Yearly Kos is getting a lot of attention and articles in main stream media organs are celebrating the rise of the nutroots. But personally, I feel this will end up being a disaster for the Dems when regular people, who aren’t hardcore internet users, find out exactly what Kos and Co. stand for and how radicalized the Dem party is becoming due to their influence.
After a lot of failures (most famously going 0-23 in ’04) Kos and other nutroot sites are having a definite effect on races, mostly smaller ones where a huge influx of money in an election that normally would pit two modestly financed candidates against one another. The leftwingnutosphere can and does produce contributions from across the country for some unheralded local race, and it can tip the balance.
But what is the result? The nutroots usually back ultra-liberal candidates, even verging into the lunatic fringe of Truthers and conspiracy nuts. At minimum, they demand a slavish devotion to liberal dogma like immediate withdrawal from Iraq, draconian glowball warmage regulatory fascism, “universal” (as in rationed) healthcare, etc. Their focus on small races where a determined group of out of state donors and activists can make a difference is probably already having an effect. There are, of course, districts in the country where you can elect the looniest of leftists. But when these nuts get a national platform, like the House, the radical left’s agenda gets another mouthpiece that squawks through the megaphone of CNN and the alphabet networks (not on FOX of course, whom the far left is attempting to shut out of political debate by coercing democrat candidates to boycott on the pain of excommunication).
Even Hilary! has felt the need to genuflect to the nutroots. And all the candidates have, in one form or another, modified their stance on issues to stroke the far left on the internet. Some, like Edwards, have taken it to the point of virtual oral sex, but all the candidates are attending the Yearly Kos gathering, and will face heckling and scathing blog posts, emails, and phone campaigns if they fail to properly kowtow to the nutroots darlingest narratives.
So what’s the point of this essay? That by pouring huge amounts of resources into what used to be small, modest affairs in local campaigns, the nutroots can elect their preferred candidates. Probably not in reliably red districts, but they can high-jack most moderate Dems in the primaries and install far left ideologues. This is already having the effect of the radicalization of the party, especially in the House. In the Senate, where races get more attention, they have to settle for moderate-ish candidates like Jim Webb and Heath Shuler, whom they frankly detest, but they hold their nose and accept because it allows them majority status when these seats would otherwise go to Republicans should a radical leftist (like Ned Lamont) try to run.
And that’s the secret of why they have so far been successful: contrary to the experience of those of us who are net junkies and read all this drivel, the average American does not know who Kos is, does not know the agenda of the far left, and is unaware of their program to push the Dems to the extreme left of the scale. The MSM© is slowly getting the word out, and giving face time to lunatics like Markos “screw them” Molitsos. When they do become aware, even most Democrats are likely to cringe.
Despite what the nutroots thinks, they do not have a majority of voters on their side. They are trying to stage a coup in the Democrat party by misrepresentation, obfuscation and rhetoric. However, when it comes to actual voting on issues and statements that mirror the nuttiest nutrooter by the likes of majority leader Reid or maniacs with power like Murtha, the public begins to take notice. And they don’t like it (see Congress’ 3% approval rating on the war).
I don’t know whether the nutroots is deluded enough to think they can function as a majority wing of a majority party or if they are willing to burn down the house trying, but I suspect that first, Hilary will have to break with them at some point and that will amount to writing them off. If she doesn’t they are going to embarrass her and further alienate her with voters. Next, the Democrat majority is going to get tarred with the brush of the loud and looniest among them, souring the public on Democrat control of Congress.
This is a good thing for Republicans. The Right wing bloggers are, by and large, a lot saner and lot less demanding of absolute adherence to a set of rules than the left. And, the right’s constituency is a lot larger and more in tune with independents and centrists.
I’m already out there predicting a Rudy landslide and Republican takeover of at least the Senate, and great gains in the House over marginal members who slid in during the ’06 blip. I’m also very much on record that some time in the future the Dem party is going to have to face down the nutroots, either capitulating and becoming a permanent minority far-left party, or splitting the party (more likely because the nutroots wants absolute control) which will have the same effect.
This is not an absolutely good thing because the Republicans securely in control are pretty lax on discipline and responsibility to good government. But it beats Hilary naming Supreme Court justices and a dem senate rubber stamping them.