rahm Emanuel. He did a great job masterminding our strategy, which is bearing fruit tonight.”

Perhaps one day, the netroots will join the real world. They’re certainly entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.


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