Newsweek/Daily Beast's David Freedlander has an interesting piece on the decline and fall of the progressive blogosphere:
[B]loggers themselves say the Netroots are a whisper of what they were only four years ago ... and that the brigade of laptop-wielding revolutionaries who stormed the convention castle four years ago have all but disappeared as a force within the Democratic Party.
An assortment of possible explanations is given for this phenomenon, from the great Clinton-Obama schism of 2008 to the monied substitution of super PACs for online fundraising to the Obama White House's indifference to progressive "revolutionaries." But I may have located another reason tucked away in the piece rather unobtrusively: "The days when people could be very influential in the blogosphere aren’t here anymore," said one progressive blogger.
They never were. It was an illusion--a characteristically progressive illusion of power and influence, much as the Netroots' successor, if you will, Occupy Wall Street, was an illusion.
I'm sorry to rain on their already drowned parade, but it's an undeniable fact of political sociology that movements require forceful leaders and determined direction, or they will die of their own chaotic muddle. The modern left, however, for reasons no one has ever totally fathomed, prides itself on a whimsical kind of anarchical non-structure which will somehow, in time and with enough agitation, bring all social ills into common focus and collective relief.
I sort of hate to say this, but it's still hard to beat, say, the Kansas City Pendergast machines of yore when it comes to actually getting things done: patronage, booty, coalitions, connections, the occasional body in concrete ... well, not to put to fine a point on it. But you get my drift. The Netroots? It never did. It was too damn good--too pure--for that sort of thing. Pity.