“This is about telling you that you mean nothing”

Jane Hamsher is right.

The Democrats have sent a clear message to all of you out there, to the entire blogosphere, but also to the larger Netroots (and that includes MoveOn, Media Matters and everyone else in the progressive online space). You don’t matter to these people. They don’t fear you, so they don’t care what you think. Here’s Jane:

Asked what it would mean if Lieberman kept his chairmanship, one Senate Democratic aide said bluntly: “The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question.”

I hope this puts to rest the notion that this is all some master stroke of kumbayah, of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

This is about telling you that you mean nothing. That democracy is a nice word, but it should never threaten the entitlement of the most exclusive club in the world.

No matter what Joe Lieberman does, the people who are protecting him hate you much more than they hate him.

Jane is unfortunately right.

Look. Politics isn’t about being liked. It’s about being influential. It’s about making a difference. But to have the ability to create change, you have to make the powers that be take notice of you. They need to either fear your ability to hurt them, or envy your ability to help them. The Netroots has entered envy territory, but the fear factor is lacking. As the Democratic aide quoted above said correctly, we don’t put enough fear into the Democratic party. They either don’t think we have the power to hurt them, or they don’t think we’ll ever use it against them.

Joe Lieberman knows what pushes the Democrats’ buttons. He knew that the only way to get their attention, to gain their respect, to get them groveling on their knees, was to beat the living crap out of their candidates viciously and publicly, and then threaten to join the Republicans if the Dems didn’t reward him for his betrayal.

Quite simply put: We’re too nice. Which is ironic, considering our reputation. The Democrats still think that we’re angry children, typing away in our basements, who don’t know a lick about politics. And while some bloggers might have been newcomers to politics years back, they aren’t new any more. Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake has built a massive email list with massive fundraising capabilities that she’s already proven. Cross Jane at your own peril. Markos has a huge online machine at his disposal, and over the past 7 years has learned to wield his influence deftly. And I like to think that Joe and I, among others, know a thing or two about getting the media’s attention as well.

The Democratic party, the Democratic establishment, doesn’t like you. They want you to go away. That is, until the next time they need you.

They rarely show us any support, but they always want our help when things start going sour. You may have noticed, over the past six months, a dearth of election-oriented ads on our site from the party organs and the various campaigns who begged us, and continue to beg, for help. You may have noticed that, save SEIU and a handful of others, far too few non-profit advocacy groups ever bother supporting the blogosphere through advertising. We hear cute little excuses about click-through rates and limited ad budgets, when the point in those groups advertising on the blogs shouldn’t be about whether or not the ad itself is effective. It’s about showing your support for a movement you are all too willing to exploit when you need us. But when we need you, where are you?

We need ongoing advertising revenue. This is our job. A huge recession is coming down on all of our heads. But that thought never enters anyone’s minds when they beg us incessantly to use our hard work to help them do THEIR job. It’s a one-way street in this town because we let them make it a one-way street.

And for that matter, has anyone ever gotten a single ad from Rachel Maddow’s or Keith Olbermann’s shows? How about Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert? We all think of their shows as “friends,” and we always help them out when we can. But when it comes to helping us out? Nothing.

We are envied, but we’re not feared. The DC establishment, the politicians, the non-profits, the corporations and the PR firms, all know that no matter how much they ignore us and refuse to support us, no matter how deeply they betray us after we bust our asses for them, we will always be there for them the next time they come knocking on behalf of the progressive cause.

I think that gravy train just stopped.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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