Well, whaddaya know — I do a Google for “netroots” this evening, and discover that a post I made a few weeks ago asking why Democratic candidates get much higher turnout numbers on Meetup.com than Republican ones do got republished on FreeRepublic.com, the “premier conservative news forum” (or so their masthead tells me). That apparently kicked off some interest, because the FreeRepublic discussion thread on my article is the #2 Google result for “netroots”, and the article itself is #3.
Now, when I asked where are the Republican netroots, I meant it. I sincerely wanted to know. This is because I’m interested in netroots as a general political phenomenon, not strictly as a way to score partisan debating points. In other words, I was wearing my old poli-sci major hat when I wrote that piece (though with some snarky progressive-leaning observations — hey, this is my blog, not frickin’ Newsweek). So, even though I was coming to the thread belatedly, I was excited — maybe these folks were going to answer my question and teach me something I hadn’t known before.
Then I read the thread. Oops! Should have known better, I suppose.
Most of the responses aren’t very informative — they’re just eye-rolling denials that a disparity exists (“I know a few columnists went to some of Dean’s early meetups, and the numbers weren’t even a fifth of what they were advertised”), which aren’t very useful. But the ones that did attempt to address the issue basically fall into two groups:
So, in short, lots of heat but not a lot of light. And there was one response in the thread that I thought was worth calling out specifically:
Gee, Jason Lefkowitz has made the breakthrough discovery that way more liberals go to a liberal political site… and others don’t want to get involved in something that has been promoted as a part of the Dean (far left end of the Dems) site.
<Bugs Voice>What a idjit! What a ultramaroon!</Bugs>
In one shot he disproves this interesting thesis. And that’s all I got to say about that.
Now, I’ve already talked about how I think it’s silly to dismiss Meetup as a “liberal political site”, and calling it an arm of the Dean campaign is even weirder, so I’m not going to waste any time on those points. Instead, I’d ask you to take a good look at the essay he linked “interesting thesis” to. It’s a charming piece entitled “Assessing the Ashkenazic IQ” that asserts to statistically prove that Jews are smarter than the average person. His point being — ooh, the wit! — that I am the living disproof of said theory. Touche!
I’m not averse to being called dumber than the average person. Heck, I’m sure you’d have no problem finding old professors and ex-girlfriends of mine who’d be more than happy to confirm that for you. But does anyone else find this random dragging in of Judaism a little distasteful? After all, I never mentioned myself as Jewish in my original article. In fact, I never mentioned it anywhere on my site. That’s because, at least by the strictest definition, I’m not really Jewish — my mother is Catholic, so as far as orthodox Judaism is concerned I’m not Jewish and that’s that.
The reason I tell you this is to ask what it says about FreeRepublic.com that someone can see an article linked to written by someone with what I assume he thought was a “Jewish-sounding name”, and without knowing anything else about that person, use the opportunity to drag in random and unrelated Jewish stereotypes out of left field — and nobody else in the thread takes offense, or indeed, even seems to bat an eye.
If that’s what passes for “freedom” in their FreeRepublic, they can keep it.Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at November 14, 2003
If you think anything I write here represents the opinions of anybody but myself, you need more help than I can give you. The opinions are all mine, folks. Nobody else's. ESPECIALLY not my employer's.
If that's too hard to understand... well, I'm sorry. There's only so much I can do. I'm not a therapist, and I'm not a miracle worker. (Unless you consider staying employed in this economy a miracle.) I wish I could help you work through your delusional belief that I'm speaking for anyone else but myself. Honestly, I do. But in the end, that's a monkey you'll have to get off your back on your own. Sorry.