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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, June 04, 2003


Netroots, baby, netroots!

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 04, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Kansas City Star explores the Dean/Meetup phenomenon in this article posted earlier today, and rightly concludes that the internet has the potential to revolutionise the political process. They credit the Dean campaign for it's efficient and innovative use of the internet.

Deanblogger Yoni Cohen, co-founder of Students For Dean, is quoted often (YEA!) as the reporter tries to get a grip on the importance of this movement. "For establishing a national organization, to keep everybody networked and helping each other out, the Internet has been an amazing tool," Cohen said. Campaign manager Joe Trippi expands on the concept of netroots, adding "It's not your father's presidential campaign. We still wrestle with it from time to time. The challenge is, you can't put an order out, `Make these 10 phone calls today.' Things happen that you can't plan for... You've gotta be willing to let go, which is scary, let me tell you, `cause I'm doing it."

The article also asks some tough questions, the main one being how to stay on message via thousands of independent supporters. I feel the Dean campaign has begun to address this by issuing agendas for each meetup. For all you hosts, you can grab it here. They've also got videos you can play via laptops at the meetups. These things are just the beginning, and I'd ask that if anyone has ideas of other types of tools that you'd like to see provided, leave it in the comments 'cause you know the campaign will read them.

I suppose the real test will be this: what will be manifested from this movement? How much of an effect will the netroots have on this campaign? Most certainly, the answer lies in our hands. It's up to us to ensure that our party changes, that our leadership changes, and that our country becomes what we all envision it to be. I think that's one of the underlying messages we keep hearing from Howard Dean (once again proving that he "gets it"): he'll lead the charge, but we've got to provide the fuel to that proverbial fire. It's important for those of us who participate at this level to engage others to do so, and meetup is a fantastic way to accomplish our goals.

By the way, current meetup membership has surpassed 31,000. The article - again, issued today - lists a total of 27,000. Astroturf? I think not.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.