Sunday, July 20, 2014

Netroots Nation 2014

I just got back from Netroots Nation 2014. It got a lot out of the conference and had fun, too.

I can't necessarily say I had as much fund as Marcy Wheeler and the rest of the Emptywheel crowd did. (Leaving Motown 07/20/2014) But I enjoyed it.

Getting to see old friends and make new ones is the best part of the conference. And it's good to see political leaders like Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Howard Dean speaking live and experiencing the audience reaction first hand.

I wrote briefly about Biden's speech in the previous post.

Warren's speech Friday morning was better attended than Biden's, no doubt because there were so many schedule conflicts with Biden's speech. He scheduled relatively late and then was about an hour late, he said because he was dealing with the Ukraine crisis. This is the video of Biden's speech, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at @Netroots_Nation|#NN14

But Warren is a longtime netroots favorite. And I would guess there were far more people at that convention who would prefer her as the Democratic candidate over Biden. And she was well-received, giving a solidly progressive speech that focused on inequality. Lesley Clark reports on her speech for McClatchy in Sen. Elizabeth Warren to liberals: I’m fighting back 07/18/2014. Here's the video, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at @Netroots_Nation|#NN14

She had some enthusiastic supporters at the convention:

But Biden actually got more enthusiastic moments of applause than Warren did. He knew he would be compared to Warren at this convention, and he clearly wanted to appeal to the crowd there. So he threw in a number of applause lines that would appeal to a progressive audience. Also, the expectations for Biden were presumably lower. Clark reports on Biden's speech in Biden gets credit for pushing Obama on gay marriage 07/17/2014. And his appearance seems to confirm Clark's earlier suggestion in Biden making pitch to liberals 07/15/2014, "Biden's debut at the annual Netroots Nation comes as the vice president has made a number of moves that could better position himself with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, if he decides to make a third run for the presidency."

Here's the video of Biden's speech, Vice President Joe Biden at @Netroots_Nation 2014|#NN14:

I also attended panels featuring Russian reporters on practicing journalism in Russia; debunking fake science, i.e., Republican anti-science ideology; the successful campaign for Obama to pick Janet Yellin over Larry Summers to be Fed Chair; immigration reform; the school-to-prison pipeline; and, progressive national security priorities. It was a very informative set of sessions.

The Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina Moral Mondays was Friday's evening speaker. Here's the video:

He produced probably the most memorable line of the convention, using an analogy about how snakes don't go higher than a certain point on a mountain, the point known as the "snakeline." He said what we need to do in American politics is to "go above the snakeline." By Saturday, some people had buttons that said, Rise Above The Snakeline. That part starts around 1:03:00 in the video.

Some public controversy has surfaced about the 2015 Netroots Nation plans. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos is objecting to the Phoenix location for next year because of Arizona's anti-immigrant laws. He explains in Netroots Nation is going to Arizona, Daily Kos is not 07/19/2014, "I made very clear in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB 1070 that I would not be setting foot in the state, nor spending a dime in it until the law was revoked. The law, however gutted by the courts, remains on the books, as does systemic harassment of Latinos, so my pledge still stands."

Since we're talking about Democrats and a left-leaning group, it would be surprising if there weren't some kind of schism. That's probably too strong a word for this. But it's hard not to speculate that there might be other disagreements there over priorities. But for now, we have what Markos himself is saying. His objection is particularly notable. Not only because of the prominence of Daily Kos. But also because it was Markos who started the Netroots Nation conference, which was originally called YearlyKos in 2006 and 2007.


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