Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Can The Internet Fix Politics?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 16, 2010

Signs point to yes. Especially if people pitch in to help.

As I said in response:

I’m still amazed at how much FDL’s managed to affect the debate on so many issues, with such comparatively minimal funding.

One of the benefits of that work is that while we may not score outright wins on some fights, the very fact of our flexing our muscles is helping us to win other fights, sometimes without having to do much at all.

For instance: From the first signs that the public option and Medicare drug purchase negotiation — in other words, the two best and most popular parts of any potential health care reform package — were going to be sacrificed to health and insurance industry lobbying in exchange for their not running $100-plus-million worth of Harry and Louise ads this election cycle, FDL was on the case. FDL documented when we were being lied to, such as with the lie that the reconciliation process wouldn’t work, even when people who should have known better (like Nate Silver) were attacking us for it — and managed to do damage to their own credibility in the process. (Of course, none of the people who were screaming at FDL and folks like Alan Grayson over this have ever bothered to apologize once it was shown that reconciliation was not only possible, but was the only way that any HCR legislation was going to get through Congress, especially once Scott Brown took Teddy’s Senate seat. But I digress.) A sellout that had been planned to be completed well before the August 2009 recess wound up taking until early this year to accomplish, and in the meantime plenty of material was put on the record demonstrating every detail thereof — right down to the fact that WellPoint VP and Baucus buddy Liz Fowler wrote the bill that would become law.

But, even as the industry lobbyists popped their champagne corks over finally killing off HCR provisions that the vast majority of Americans not only wanted, but liked a lot more than they did the WellPoint Bill, we managed to score a victory on student loan reform that came about precisely because Capitol Hill feared the message and leverage machine that FDL helped put together. That victory wouldn’t have happened if Jane and Company hadn’t committed to a fight to save the public option.

There are other victories, too. Jane Hamsher called for a primary challenge against Blanche Lincoln, and that challenge scared Lincoln so much, she was forced to back a piece of legislation that actually benefited people besides the corporate donors who have given her so many millions over the years. (Of course, now that she’s won the primary, she’s trying to sabotage that legislation, but that’s going to be a bit harder to pull off.) By working with libertarians, FDL got the Audit the Fed bill passed, 96-0.

And of course, there’s the fact that people who write for FDL — people like Marcy Wheeler, Michael Whitney, Spencer Ackerman, and of course Jane herself — get invited to appear on national TV or are quoted by the national press on a weekly, almost daily basis. FDL is affecting the discourse and keeping the Overton Windows from being shoved any further to the right — and all on a budget that wouldn’t sustain a typical right-wing think tank’s monthly payroll.

If you like what FDL’s been doing — and I should disclose that I have a very small role in it, nothing as stellar as what Jane and Marcy and the rest have been doing — please consider dropping a few shekels in their cup, or spreading the word in whatever way you can. And thanks for reading!

One Response to “Can The Internet Fix Politics?”

  1. Yes, of course. By the end of 2012 the power transition should be effected.

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