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Not Net-Rooting for Obama

Barack Obama's honeymoon with the liberal blogosphere is over.

When the Illinois Senator, the freshest face in the Democratic field, announced his candidacy earlier this year the who's-who of the influential netroots movement gave him a relatively chilly welcome. Sure, they paid due attention. But it wasn't the enthusiastic embrace that greeted John Edwards, who's been courting the netroots for more than a year and whose campaign is now overseen by Joe Trippi, a certified netroots hero. In the monthly straw poll on Daily Kos, arguably the most influential liberal blog, Edwards has consistently placed first, followed by Obama. No more.

Yesterday's straw poll of 12,369 "Kossacks" showed Edwards at 31 percent, followed by Sen. Chris Dodd at 21 percent and Obama at 16 percent, his lowest placement in the poll. Indeed Obama's standing with the netroots has diminished in recent weeks, following a series of positions that have been criticized by prominent bloggers.

In June Robert F. Bauer, general counsel to Obama's campaign, argued for pardoning Scooter Libby. "A pardon is just what Bush's opponents should want," wrote Bauer, "A pardon brings the president into the heart of the case... compels him to do what he has so far managed to avoid: accept in some way responsibility . . ." To which Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake retorted: "This may be well and fine for a presidential candidate trying to massage a potential pardon into position as a campaign issue, but it's an extremely cynical argument, and I really can't imagine what the Obama campaign was thinking."

Last week two separate incidents left bloggers growing even more frustrated.

On Thursday, after The Post reported that a bill supported by Senate Democrats and GOPers seeks to grant immunity to telecoms who have aided the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program, blogs such as Daily Kos, Firedoglake and MyDD, to name just three, asked their readers to contact Dodd, who's against the bill. "Dodd is now the go-to guy. Losing faith in Obama," wrote Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas.
Two days later, John Aravosis of Americablog pointed out that among those participating in Obama's "Embrace the Change" gospel concert tour in South Carolina -- where Obama is in a heated battle with Sen. Hillary Clinton over the sizable African American electorate, especially black female voters -- is Donnie McClurkin. McClurkin has talked about his own fight against gay tendencies and has called homosexuality a "curse." Touting the gospel tour, Obama's aides issued a release saying, "This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level." And Aravovis wrote on Saturday: "Yes, sucking up to anti-gay bigots and joining them on stage -- no, giving them a stage -- is certainly defying conventional wisdom as to how a Democrat becomes president."

Aides to Obama said that the senator "strongly disagrees" with McClurkin's views. "I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts our community," Obama said in a statement.

"A lot of people held out big hope for Obama early on but he just seems to have fizzled. He's squarely ducked almost every controversy that has come along," Firedoglake's Hamsher told The Trail Monday. "The blogosphere likes people who put their boots on and fight. It has become apparent that this just isn't who Barack Obama is."

OpenLeft's Matt Stoller had even harsher words: "Obama seems to believe that if you say 'change' a thousand times something magical happens. Maybe he can learn about leadership in the spring, when he'll have more free time."

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

By Washington Post editors  |  October 23, 2007; 4:15 PM ET
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The main stream media has it all wrong! Barack Obama is winning the race for the Presidency.


1. He has raised more money so far than any other Presidential candidate in history.

2. He is bringing in huge crowds. Just yesterday 9,500 people were rooting him on in Boston! His crowds are larger than all the other candidates.

3. He has the largest and most organized grassroots campaign.

4. He has the broadest range of supporters among all the candidates. He is loved by Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and people of all races and ages!

5. His supporters are extremely loyal and dedicated to making sure he is elected.

Also, the media and those so called polls have it all wrong about Blacks. Most Blacks ARE supporting Barack Obama.

Check out this Black web site:, go to: amd click on the link that says Obama Watch, look for the political poll to your right. Check out the results. 75% want Barack Obama to be President.

I am a Black female and I support Barack Obama -- never Hillary Clinton -- that would be a travesty if I did.

