Reading about Kos Academy 2: The Conventioning got me curious enough to go back and take a look at what I wrote last year. The post is a little more dyspeptic than I think is ideal, but it does have a bit I think is still worth consideration:
From my perspective, this is just another wave of grassroots organizing--one more of the dozens I've seen in my 137 years on this planet. All have shared the belief that this time was different, that they were the people who would change everything. A few have been effective (the civil rights movement); the overwhelming majority have not....I think the bloggers are absolutely right about (for example) the FISA bill (seriously, now: who thinks it's okay to grant additional unchecked arbitrary powers to an Attorney General who is himself on the verge of a criminal investigation? Anybody?); on impeachment, my views are more in sympathy with the congressional leadership. People who attain a certain level of power tend to develop a whole set of biases to go along with it. People who have the luxury of not having to govern tend to have a whole different set of biases.
The truth is, I'm just not convinced of the inherent superiority of grassroots politics. Yes, it has achieved some tremendous things. So has insider politics (the New Deal; the Great Society). A lot of bloggers are launching very astute critiques of a far too timid Democratic leadership. A lot of bloggers are urging the Democrats to one course or another that in the real world would be catastrophic folly. On some issues the Democratic leadership would do well to listen to the blogosphere, and on others I dearly hope they have the good sense to ignore us. The fact that the political insiders are making a lot of mistakes does not mean that political outsiders are necessarily right.
Maybe bloggers will change the world; probably not. In any case, we're a medium like any other, and like any informational medium should be read with maximum skepticism at all times--even when you instinctively agree with what we say. Especially when you instinctively agree.