Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists Is Changing American Politics

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Overview

The 2006 elections will be remembered as the year when the center of power in American politics shifted from traditional top-down central broadcasters to new bottom-up decentralized activists in the blogosphere and netroots. The authors give firsthand accounts of the burgeoning power of the netroots to determine the outcome of political contests, most notably as when the national balance of power was tipped by Jim Webb's rag-tag army of bloggers and netroots activists. They assess the prospects for Netroots 2.0: whether the netroots hordes will crash the party or work out an uneasy cohabitation with the traditional party power elite.

The 2006 elections will be remembered as the year when the center of power in American politics shifted from traditional top-down central broadcasters to new bottom-up decentralized activists in the blogosphere and netroots. The authors give firsthand accounts of the burgeoning power of the netroots to determine the outcome of political contests, most notably as when the national balance of power was tipped by Jim Webb's rag-tag army of bloggers and netroots activists who provoked and exposed the gaffe that proved fatal to George Allen's senatorial bid.

Veteran online campaigners Feld and Wilcox recount and analyze many other political campaigns in which netroots activism was decisive or instructive, including:* U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's downfall. *Tim Kaine's election as Virginia govenor. *Howard Dean's and Wes Clark's presidential campaigns. *Ned Lamont's primary victory over Joe Lieberman. The authors conclude with an assessment of the prospects for Netroots 2.0: Will the netroots hordes crash the party or will they work out an uneasy cohabitation with the traditional party power elite? The foreword is written by Markos (Kos) Moulitsas Zuniga, founding editor of the world's biggest political blog, Daily Kos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Netroots Rising examines a small window of time when a few young guys with basic computer skills stumbled upon a new way to communicate and organize. The Internet is no longer the home of amateurs, and the Netroots have not yet settled upon a new cause or a new candidate. Netroots Rising provides an account not only of the rise of the Netroots, but, perhaps, also their fall."

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Political Communication

"These two Democratic political consultants offer a rich, even gripping narrative, well sourced, of our century's transformation in political engagement by means of netroots. The Deaniacs, the draft Clark effort, the campaign against Tom DeLay, and Jim Webb's unlikely victory (Feld coordinated Webb's online fundraising) are among the stories told here. Feld and Wilcox are not sure what the future holds for the netroots phenomenon, but their book has long-term value for large public and undergraduate libraries."

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Library Journal, Starred Review

"When Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox speak, political activists everywhere should listen. And luckily for us, they've come together to share their vast online organizing experience….in the splendid Netroots Rising, a chronicle of war stories and lessons learned from the trenches of the nascent online movement. Make no mistake: This book is simply the best account of the origin and mission of the netroots out there, bar none, in any medium….What pushes the book into must read territory for the practical progressive is their interviewing prowess with all manner of people associated with both the netroots and traditional campaigns….The diverse opinions and experience the authors sought out really lend a richness to this book……..Netroots Rising is a tour de force--comprehensive and interesting, full of character, personality, passion and commitment….a concrete resistance to mass media passivity that cannot be more strongly recommended."

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American Nonsense/Daily Kos (http://americannonsense.com) (http://www.dailykos.

"Their survey offers insider and first-hand accounts of the power of the netroots to determine political outcomes and also offers chapters covering how activists build movements and insiders kill them and how the passage of time affects political and internet movements. A must for not only computer libraries, but any collection strong in social sciences."

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Midwest Book Review/The Bookwatch

"…it does an excellent job of explaining how the bloggers and other online activists came to play an increasingly important role in American politics…Democrats will love this book, but there is much here for everyone interested in political communications…Netroots Rising is a fascinating book written in an easy-to-read journalistic style. This would be an engaging book to assign in a political communication class. Just as interesting as the information this book provides, however, are the questions it raises but leaves for others to answer."

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Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Library Journal

These two Democratic political consultants offer a rich, even gripping narrative, well sourced, of our century's transformation in political engagement by means of "netroots." The "Deaniacs," the draft Clark effort, the campaign against Tom DeLay, and Jim Webb's unlikely victory (Feld coordinated Webb's online fundraising) are among the stories told here. Feld and Wilcox are not sure what the future holds for the netroots phenomenon, but their book has long-term value for large public and undergraduate libraries. [eBook 978-0-313-34661-3. $43.95.]


—Donna L. Davey, Margaret Heilbrun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313346606
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

LOWELL FELD is a political consultant and netroots specialist. He was the netroots/blogging/online fundraising coordinator for the successful senatorial campaign of James Webb in 2006. He contributes regularly to Raising Kaine, Daily Kos, Blog Talk Radio, and Heading Left Radio. He served for 18 years as an analyst in the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy.

NATE WILCOX is a political and public affairs consultant with the WebStrong Group advising clients such as Senators John Kerry and Tom Harkin on online strategy. He was online communications director for Governor Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC in 2006. He has pioneered many online political campaign innovations, including podcasting, online video, use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, blogger outreach, and aggressive online advertising.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Markos ("Kos") Moulitsas Zuniga     vii
Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xvii
Introduction     xix
Doing Everything Wrong     1
Howard Dean and the Killer Ds     11
Activists Build a Movement, Insiders Kill It     29
Taking on DeLay, Inc.     51
What a Difference a Year Makes     75
Drafting an American Hero     95
Win One, Lose One     123
Combat Boots vs. Cowboy Boots     135
What's Next for the Netroots?     165
Notes     173
Bibliography     181
Index     191
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