Please consider voting for Barack Obama -- check out his web site at:

Posted by: AndreaT1 | October 24, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama should say, "If I were to turn away supporters and volunteers because I do not agree with them on every issue, I would soon find myself very lonely. The same is true of our party. When there are divisions among groups of our supporters, I will continue to state my views clearly and without equivocation, whether on matters such as gay rights, or other potentially controversial issues; In I will make it clear that it is my views, not those of any faction, that will dictate my administration's policies. But I will not turn away supporters and volunteers simply because I find some of their views unacceptable."

Posted by: danielasmith98 | October 24, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Carlson Tucker sum my opinion on the so called Netroot. Who cares about what they think? They are bunch of idiots that haven't done anything significant in their life.

What office have they run for? The democratic party is dead if they allow this lunatic to run the party. The last time i checked, they backed Howard Dean and Ned lammont and we all know what happen.

Obama should stick to his gun. A president should listen to all views not just one.

Posted by: gbuze007 | October 24, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Regurgitating what I think read here. John Edwards was the favored candidate for a poll taken on a group of people who do not represent the average American. Then there was all this talk about mistakes and mishaps of the candidates most Americans favor. Is this news, opinion, or trash?

Posted by: xira | October 24, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Nice to visit a blog where people are saying something valid! The left blogosphere occupies and extreme niche - and like all other extremists, become more insular and less relevant as they gain what they percieve to be influence or power. I'm only 24, and already they've bored me to tears with their rage, cynicism, and empty navel-gazing. Anyone else reminded of that South Park episode with the hybrid cars?
I want to also comment on the idea that these folks are having a subconcious struggle with the idea that a white guy might not win. Amazing, really, in that I think everyone else in this country has pretty much accepted that as a possibility. If anything, I think these blowhards are most afraid of meaningful, historic change, which either a Clinton or Obama presidency might certainly be, since then they might have to give up their pathetic, cynical complaining and actually do some real work.
Let me also say that those of you who keep referring to "the gays" like all homosexual people hold secret meetings and wear membership pins sound like hateful, closet-case morons.

Posted by: squintz | October 24, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Wow - are there that many 'CHINESE DISHWASHERS' who gave donations to HILLARY??? HILLARY a FEMALE FASCIST for our time. Not as smart - not as articulate - not as good-looking as 'IL DUCE - BENITO MUSSOLINI' but 'pants-suits' cover up a lot of 'UGLINESS'!!! BARKY'big-ears'OBAMA is no match for HILLARY the new FEMALE FASCIST FUHRER!!! All hail HILLARY - SIEG HIEL!!! BROUGHT TO YOU BY 'CHINESE DISHWASHERS' AND GEORGE SOROS - SOME FINANCE LAW, HUH???

Posted by: ZyskandarAJaimot | October 24, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama is trying to get everyone involved. We have all types of people in America and he wants to be the president of them all. Representing special interest in more along the lines of Bush(middle aged wealthy white men) and Hillary (PAC's, etc).

Posted by: vachelreese | October 24, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Obama is trying to get everyone involved. We have all types of people in America and he wants to be the president of them all. Representing special interest in more along the lines of Bush(middle aged wealthy white men) and Hillary (PAC's, etc).

Posted by: vachelreese | October 24, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I've also been constantly amazed at the "liberal" blogosphere's treatment of Obama. They endorse Edwards, a Dixiecrat whose voting record earned him the high mark of 32% from environmental defense groups to Obama's 100%; Edwards, whose experience and legislation in domestic and foreign policy isn't half of Obama's, who was a civil rights/constitutional law expert and attorney and elected to the state then U.S. Senate. (Edwards: lawyer, Senator one term, no major legislation, voted for Iraq War.) Now it's Dodd they're calling the go-to guy??!!

The liberal blogosphere is making itself more irrelevant this campaign season instead of more influential. Many are playing the old political games, forming PACs, which Obama won't take a dime from, and 527s, which Obama discourages all supporters from joining so there aren't smear ads put out against opponents "on his behalf" - don't do him any favors, says he.

Plain and simple: They don't fund or control Obama, Obama does not seek their undying favor, they are not the center of his political universe. Believe it or not, there are millions of people still without computers and/or internet access in the U.S., and many who have access never, ever visit a "liberal" political blog or read online news from MSM beyond the sports and weather and local news.

