Justin Raimondo analyses the ebb and flow of politics on the Internet. The right-blogosphere was important under Clinton, and boring and stupid (not to mention evil) under Bush. The left-blogosphere was hot under Bush, but is already showing signs of following the right to dullness and corruption under Obama. The problem is in ever seeing yourself as part of the regime, in ever deferring to the power elite. How nice for LRC to be against the monster, whether the sticker on its lapel is George or Barack.
As the Right began to lose its grip, the anti-Bush online wave began to build. Such sites as DailyKos.com, Democratic Underground, and others began to spring up: all the verve, all the vitality, was now on the Left. DailyKos began to undertake political organizing campaigns online, in a way that the Freepers (as the denizens of Free Republic dubbed themselves) never managed to accomplish. They organized conferences and became a real force in the Democratic Party, as the online representative of its left-wing-of-the-possible.
This movement spawned a mini-revival of left-oriented talk radio, and then the corporate types began to sit up and take notice. MSNBC jumped on the bandwagon, carving out a niche as the televised version of the leftish blogosphere, with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow rivaling Fox's numbers for the first time.
Yet the election of Barack Obama and the Democratic sweep of Congress augur a repetition of the old pattern of victory followed by decline. The online Left has crested, and it's downhill from here, for two reasons:(1) They aren't cyber-guerrillas anymore, and the sclerosis that inevitably sets in when one becomes an apologist for the powers-that-be is already in evidence.
(2) The corporate connection: In the age of corporate liberalism, it make perfect sense that the corporate types would attempt to invade and colonize the Internet. The accelerated economic failure of print media means that, outside of television, their influence is marginal. In terms of their ongoing campaign to conquer the Internet, the Huffington Post, with its $25 million investment, is the corporate version of the Normandy invasion.
With its crude amalgam of Matt Drudge-like opinionated headlines, a Hollywood-centric perspective, and the look of a British tabloid, the Huffpost is corporate America's idea of what is supposed to appeal to us Internet types. Fast-changing headlines, flashy graphics, a little bit of sex, all of it mixed up with the pop-liberalism and annoying narcissism of Arianna Huffington, who mixes the touchy-feely-ism of cult leader John Roger, her longtime mentor, with clear aspirations to become the high priestess of the Obama cult. Each new announcement by the White House is headlined at Huffpo as if it were a divine revelation. Obama's opponents, no matter what the issue, are obstinate obstructionists, Obama's only problem being, in Arianna's opinion, that he doesn't go far enough in his Obama-ism – but, not to worry, he'll soon see the light…
This kind of balderdash is not only embarrassing, it's boring. The corporate invasion of cyberspace is headed for a huge crash: if I were those investors, I'd start asking for at least some of my money back. If it's not too late, that is.
The next Internet tsunami to come along will be blown in by a gust of dissent, and I think we're in for a major storm. The confluence of economic turmoil and President Obama's escalation of the "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan and Pakistan is sure to produce a new reaction – in the opposite direction, of course. This is the dialectic that defines the laws of motion on the Internet: the technology enables opposition to the status quo, whatever that may be, either in politics or in the culture. This is why governments everywhere fear it and ceaselessly try to chain it – so far, with limited success.