Howard Dean was a good Democratic governor of Vermont particularly on issues of healthcare. Howard Dean also led the way when he supported civil unions for gay citizens – at the time a courageous breakthrough position. Howard Dean was a strong voice for Democrats against the war in Iraq. Howard Dean has also been an inspiring leader as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. For all these achievements we praise Howard Dean.
But when Howard Dean, during his presidential run in 2004, shook the Democratic tree a lot of nuts fell out. We have been afflicted with these nuts ever since.
Yesterday, as everyday, we saw the destructive mold and mildew these vandalizing nuts have spread throughout our political house. Yesterday the detrius of their work was found on the Politico in an article called Bloggers Could Be Dead Link For Clinton.
Before we catalog the nutroots’ hypocrisy, and the damage these so-called “progressives” have caused, we will make some distinctions. We think the internet is a valuable communications tool. Many wonderful and thoughtful people have taken advantage of this relatively new medium and we do not impugn their contributions. However, we also think the political power of the internet has been exaggerated. Usually the exaggerations of the internet’s political influence come from those who wish to increase the value of their piece of internet real estate and thereby the value of their opinions in policy debates. While we believe the power of the internet right now is overblown, the internet’s potential for growth and influence in the political world is not exaggerated. The internet will continue to grow and prosper.
But right now, there is a danger that comes from a small core of Mayberry Leninists who believe they are the leaders of a “movement”. They call it a “people powered” movement but in reality what they envisage is a lot of people following their glorious leadership. They call themselves the “netroots”. We call them what they are, the “nutroots”. Again, we refer to the self-appointed, self-interested, self-important leadership at places like DailyKos (aka DailyKooks) and MyDD (aka MyDud) — not the mostly well intentioned posters who are habitues of these websites.
The leadership of these nutroots sites crow that they are “reality based” and that they are there to fight the special interests which have taken over the Democratic Party. Never mind that these nutroots have themselves become a special interest even as they deride women’s groups and pro-choice groups. This nutroots leadership also delights in banning posters at their sites who disagree with their point of view (don’t even try to discuss the possibility that something was amiss in election 2004) while preaching that the Democratic leadership must listen to the nutroots leaders. Hypocrites.
Let’s read a nutroots post from June 12, 2006 and gain insight into the nutroots leadership mentality:
This is the first release form [sic] the BlogPac netroots survey that you raised money for last week. The graph shows Hillary Clinton’s favorable ratings according to frequency of blog readership among progressive netroots activists and compared to a recent Hotline poll of all Democrats: [nutroots graph not included]
This is what is known as a direct statistical correlation. The more frequently a netroots activist readers blogs, the less likely s/he is to have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. While netroots activists who never read blogs have an opinion of Hillary Clinton roughly comparable to all Democrats, netroots activists who regularly read political blogs actually have an overall negative opinion of Hillary Clinton, at 45% favorable and 54% unfavorable.
Given these rather remarkable numbers, the $640,000,000 question is whether or not blog readers really are the influential, cutting edge of Democratic public opinion, or whether we are an isolated group that has little overall impact on the sentiment of the Democratic rank and file.
Considering results from the recent Iowa poll, the recent Connecticut poll, and the Montana Senatorial primary (among other things), I am strongly inclined to believe that the opinions held by progressive, political blog readers eventually come to be shared by a wide percentage of the Democratic rank and file. If that is the case, given these results, the question is not whether or not Hillary Clinton is the heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but whether or not she will have any serious impact on the primary season at all.
The writer of this silly self-important mindlessness is considered to be one of the best in the nutroots. The nutroots delight in the idea that they will tear Hillary Clinton down (they have not and Hillary is stronger than ever). These people really believe that, like some pre-soviet russian vodka drinkers, they sway Democratic opinion. They really believe that outside of their self-built, mud bedecked, echo chambers, sensible people listen to them.
Sensible people do not listen to them, but many journalists, desperate for something, anything, to write about use them as fodder for articles. These nutroots leaders will continue to attack the most likely Democratic Party nominee. Which brings us to the Politico article from yesterday. Here is how the article begins:
As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination, her biggest opposition may not come from primary rivals or Republican challengers, but rather from the leftist blog community that often views her as a political punching bag.
We wrote in our initial post that “We will have lots to say especially with regards to the media and blog coverage of the campaign. We will keep an especially sharp eye on “progressives” or Democrats who repeat Republican propaganda to undermine Hillary or any of our candidates.” More recently in a post called Hillary’s Assassin(s) we wrote “We know we have to keep a sharp eye on these “nutroots” crackpots.” So here at Hillary Is 44 we know that what the Politico wrote is essentially true. The nutroots are, when teamed with Big Media, a threat to any and all Democrats who do not bow to their will, no matter how foolish or ill advised their will is.