"Liberal" bloggers don't reach out to the elderly, or to people of color, and they still speak about the LGBT population as if it's one monolithic population - all white! It's not! Black, Asian, Latino LGBT folks deal with homophobes in the family every day, just as much as poor white LGBT folks do. If they're religious they go to intolerant churches, synogogues or mosques just for the fellowship of fellow believers, despite the vitriol they are subjected to. When there are enough of them, they form their own places of worship and tolerance.

Obama's church is one of those denominations that is open and accepting of all worshippers, gay or straight, black or white or Latino or Asian or Native American. Here in the California Bay Area, there is a church from Obama's denomination that is led by a black lesbian pastor, and has the only transgender gospel choir in the nation!

Tolerance increases with education, which increases with money or some lucky opportunities, that's just a fact.

Obama will address liberals' issues better and more honestly and directly than anyone, beholden to no one. They just don't seem to want a black man to be president - it's beyond me. I've never seen primarily white liberals (who predominate in those blogs) ignore such a stellar civil rights activist and attorney, constitutional law professor [qualified for the Supreme Court], grassroots activist, black candidate with a legislative, never mind environmental record like Obama's - not that we've ever had a candidate like that before.

Many of the "liberal" bloggers don't even stick to their professed liberal values. They say they'll vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination - as if she weren't the #1 recipient of lobbyist/PAC/527 dollars, and as if nominations drop into anyone's lap!

They don't work for a candidate in any way but blogging. Going door-to-door, doing outreach, volunteering, addressing the hundreds of issues all different people care about, face-to-face, that's really working for a candidate.

I think lots of these bloggers would freak out at walking out among different people with different values and beliefs to register voters and promote their candidate. That's why Dean lost; they thought they could just break away from their monitors at the last minute and yell their message out to people with very different lifestyles and win!

It's what I'm most grateful for with Obama - after reading his Audacity of Hope, I don't compartmentalize people by physical/ideological/religious identities anymore. I don't police what others should think, feel anymore. I'll have a discussion with anyone now and almost always find some common ground. I've made more progress getting "traditional" opposition to see my side than I ever made by rejecting, ridiculing and insulting people for their beliefs, and I see them as human beings again, not as categories.

Another poster here spoke the truth; it's like the bloggers are getting to be more and more like MSM; forment conflict with incendiary headlines to increase readership. The liberal blogosphere dumbs down readers/viewers/listeners just like MSM, it promotes rancor and shouting matches like MSM, and does nothing to get our democracy functioning to solve real problems.

Posted by: VCubed | October 24, 2007 4:25 AM | Report abuse

If Obama does not remove the nutty, "ex-gay" bigot McClurkin from his campaign, I will remove Obama permanently from the list of candidates I'm considering. This just confirms everything I've always found suspicious about Obama's supposed support for gay rights. He's doesn't actually "get it."

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 24, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I detect a racial angle in the way Obama gets treated on liberal blogs. Why would Markos Moulitsas push a candidate with no chance, Dodd, who voted for the Iraq War and has no good explanation for it? After officially giving up Edwards because of the public financing that made Edwards unelectable, "kos" was desperate to support anyone but Obama. Its the old "uppity black" resentment.

Posted by: Malia2 | October 24, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Pity that the blogosphere has become as shallow as the rest of the media, focusing on perceived "gaffes" over policy positions.

Obama's critics don't understand his movement. Donnie McClurkin belongs in the Obama movement no more nor less than anyone else. Of course I disagree with his position on gays, but that is the point, in a way.

Obama wants to bring us all together. He never suggested that we all thought the same way or always agreed with each other. What he says is that there are common values we can bring as Americans to make this country great again.

As long as both the mainstream media AND the blogosphere fail to really understand Obama's doctrine of transformation (for lack of a better phrase) they will continue to be mystified.

Too bad that so many still don't understand such a simple philosophical premise as unity.

