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At Dueling Confabs in Minnesota, Bachmann Cheered, White House Draws 'Mostly Heckles and Boos'

Tim Graham's picture

Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner profiled the battling online conventions in Minneapolis this weekend -- Netroots Nation vs. Right Online -- and found that the happier warriors were on the Right. On page A4, the headline was "At dueling political gatherings, room for mutual admiration." Look who's the face of the Netroots (including on their homepage) -- radical (if temporary) Obama green guru Van Jones:

Over at Netroots, there was talk of the enthusiasm and media attention on the other side. “The tea party changed the discussion,” said Van Jones, the former White House “green czar” who is launching a new economic campaign called Rebuild the Dream. “What they were able to do is take pre-existing sentiment and preexisting groups that were not visible and they got those visible. They got those people heard.”

Netroots still has clout. Four senators were at Netroots; none came for RightOnline. (Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, was scheduled to attend but could not make it). The head of the Democratic National Committee spoke at Netroots; no top officials from the Republican National Committee attended RightOnline.   

Yet RightOnline had two presidential candidates, who told the gathered activists exactly what they wanted to hear. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) delivered the same speech she gave a day earlier at the Republican Leadership Conference, to great applause. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty gave a fast, short, invigorating speech, though he received fewer standing ovations than his home-state rival.

The pull quote was "Conservative respect the left's ability to fundraise and adapt to new technologies. Liberals look some envy on the enthusiasm of the tea party. Both sides wonder how the other side manages to be so much more unified." But while Bachmann was getting "great applause" for saying what conservatives wanted to hear, Weiner found the establishment Democrats that came to hear the Netroots heard "mostly heckles and boos" and disappointment:

By contrast, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer addressed Netroots Nation and got mostly heckles and boos from an audience that thought he was evading questions on issues such as jobs, gay rights and Social Security — and that the White House is ignoring its base.

At a panel on how to work with Organizing for America in 2012, President Obama's campaign representative Jeremy Bird was peppered with questions about lack of enthusiasm.

"I'm not saying at all that there's not frustration," Bird pushed back, adding that "there are a lot of people out there ... who are very excited about the president."

But the only chants of "Yes We Can" seemed to be at RightOnline.

"A lot of these people came to political awareness, came to the Netroots around the 2008 campaign," said Jane Hamsher, who founded the influential liberal blog FireDogLake. A longtime critic of some administration policies, Hamsher was on a panel called "What to Do When the President is Just Not That Into You." "It's a hard decision to say, `This person disappointed me,' so I'm a little surprised at the extent to which that seems to be the sentiment here."

For more on the Netroots anger, see Bruce McQuain at Hot Air.


#1 While I do not think that

Bachmann will win the nomination, or could win the election even if she did, she like Sarah Palin is a powerful voice and a "King(or Queen)maker. She can rally large numbers of voters to anyone she chooses to support. That is the main reason the left keeps up a constant effort to belittle and destroy both of them.

Bob K

#2 The advantage conservatives have....

is the simple power of clarity of the awareness of the huge problems facing this country. They need to use this knowledge to push their cause for the ability to be in a position of enough political strength to enact the policies to solve those problems.


I wish McCain would stop talking. He represents the RINO wing of the Republican Party--- especially when he's babbling to the "liberals" in the media. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. McRINO turned "conservative" just so he could be re-elected in Arizona, but now he's back to his same old ways---giving ammunition to the adversaries. He asked what Reagan would have said about those Republicans who want to get out of wars around the world. I think Reagan would have involked the 11th Commandment and told old Johnny to shut up. McRINO deserves respect for his miltary service, but certainly not for his disloyalty to Republicans. So sad, "my friends".

NEVER,NEVER trust a "liberal" ( progressive )

#4 Ditto on McCain

I agree about McCain.  I respect him for his service in the military and greatly sympathize his time as a POW, but there comes a time when enough's enough and he's just gotta go quietly.  He's not doing anyone any favors and if anything, he's more harmful to the quest to regain control from the tyrants.

He's done his time, and now he's done.  Just go enjoy life quietly and try to be happy.


#5 I second this. McRino and his

I second this. McRino and his fellow members of the Rino species are what gave us Obama. And they want us to listen to them....


"You lie!"  Rep. Joe Wilson R-(SC)

#6 Where have I heard this before?

“The tea party changed the discussion,” said Van Jones,  “What they were able to do is take pre-existing sentiment and preexisting groups that were not visible and they got those visible. They got those people heard.”

Oh, yeah!

"The 'Silent Majority' is silent no more."


#7 Van Jones is just another "race hustler" ala...

Jesse Jackson is slowly fading from the race stage here in Amerca and alongs comes his successor.

#8 Anything to do with Van Jones can't be good...

Bachmann on the other hand seems bright and positive in her speech to the public. I think she would be a great presidential candidate and she handles the media so well.

It is okay that we still criticize the liberal media and liberals in general on this blog right?

#9 I would have predicted acrimony at Net Roots

The Net Roots Nation's list of sponsors tells the whole story. There are unions, the ACLU, the Daily Kos, etc. Net Roots is all about the rabble-rousers and, of course, they are never happy. Net Roots and their sponsors are: of the malcontents, for the malcontents and by the malcontents. They can never be made happy except for their brief victory celebrations. Then they return to their disagreeable nature. Attempts to please those folks is futile, foolish, thankless and a complete waste of time.

Tell me, as an employer, do you try to appease the the complaining employee that thinks the company rules are all wrong? As an entertainer, do you play to the loud, obnoxious patron who shouts "you suck"? No, you cannot fix things for these people and it is counter productive to try. It is important to make an example of them and demonstrate that you are there to work fairly for the majority and not the few malcontents. -bidn-

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