Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why does Netroots mean: "lefty on the internet"?

Netroots as a word doesn't imply liberal, progressive or big D Democratic. As a word outside any context it means "wired grassroots." It could imply any type of political affiliation from socialist to anarchist. But in the past year or so it has shed any non-partisan meaning it have once held and attached itself firmly to folks promoting Democrats.

Eric's post at Soundpolitics and the conversation following it got me going on this subject. I've been wondering about it for awhile though, why Republicans have so quickly rejected the term as a self identifier, and have started making fun of the "nutroots," as an ineffective wing of the Democratic Party. Most of the people who throw around the term netroots are themselves bloggers, so its hard for me to understand why they would mock a term that technically (at least) included them as well.

This is so much so that ABC PAC has launched an effort called "Right Roots," an effort to seemingly counter the work on the lefty netroots to promote a list of candidates and raise money for them over the internet. Rightroots though, doesn't really mean anything.

It means the same thing as "Right-wing grassroots," and aside from sounding like "netroots," doesn't imply any sort of internet component to it at all.

I think a better reaction to the lefty dominance of the term "netroots," would be a right-wing reclamation of the term. Sort of like telling us that we don't own the word (not that I've ever claimed ownership of it), and that it should cover any online political engagement, not just those coming from the left.

1 comment:

Jane Johnson said...

One theory I've heard is that the right has a problem on the internet because of the early and sophisticated neo-Nazi dominance. They are either afraid of their sites being taken over by white supremacist or are unwilling to publicly get in bed with them. Interesting theory but I'm still searching for evidence.