Legislation Via Youtube

Ok, well it's not that big a deal, but Senator Byron Dorgan is on Youtube introducing his net neutrality bill.  Dorgan is one of the best Senators we have, an extremely progressive politician from North Dakota who is also quite popular.  Dorgan gives the lie to the whole red state nonsense.  There are corporate elites and the South, and then there's everyone else.

It's pretty cool that Dorgan is going directly to internet communities to drive support for his bill.

It's not surprising that Dorgan would go directly to the people for support.  He's always been a progressive populist recognizing that our elites are selling us out.  

I am though surprised and heartened by Senator Schumer's recent comments about blogs.  I tend not to care if a politician praises blogs, since that could easily be dismissed as pandering.  What is clear about Schumer's comments is that he 'gets' the larger forces at work here.


I read KOS -- I read the whole thing but I read it once every couple of days. But I go for the subject more than the blog. But I like the political blogs, and I think the blogs democratize things.

So my family and I saw this movie. ... It was a movie about -- Oh no. Sorry. It was a play: "Jersey Boys." That's it. It's about The Four Seasons, the old singing group. Do you remember them? And it had great songs. And it was just a whole lot of fun.

This is the night before Thanksgiving. It's the one show we go to. We can't afford many shows, so the one show we go to a year is the night before Thanksgiving because my wife doesn't have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. My sister-in-law always does.

Anyway, it was just great. I loved it. Then I went home and read The New York Times review. The review, it was so snide -- that it wasn't great art and this and that.

But then, they had a blog on it, and people wrote their own reviews. And everyone loved it. And I said to myself, "I'm so glad the bloggers -- they democratize it."

Do you know what I mean? Here you have this sort of very snobby critic who goes to a hundred plays a year and is looking for things the average person wouldn't even care about, and yet the blogs criticized his review and brought him down to earth.

So yeah, I like them. I think it's a good democratizing force.

I've met Schumer and talked to him approximately once, at an American Prospect roundtable for liberal media (which Maria Leavey used to set up).  The transcript of the meeting is here. One thing you'll note about Schumer is that he hates what he perceives as cultural elitism, and having been elected in 1980, he ascribes elitism to liberal groups.

Reagan came in; we deserved to lose. We stopped being democrats -- small "d" -- talking to average people about what affects their lives, and instead had these ideologies. OK, Reagan comes in and basically accomplishes a lot of things that he wanted to accomplish, especially on those type issues -- crime. I spent 10 years trying to get the Democratic Party to move to the middle on crime.

In the discussion, if you read it, there's an interesting back-and-forth between Schumer and Mark Schmitt in which Schmitt tries to point out to Schumer that Moveon and the blogs are not single-issue liberal narrow-minded groups, but are instead broad-based constituencies that have as much concern about the Bankruptcy Bill as abortion.  I could sense that Schumer was trying to argue that something fundamental had shifted in American politics since 1980, but that he didn't get that the same fundamental shift had happened in the liberal community itself.

Anyway, it's important that this incredibly intelligent and abrasive Senator, a man who is really a force, gets that the internet is a democratizing force, that the New York Times theater critic is as unrepresentative as Adam Nagourney of the concerns of the public.  Schumer hit Alito on abortion, but he didn't believe that there was an organized group that cared about the unitary executive.  There is, and it's on the internet.  If Schumer can make the shift, and recognize that he could have allies on broader issues like constitutional prerogatives instead of just narrowly focused liberal groups he didn't like in 1980, he and the progressive movement can generate a lot of political leverage.

It's a bit unusual to hear what sounds like praise for a figure I have derided in the past, but I have always had respect for Schumer's immense abilities and sense of the political zeitgeist (unlike Rahm Emanuel, who strikes me as less capable of effective strategic insight).  If Schumer is moving to take internet progressives as a serious and democratizing force, that means a whole lot of others are as well.

