Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama versus the netroots?

I'm wondering how strong the connection between Barack Obama and the "netroots" ever really was. Yes, he had a lot of supporters online, but he had a lot of detractors. His ideology was never as partisan as most Dem bloggers', and his campaign was nowhere near as blogger-friendly as the other Dem candidates' campaigns were. (He mostly stuck to his facebook-like website, which is a somewhat different operation.)

But still, however strong that connection was, I think it's safe to say that it's well and truly broken now. Forget Digby and Avedon Carol; when you've got Atrios calling you the Wanker of the Week, you have problems. And when you have an online opinion leader like Glenn Greenwald absolutely tearing you up, you have REALLY big problems.

And he had to know this was going to happen. There's no issue that fires up online Democratic base like the wiretapping issue. Right or wrong, that's just the truth. If he's willing to not only go against them, but toss out a whole bunch of silly lines about national security trumping all else, he's willfully jettisoning the a LOUD part of the base's support. He's not likely to get it back quickly, either; when even the carefully pro-partisan but non-ideological Marko Moulitsas is ticked off at you, you've got problems.

Can he get away with it? I'm not sure. It depends on whether his network really is better than the bloggers' network. One thing I am sure of: FISA wasn't worth it. He'll learn that when the Republicans go right back to attacking him. It's just a pity he couldn't have figured it out sooner.

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