“Netroots Nation” was held, as it always is, in the midst of a throbbing Progressive success story. This year, it was Providence, Rhode Island – a city that, lying as it does at the nexus of organized labor and organized crime, is the perfect metaphor for the “Netroots”.
It was held in downtown Minneapolis last year. I spent some time people-watching in between events at “Right Online”, which (usually) follows Netroots around the country to show the world what people with jobs and lives look like.
I shot this video of the Netroots crowd last year, at the 331 Bar in Minneapolis after the convo wrapped for the first day:
No, I’m a kidder. I kid.
But this year, the kids at Netroots – who make the goth kids on South Park seem pretty chipper even in normal times…:
…look even sprightlier.
Now, the Netroots kids weren’t particularly high on Obama last year. It’s apparently gotten even worse:
It wasn’t only last Tuesday’s jarring defeat of public-sector unions in Wisconsin, or President Obama’s refusal to campaign in person against Governor Scott Walker — or unease that the Supreme Court may be only weeks away from sweeping much or all of Obamacare onto the ash heap of history. On Friday, in the middle of the conference, President Obama famously declared that “the private sector is doing fine,” calling into question his campaign’s basic competence in getting out a coherent message.
Indeed, enthusiasm for Obama was decidedly absent from this year’s gathering. Administration officials weren’t invited to attend (Valerie Jarrett and others have appeared in the past), and President Obama limited his role to an unpublicized surprise video shown to delegates late on Saturday, when many people had already left. “Change is hard, but we’ve seen that it’s possible, as long as you’re willing to keep up that fight, I’ll be right there with you,” Obama offered. Not exactly a stirring call to arms, and the tepid applause his video garnered can’t have pleased Team Obama.
That’s the problem with personality-cult politics; if the personality doesn’t start either delivering on his promises or killing off all rivals, things go flat pretty fast.