Booked Solid

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it, but this semester, I’ve been attending the Wednesday night DC Drinking Liberally at Mark & Orlando’s in Dupont Circle. It’s a nice way to unwind after a long day of teaching on Wednesdays, and here in DC, we’ve been able to bring in some cool speakers, including some of the folks from MoveOn.org (among others). The free appetizers and drink discounts at Mark & Orlando’s aren’t bad either.

I mention this because the folks at DC Drinking Liberally have been promoting a book signing for Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics at the ultra-cool Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, here in Washington, DC. Crashing the Gate is authored by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong, founder of MyDD. Because I teach on Mondays, I won’t be able to attend, but if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by the Politics and Prose event if you can (there’s an evening event at George Washington University at 6 PM, and I may try to swing by that if I can, but this week will be incredibly busy for me).

I’m still working through the book in my (somewhat minimal) spare time and haven’t been able to develop a full response to their arguments, but Thomas F. Schaller’s review in The American Prospect conveys the book’s general argument. As Schaller implies, Zuniga and Armstrong reserve most of their criticism for the consultants, whom they regard as out of touch with the voters (their dressing down of focus groups, in fact, reminded me of the depiction of focus groups in Rachel Boynton’s documentary, Our Brand is Crisis). And, like Schiller, I haven’t been able to resolve the tension between their desire for “organic netroots” practices on the one hand and the highly-effecient Republican election machine, which they clearly admire, on the other. As I’ve mentioned, I’m still working through the book, so hopefully when I finish it, I’ll have an opportunity to review it in greater detail. It’s certainly an engaging read, and if you’re in the DC area, I know the DC Drinking Liberally folks would appreciate a high turnout at the Politics and Prose event on Monday.

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