Reihan Salam makes an astute observation about the left’s netroots. Once viewed as the rise of a new kind of political movement, one critically independent of those in power, they have become, with the ascent of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama, standard Beltway fare. Except for, of course, a ‘Kos here and there.
In a sense, Moulitsas is striving to maintain a movement stance independent of the Democratic establishment. His interlocutors, who began as independent voices highly critical of said Democratic establishment, have come to see its virtues as they’ve gained access and prestige…. [I]t’s a mark of the continuing evolution of a political movement that, it turns out, wasn’t as distinctive or as important as advertised. As many conservatives argued at the time, the rise of the netroots didn’t really represent a genuinely new ideological tendency. It was and remains a vehicle for the revival of 1970s-style liberalism, which holds northern European social democracy as its lodestar.
It’s a convincing argument, and Salam identifies a few potential villains in the story, which always makes for a better read.
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