Let’s continue plowing through the Politico article:
“Instead of being embraced by liberal blogs as the first serious woman presidential contender, Clinton has been labeled an “opportunist,” the candidate more interested in getting elected than in standing on principle. “Her model of doing politics is based on pandering to individual groups,” said MyDD’s Matt Stoller. He cited Clinton’s stance on Iran – “she’s giving cover to Bush’s strategy” – and her fundraiser with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch as evidence that she’d rather triangulate than play the role of progressive.”
“Much of the bloggers’ ire is directed at Clinton’s nuanced Iraq policy – from her initial support for the war to her hesitancy in moving away from that position. Even her condemnation of President Bush’s surge proposal, and her calls for troop redeployment, have been derided as ‘late to the party.’”
The factual errors in the above are many. We continue to discuss Hillary’s position on Iraq in our series of posts called Hillary on Iraq so we will not take time here to refute the factual errors in the 2 previous paragraphs. Let’s discuss the nutroots and their attitude to Hillary because of Iraq. Clearly, the nutroots are using Iraq as an excuse to attack Hillary. How phoney is Iraq as a reason for attacks on Hillary by the nutroots?
The very same Matt Stoller who now attacks Hillary as an opportunist and as wrong about Iraq, himself supported the Iraq war. Support is actually too weak a word. Stoller advocated a very tough U.S. attack on Iraq and denigrated those on the left who disagreed with him as weak.
Stoller does not like what we have known for years as “interest group” liberalism. Stoller finds the notion of being responsive to various communities (except for the blogging community of course) as a vile practice. As to Iran, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards pretty much have the same position. They do not want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and they are not taking anything off the table. The only one that is attacked with vigor at every turn however, is Hillary.
As to Rupert Murdoch, the Clintons have been the #1 targets of Murdoch’s publications. Hillary reaching out and trying to neutralize the vile Murdoch is viewed as “triangulating”. It never occurs to the nutroots that neutralizing your opponents is a wise policy. What irks the nutroots is that Hillary will not be their marionette. She will not be a puppet dancing to their warped definition of “progressive.”
As with all things nutroots, the article then turns downright comic. Enter the least talented of the Gabor sisters, Arriana Huffington: “Hillary Clinton’s problem with the blogosphere is that she has been so calculating that you can smell it. Every thought has been processed through multiple channels in her and her consultants’ brains. It’s so fabricated.” Arriana Huffington criticizing anyone for anything is funny in and of itself. But Arriana calling anyone “calculating” or “fabricated” is actually self-evaluation.
Republican Ed Rollins (campaign manager for Arriana’s husband at the time, Michael Huffington, in his 1994 campaign for Senate from California) called Arriana “a domineering Greek Rasputin” who was “the most ruthless, unscrupulous, and ambitious person I’d met in thirty years in national politics.” Of course this was when Arriana was right hand to Republican Newt Gingrich. At some later date we will detail Arriana’s membership in that weird religious cult, her “marriage” to her husband whom she effectively forced to spend millions in his Senate campaign so that Arriana could be a Senator’s “wife” in D.C., and her ceaseless attacks on the Clintons when they were in the White House. Nothing changes with Arriana except her political bed partners.
After the Arriana comic interlude, the article stumbles into an interesting fact. “In an April 2007 Daily Kos poll, Clinton received only 3 percent of the site users’ support. And yet, a Cook/RT Strategies national poll around the same time had her winning 36 percent of the potential Democratic vote.” Nothing really has changed. The nutroots polls always have and still do have Hillary polling very low while national polls have her continuing to rise and to dominate the field. Yet, the nutroots love the claim that they are “reality based”. Yeah, right.
What the nutroots want is a prominent candidate to drive with them over the cliff. Most of the leadership of the nutroots are discharge from the old Howard Dean campaign and the disaffected from the Clark campaign. The nutroots hope to recreate a campaign which emulates the suicide run of the Howard Dean campaign of 2004 in which they had a prominent place. Again, we admire Howard Dean. We do question the wisdom of spending $40 million and only winning home state Vermont. We also think that webcentric political campaigns are a recipe for disaster and we will have more to say about this in later posts.
At some point soon, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. The nutroots will then have to stop attacking her or be confronted by the Democratic Party. It will be Howard Dean’s unpleasant job to put back in the tree the nuts he unwittingly shook loose.