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Matt Bai is a political reporter and staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, Bai graduated from Tufts in 1990 and received a Masters from the Columbia School of[…]

Netroots has changed political conversations.

Matt Bai: Well the whole . . . I mean it’s . . . the Net Roots . . . The influence of the Net Roots is pretty profound. I mean right now, congressmen and senators who used to get their press clips news in the morning, they’re getting . . . they’re getting blog clippings in the morning and they’re reading through them all. Which is a little frightening when you think about it because it’s like 12 people posting on these blogs and, you know . . . and half of them don’t know a thing about politics, but you know they’re listening. And that’s a good thing, by the way. They should be listening. It should be more of a conversation. It should not be about politicians always telling people the way things ought to be. But so it’s . . . You know but it does have a great change on the culture of Democratic politics. When you put it together – when you take the bloggers, and the Move On crowd online, and some of the money guys who are getting involved – when you put all these groups together, what you see is a really changed conversation in Democratic politics. I mean just look at the top people in the Democratic field right now. Where John Edwards was in 2004 versus where he is today, having gone from sort of a centrist, cautious Democrat to an anti-corporate crusader in the William Jennings Bryan mold. And you know look at Hillary Clinton and where she was on the war and on trade. And look at how she . . . what she’s talked about in this campaign; how she’s tried to position herself as standing up to Republican autocracy and whatever else. And then you know you look at a guy like Obama who was nowhere a few years ago and didn’t even exist in the public mind in 2004, and that he could be, you know, such a viable candidate now. And you look at the way he’s tried to navigate between what he really believes I think, which is that both parties have failed America and that there needs to be a generational shift. And how he’s tried to navigate that in an environment where people don’t want to hear that both parties are a mess. People just wanna hear that one party is a mess. And it’s really kind of put him in a box. So I think if you look at the dynamic of this presidential race to this point, you’d have to conclude that the progressive forces inside the Democratic party have had a very strong influence on the conversation.

Recorded on: 12/13/07


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