Five Questions: Interview with blogger Digby at Netroots Nation 2013

This is the fourth of the seven Five Questions interviews I conducted at Netroot Nation 2013. The interviewee this time was digby, who mistresses the site (yes, I enjoyed writing that) digby’s Hullabaloo, one of the pre-eminent left-wing sites on the Net.

digby has a center (and a calmness) that encompasses us all. I’m certainly more to the left, and much more inclined to play offense, than most of my brothers and sisters; yet digby, as you’ll hear, encompasses my views as well. This was a delightful interview, and one I looked forward to. It took some scheduling — she was much in demand — but well worth it.

A word about the venue (and my voice). It took us a while to find a room with some quiet, and we had much of it (quiet) until we didn’t. The room had been used for a lunch — the leavings looked rather good — and the lunch effects had not been cleared. Great; an empty room. Little did we know the cleaning staff was due to arrive while we were talking. At 17 minutes in you’ll hear a lovely cell phone ringtone for about 10 seconds. I edited out the clanging of dishes — and my begging for more time before they cleared away the rest of them — but the cell phone tone was uneditable.

Also, my voice betrayed me. I have several allergies, all of which affect my throat. I’d love to say I was coming down with something. The truth is more prosaic — convention food. By which I mean, forgive the occasional frogginess.

That said, voilà digby and her comments. She mentioned climate in the first minute. A record, but not by much. Almost everyone mentioned climate before I did.

Five Questions with digby


I began by asking digby the same three questions I asked everyone this year — Is the U.S. approaching tipping points? Which tipping points will hit first? How will climate play out in the next few years? — and like most other interviewees, she mentioned climate before I did. Her thoughts on money and politics are also instructive, and yes, she’s as pessimistic as I am about money’s control of both parties.

At 12:27 she begins her answer to the fourth and fifth questions. I asked her assessment of the future of blogging and the future of the Democratic party. I did not anticipate the answers she gave.

It’s a fascinating interview. Listen:

A few samples:

■ About money in politics and her frustration about finding a solution (at 4:57):

People talk about “we need a Constitutional amendment to take money out of politics.” Do you have any idea what a heavy lift a Constitutional amendment is? For anything. … [About an amendment to eliminate money from politics] Imagine the flood of money that would come in to stop such a thing.

■ To the second question — Which tipping point will catch us by the heels first? — she answers (6:20):

I would argue that the capture of our politics by big money has already caught us. I think we’re seeing that played out. … We basically have a corporatist majority on the Supreme Court.

She has much more on this subject, but ouch. When someone as reasonable as digby says it may be over on the Big Money issue, that’s saying a lot.

■ She sees climate as I do — that “catastrophic change” is coming if we don’t react now. Did you know that digby is from Alaska? (I didn’t.) She says the Alaskans today know things are very different, even though it’s the state that Sarah Palin comes from. She’s possible that people will wake up to climate change in time, since that wake-up is happening around us. Glad to hear it; I agree.

■ And at 17:20 (immediately after the intrusive ringtone), digby talks about the Democratic party. As one of the three leaders behind Blue America PAC, she knows whatof she speaks. She sees the Money, including the Money controlling the Democratic leadership, and she sees that progressive Democratic candidates also see that. She says that for the first time, she doesn’t have to teach prospective progressive candidates what progressivism actually is.

My “Open Rebellion Caucus” gets a mention (at 22:12 and following), and again, digby sees what I see — that there is one. I won’t mention names here, but she does.

Thanks to her for all of these insights.

All Five Questions interviews

Here’s the complete list of this year’s Five Questions interviews. These will be published over the next few weeks in this order:

■ Sam Seder of
■ Dave Johnson of Campaign for America’s Future and
■ Richard (RJ) Eskow of Campaign for America’s Future and Huffington Post
■ digby of Hullabaloo (this interview)
■ Marcy Wheeler of
■ Joel Silbermanactor and media trainer — almost every good congressperson on our side, Joel has worked with them
■ GottaLaff, actress, writer, director and co-proprietress of

I’ll update this list with links as the interviews are published. Thanks for listening.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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