Tags: Byron Dorgan, Chuck Schumer, net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: Schumer beginning to see the light

If Schumer can make the shift, and recognize that he could have allies on broader issues like constitutional prerogatives instead of just narrowly focused liberal groups he didn't like in 1980, he and the progressive movement can generate a lot of political leverage.

Yup, like for Durbin's public financing bill that no one in Congress seems to think can be done, for instance.

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2007-01-10 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Legislation Via Youtube

At least his views on the internet aren't as antiquated as his views on trade.

by cravecase 2007-01-10 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Legislation Via Youtube

Obama and Clinton are cos-sponsors, btw.

by demondeac 2007-01-10 08:54AM | 0 recs
Interesting, I'll bookmark this comment

Dorgan is one of the best Senators we have, an extremely progressive politician from North Dakota who is also quite popular.  Dorgan gives the lie to the whole red state nonsense.  There are corporate elites and the South, and then there's everyone else.

I thought that no one who voted for the Iraq War Resolution could be called a progressive anymore, so I'm glad to see that I was wrong.

by Robert P 2007-01-10 09:52AM | 0 recs
Jesus Stoller are you kidding?

fawn much?

At this point, Obama, Clark and Edwards are the leaders in the netroots, at least according to the last MyDD straw poll (though I sense some stuff from the Clark folks). The innovation, such that there is, is coming from the Obama quarter.

Last I checked Obama didn't even have a website with a blog, comment sections, podcasts, flickr pages, vlogs, or anything other than some rotating graphics.

THAT is "innovation"?  Because I hardly think that a news webpage aggregator with ONE update in January is "innovative".

Love Obama?  Fine, but how about a disclaimer about your obvious bias and lay off saying things are simply not true.

by Robert P 2007-01-10 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus Stoller are you kidding?

1) Stoller is hardly an Obama fawnwer even if his BB post that you quote on this unrelated thread is hard to account for.

2) When did you check last? Obama's Senate site has had podcasts for a long time now, and they are also available on i-tunes. he was a relatively early adopter. His Obama2010 site has a lot of video. Obama does not have his own site for his presidential campaign yet (he is not allowed to have one until he has a campaign organization), so it is hard to criticize what does not exist. Obama is leading in use of facebook, with more members of a group started by some college students than any other candidate by an oreder of magnitude.

Overall, not sure what the big deal is in either direction.

by demondeac 2007-01-10 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus Stoller are you kidding?

I checked his campaign site, thanks for the other links, obviously I'm not spending much time on those sites.

I've gotten the memo about Stoller vis-a-vis not an Obama supporter.  However, I don't think that changes the "silly season" factor of this post.

by Robert P 2007-01-10 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus Stoller are you kidding?

Yeah, I hear you.  I'll try to stop praising Obama so much.... :)

I was trying to point out that in terms of netroots innovation, it's the Obama movement that's doing cooler stuff.  Facebook, Obamamediawatch, etc.

I'm not talking about the candidate, just the movement.

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-10 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus Stoller are you kidding?

Hmmm, I'm a member of a half-dozen JRE Facebook groups, mostly to keep in touch with the wide-spread base, and I would assume MySpace is similar.

There are a whole slew of Edwards blogs out there keeping track of news stories better than Obamamediawatch...

Sorry, I don't see it.  

Besides, there is nothing innovative about what they are doing.  You can like it, but there is nothing "innovative" about it.  

by Robert P 2007-01-10 02:19PM | 0 recs
Schumer

Interesting that Schumer is smart enough to recognize a new force in his environment. I'm less confident than Matt that he wants a new force that operates as a democratizing influence. But I could be wrong.

by janinsanfran 2007-01-10 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Schumer

I think that's astute - it's not clear to me if Schumer wants this new force or just recognizes it.

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-10 01:06PM | 0 recs
Exactly, Jan

We in Pennsylvania are acutely aware that he despises democratizing forces such as Senate primaries.

by joyful alternative 2007-01-10 06:42PM | 0 recs

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