Posted by: Lioness1 | October 23, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

A lot of us Democrats still care about silly little issues like civil rights - call us crazy! So, while I can appreciate that Republicans often don't care about civil rights, for Democrats issues like gay-bashing actually mean something. They are issues that go to who we are as a people, how we treat our fellow human beings, how we define ourselves as Americans, whether we truly respect the freedoms and principles that founded our country, actually matter to a lot of real Democrats. So feel free to mock those of us who think gay-bashing, and anti-Semitism, and racism, and all other kinds of prejudice and hate have no place in America. But I just can't take criticism seriously when it comes from people who think that standing up to bigotry and bigots is somehow "fringe." It's only fringe in one party I know of, it's the party that starts with an R.

Posted by: aravosis | October 23, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

This is the first I've heard of the "netroots" movement. Can't say I'm impressed.

They are passionate about some of the least important issues of our time: the Scooter Libby pardon, telecom law and the personal views of Donnie McClurkin.

It is time for Democrats to unite around issues that matter: Iraq, Iraq & Iraq.

Pick the candidate with the best character, cast your vote and enjoy the democratic landslide in 08- do not lose the forest for the twigs.

The looney left are increasingly relevant only to themselves. While they gaze at their collective navel centrist democrats will reclaim our country- why don't they just "moveon" to and remain in the smoggy blogosphere.

Posted by: kolp999 | October 23, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with Sage.
While they have been riding Obama almost everyday since he announced, especially when he was seen as 'usurping' Edwards 'rightful' place by entering he caused their anger that has never let up.
These same so called activists have given Hillary a free pass.
This leads me to conclude that the bloggers are no different from the msm.
They have given Hillary a free pass while pushing at the voters as the right choice and trash Obama daily. The bloggers have given Hillary a free pass while they pushed Edwards and trashing Obama daily.

Posted by: vwcat | October 23, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

influential in the netroots movement? haha this is a joke right. the pioneers of diary writing have lost interest in barack obama? pffft check your own comment lists washinton post.

-liberal blogger still honeymooning with Obama.

Posted by: ourgameorders | October 23, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Neetroots? sounds like another "special interest group". And YES to Matt Stoller had even harsher words: "Obama seems to believe that if you say 'change' a thousand times something magical happens.

Sooner or later, you will all know everyone is an American with allegiances to one Flag, equal rights and opportunities, belonging to one human race.

Posted by: FebM | October 23, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The thing is that this story is not registering in Iowa, and they care less. Nor South Carolina, where they like this musician. This is not even registering that much in the MSM. The bottomline is that Barack Obama is running for POTUS, of all the people, not these netroot front page wannabees. Haven't they realized that the majority of America don't know who the hell they are? If they did. Do you think George W. Bush would still be in the White House? Obama is talking directly to the people, not the blogosphere. And what has that gotten John Edwards, by chance? OK?

Posted by: lindadrobinson | October 23, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

There has not been a peep from the gay community on Hillary's endorsement by anti-gay black ministers. This is a terrible double standard. Hillary never has had the guts to say the word "gay" in any speech she ever gave to a broad audience; she saves it for fundraisers to gay civil rights group. In Obama's first speech to a national audience, when no one would have demanded that he address the point, he did anyway on his own, because that's where his heart is. He famously said, "We have gay friends in the Red states," trying to get everyone to see the humanity in others.
When we start judging candidates by the personal views of people who just get up on stage on sing for them, we've really lost our way

Posted by: Stan08smile | October 23, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Post#1...Also, Hillary has been endorsed by Rev. Harold Mayberry, who's "preached against homosexuality." And the Gay Community is quiet about that and now they are jumping in on Obama...can someone explain to me the reasoning behind gay community kissing up to the Clintons regardless all their anti gay policies but Obama is their for them to bash...please stop the double standard

Posted by: emmygell | October 23, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

These are the same folks who have given Clinton a pass on her Iraq vote, and now she's again given George Bush authority to beat up the drums on Iran and i have not heard any outrage from them. Obama will win where it counts, and on issues that matter to all Americans not a bunch of self righteous wannabes who have never given him credit for opposing the war in the first place.

Posted by: Political_Sage | October 23, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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