Friday, July 23, 2010

VEGAS: STRAY THOUGHTS. Saw Matthew Yglesias here. The fucker is tall! Well, tall compared to what I thought he was; from his writing I imagined someone around five foot, with the voice of a mosquito. I didn't say hi. Let the fucker come to me.

Listened over box lunch (why didn't I steal a couple and put them in my room? I'll die in Vegas!) to Eliseo Medina from SEIU talk about Arizona (and general Republican) use of racism as a campaign tactic (and the kind of Democrats who "think the way to win is to be timid, to be afraid, and not stand up for anything") and Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights talk about both components of the half-empty LGBT glass. Both were well-spoken, but when those of us of a cynical turn of mind look at the agenda of things like this, and see so many interest groups talking about how they're getting screwed, we can see why honkies think liberals are whiners and why many Democrats insist on telling the honkies, no, forget all those weirdos, we're really doing it all for you -- that is, for the middle class that you all think you belong to. But as things get worse, it may be that more honkies will realize that they're not really any different from the other kinds of people on whom power has been beating for years.

I don't know which panel it was, but I wandered into one of these rooms and some guy was pointing at a graph with a bunch of dots on it and talking about "technology" and "interconnectivity" and how this was the solution to some damned thing. I have learned to accept, if grudgingly, lots of concepts that at first baffled me -- compound interest, Sonic Youth, and so forth -- but this is one that I still can't take to heart, not because it's untrue but because everyone talks about it so much that it has become the Powerpoint equivalent of World Peace. Also, in general I think people should spend more time alone and quiet.

Oh, get a load of the Wall Street Journal:
LAS VEGAS—Progressive activists gathered here for Netroots Nation are trying to get their groove back...

A woman stood up and asked: "Why is it with a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Democrat in the White House do we need to be worried about this?"

It's a question being raised by many in the Democratic Party's liberal base...

...the energy in the electorate right now is on the other end of the political spectrum, captured in the conservative tea party movement and threatening Democrats' majorities in Congress.
Cackle. No better is the Washington Post ("Democratic rifts apparent at liberal Netroots Nation conference" -- hey, it's not like Netroots fired one of its key people or cancelled its Vegas convention because of the "heat.") Steve Freiss calls Netroots Nation "part pep rally, part support group." Etc.

If you went by this coverage, you could easily miss that many of the panels are about tactics for victory, and attended by committed activists who've already shown that they can get shit done. It's not just rah-rah -- it's mainly a trade show. And these people are coming off a pretty hot streak.

Maybe if we wore costumes people would take us more seriously. The Minutemen look is taken, alas, by the Tea Partiers, so I vote for Vikings.

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