Time.com, Nov. 16. 2006 MYTH: Joe Lieberman's victory proves the netroots don't matter. REALITY: The netroots had some key victories.
Liberal bloggers and their readers helped to swing the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, raising expectations that the midterms would turn this new generation of online activists into kingmakers. Yet in the midst of a Democratic wave, the netroots candidates failed to sweep, causing some pundits to claim that the netroots' influence continues to be overstated: "The Netroots Election? Not So Fast," editorialized The Nation. When Rick Perlstein tried, in The New Republic, to claim the election as a netroots triumph, Ryan Lizza replied in the magazine's blog that in addition to having the netroots' support, winning candidates also had the national Democratic party to thank, as it "dumped tons of money, strategic advice, and fundraising assistance into their races." What's the real takeaway? Of the 19 candidates that three of the biggest liberal blogs (Daily Kos, mydd.com and Swing State Project) raised money for, eight of the candidates won. This improves on the blogs' record from 2004, when Daily Kos picked out 16 campaigns to strongly support and raise money for, all of which lost. This cycle, bloggers may have been most strongly linked to Lamont, but they actually donated more money to Jim Webb of Virginia. Bloggers also made "macaca" into a scandal that helped sink Webb's opponent, George Allen. The netroots' record is probably too short to be judged definitively, but instead of looking at pure win/loss records, an examination of where the netroots put their emphasis suggests that the online community is either becoming more sophisticated in picking its candidates or is helping push long shots over the top.
The discussion continues in The QuandO Blog , which again leads us to an interesting essay in the Daou Report, by Peter Daou, currently a blog advisor for Senator Hillary Clinton, discussing the power and limitations of blogs.