I wish I could have been a fly in Vegas this past weekend, flitting between Netroots Nation at the Rio and the Rightonline folks at the Venetian! It surely would have been an interesting study in contrasts.
I caught glimpses of Al Franken and Harry Reid trying to rally the liberal troops and having a hard time of it. On the other hand there was Mike Huckabee doing his show at the Venetian belly laughing along with his audience at the sexual innuendos coming from guest Rita Rudner and Robin Leach as a man in search of a country! Remember his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?
As I read about the origins of the netroots movement and how they've stolen the march on the right, I'm wondering where the heck the independents are in this community. It's interesting to learn the networks blogosphere is at war with their own political elitists. It's also interesting to note how poorly the right has been at adopting the same technology for their own ends.
I have a few thoughts however. One, they are too fragmented and technologically behind the curve. The tea party movement is a prime example. I suspect if you sat down the titular head of tea party movements from a dozen different areas you'd get a dozen different answers as to just what it is that they want. I don't see this fragmented approach doing much more than making re-election easier for what should be mortally wounded Democrats. This is truly political theater in the making.
There is an element missing in all this. At least I have yet to find it. How about the feared yet sought after independents? We're told we wield a great deal of sway, yet how? Do we have our version of the Daily Kos or are we mostly single, basically insignificant voices like myself wringing our collective hands because no one sees things our way?
Both sides want to win our votes, but what do we want. I see myself against a lot from both sides, yet I've done little to articulate what I'd like to see happen and what manner of candidate I would surely support. It isn't that there aren't any out there. I feel I just haven't asked the right questions of them. Do independents even have a platform? One that we could coalesce under and work toward? To say to the others, if you want us, this is what you must do?
I've watched my readership swing like a pendulum as I voice my dissatisfaction. When I was pro Obama I had a slew of readers, mostly gone now. Why? Because they were die hard Democrats. Now I have more readers that lean right, because I do - for the moment. How many, however, look at both sides and say un uh. None of you measure up and I'm no longer willing to compromise how I feel! If there is a third movement out there please point me toward it. If not, I don't think we can ever get beyond the partisanship we are now experiencing.
The battle for the heart of the Democratic party is in full swing. They have savvy and experienced bloggers leading the charge. The Republicans have a huge chore ahead just to catch up. I don't expect to see a third party, but what about the independents? If we can't find our own common ground along with the ability to give it voice, we might as well get used to being on the outside looking in hoping along the way we'll have a crumb thrown to us as the price of a vote.