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Daily Digest: The Evolutionary Tracks of the Left and Right

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 21 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Netroots Nation and RightOnline both drew to a close in Austin this weekend. And it's looking a lot like the left's netroots has made the leap from fish swimming in the sea to four-legged creature skittering around on the beach. The right, meanwhile, is still sprouting nubs and dragging its wet self onto the sand. NN, at least, gave the appearance of being an industry meet-and-greet, while RO was focused on teaching and training its online front line. We've got your recap of both events here in the Digest. In brief, Bob Barr turned up at both, Al Gore made a surprise showing at one, and much BBQ was eaten all around. Let's start with Netroots Nation, with a look at both big news and smaller happenings:

  • Kate Phillips from the New York Times' Caucus blog suggests that Netroots Nation '08 was a low-key affair with a distributed energy, with less of the "OMG, I saw Markos, did you see Markos?!" flavor than in years past. And with a Democratic win a real possibility this presidential election cycle, Jose Antonio Vargas asks if the fate of the netroots is hitched to an Obama victory.

  • Of course, Kos was there. Markos Moulitsas sat down for a chat with DLC chief Harold Ford in which Ford was occasionally jeered, particularly when he heaped praise on his former colleagues at Fox News. More coverage of "the great debate" by New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye and a look at why Markos and Harold just can't get along from the Wall Street Journal.

  • A session on the push for a national popular vote only attracted only a few lonely souls.

  • The Washington Post's Garance Franke-Ruta sees significance in the fact that Barack Obama was somewhere on the other side of the planet during Netroots Nation; but several members of his team were on the ground and participating. For example...

  • Future Majority's Kevin Bondelli blogs out a session with the Obama camp's Chris Hughes and Judith Freeman on how MyBO, Facebook, and MySpace help move them closer to the goal of getting their guy into office. While MyBO and Facebook may get a lot of attention, the ugly duckling that is MySpace helps them reach and activate young voters. Reports Colin Delany, one advantage of MyBO is how it quickly establishes presences in parts of the country with no official Obama footprint.

  • Ari Melber finds it weird that the MSM (note to Ari: it's been rebranded "traditional media") seems to feel the need to frame the presence of both activists and party officials at Netroots Nation as either a love fest or coming together of two warring houses.

  • The keynote of newly-elected congressperson from Maryland Donna Edwards was liveblogged.

  • The Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar has a report on Al Gore's surprise appearance during the "Ask the Speaker" session with Nancy Pelosi that is mostly pieced together from Twitter tweets. Gore hammered on his call to get American off of fossil fules by 2018 and dismissed domestic drilling plans. More coverage of Gore: Hotline, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post (with video).

  • Sanding down rough edges: have bloggers cleaned up their potty mouths?

  • Green for All's Van Jones, and his introducer, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, got some good press from Talking Points Memo. TPM TV has also has interviews with Speaker Pelosi on the wisdom of surveillance legislation and Washington State Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley on his electoral prospects.

  • Acting as a bridge across troubled waters, civil libertarian Bob Barr made the 12 mile drive from Netroots Nation and the RightOnline (and for the former, reportedly, paid his own way). Which brings us to our coverage of RightOnline:

  • David All reports on RedState's Erick Erickson RO presentation in which he threw about a ton of red meat to the crowd, called on them to quit standing on the sidelines and get engaged locally -- filing FOIA requests, raising red flags, and calling out their local sheriffs, for example. Erick's speech raises the question over whether RightOnline was a more grassroots and locally-minded event than NN.
  • The right's equivalent to Netroots Nation is closer to CPAC (the annual Conservative Political Action Conference) than it is RightOnline, says Robert Bluey in his "Reflections on Right Online." Robert emphasizes that the conservative conference in Austin was focused on training, not powwowing. (Now, we use the gloss "conservative" to describe RightOnline, but is libertarian closer to the truth?)

  • The Next Right's Aaron Marks takes issue with Michelle Malkin's idea that the right isn't behind onlline, just different. Also on The Next Right, diarist Allen says that "the netroots is kicking our b***" because the online right isn't ideological enough or tough enough on the GOP. Related: hilzoy, sitting in for a vacationing Andrew Sullivan, digs into the issue pages on the two major presidential candidates' websites and finds John McCain coming up short.

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Meet the Bloggers is a new project by Brave New Films. Host Cenk Uygur chats up prominent progressive bloggers every Fridays; shows can be watched live or downloaded after the fact.

In Case You Missed It...

Patrick Ruffini thinks that the idea that campaigns are benefiting from a mastery of micro-targeting involves a whole lotta myth.

Zephyr Teachout is on hunt for examples of Twitter being used to cover local events.

In case you've been wondering whether Bob Barr crafts his own tweets, Michael Whitney has your first-hand answer. (Hint: it's "yes!")