Dead Voices or Netroots Nation 2011
Netroots Nation is on in Minneapolis. This is the big convention where Democrats go and talk about how progressive they are. It only lasts a few days, I suppose, because that is how long participants can keep the irony at bay.
Netroots Nation started its existence as Yearlykos and still bears the Moulitsas imprint. It is described as a project of Bloggerpower which in its most recent 990 from 2009 names Moulitsas as a director (as is John Aravosis of Americablog). I thought it was funny that Bloggerpower took in some $800,000 that year of which $113,000 went to catering, but I digress. Bloggerpower is domiciled in San Francisco so in Moulitsas' backyard. This is important because Moulitsas is essentially a Democratic operative, and Netroots Nation is very much a Democratic party creature, a vehicle to co-opt progressives resources to Democratic party ends.
I am still unsure about the source of Netroots Nation's funding. On this page, it is described as receiving the "generous support" of the Netroots Arts and Education Initiative in the text and the Netroots Foundation at the bottom of the page. I don't know if these are the same organization or who is behind them/it. Netroots also has a whole slew of sponsors, most of them unions.
I read through their agenda, the list of sessions with their descriptions. There were some that looked critical of Obama, but the Democrats in general? Not so much. On economic topics there was one with Mike Konczal. That's about as far left as they were willing to go. No mention of kleptocracy, class warfare, or wealth inequality, which for me are the great issues of our times.
I mean how much credibility does a convention like this have if it is still wedded to the Democrats who are screwing us all over and is completely clueless about the economy? It looks to me like zero on the politics and zero on the economy. I don't see how it could get much worse.
What got me started on this is that there was a post at emptywheel by bmaz on Marcy Wheeler introducing Russ Feingold as a keynote speaker. He described Feingold as a "hero." This sparked a comment by antoine22:
Well, I’m somewhat leery of Feingold — he did, after all, vote for the Baucus-Fowler insurance industry-friendly health care bill.
Run for president? Democratic party Trojan horse: he will dissipate progressive energies that we could channel into supporting third party candidates, and will then endorse Obama at the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention in the name of party unity. And, we might very well have Dubya’s fourth term.
Support for any national Democratic Party Candidate is, in my opinion, futile. The only way, in my opinion, for progressives to secure a voice in the political process is by speaking truth to power, not joining it
He was taken to task by bmaz for being a single issue critic of Feingold. That in itself was a strawman. Healthcare was the issue that defined Democrats as anti-progressive. But of course there is more. Feingold is a deficit hawk. He did not object to Bush era appointees, opting out of his Senatorial duty to advise and consent, on the grounds that a President should be able to pick whom he/she wants.
He is also remembered for his censure motion against George Bush, but that was back in 2006. For the last two years of the Bush Administration and the first two years of the Obama Administration, he went silent. These were critical times. A liberal, progressive voice was needed, a voice of protest, but that wasn't Feingold's. When progressive leadership was needed, he was nowhere to be seen. Indeed the fact that he did not speak out against Obama, that he was legitimately tied to Obama's policies, was the likely cause of his re-election defeat. This is the "hero" bmaz is talking about.
The truth is that antoine called this exactly right. This is all about dissipating progressive energies to leave them with nowhere to go in 2012 but the Democrats. Obama and the Democrats have the full expectation that most won't go third party or stay at home. An event like Netroots Nation shows not only why they think this way but why too they have so little respect for progressives. Democrats will screw progressives because, seeing the pseudo-progressives in Minneapolis taking all the oxygen out of the progressive movement, they know they can.