Jerome Armstrong: A blogger is the first follower, not the leader
By Jerome Armstrong
I want to say something about the role of a blogger, just to try and frame the expectations and limitations inherently in place. The blogger is like that first follower in the famous Derek Sivers video, that is: “the first follower is the person that transforms the lone dancing guy into someone leading a movement.” So, when I saw Howard Dean dancing solo among the Democrats, at a Democratic Party gathering up in Seattle in June 2002, I started blogging, ‘hey there’s a guy dancing here’ I’m dancing now too, and so on, and a movement started…
This is the arena of politics, the politicians are the ones that have to be the crazy lone dancer for there to be bloggers to stand up and dance along. That’s their role. So its not a correct frame to say “FDL didn’t go down with the ship against ACA” in spring ’10, when already, the the only ones that came forward to dance, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, both stopped, and became supporters. No dance, nothing to follow; the music has stopped.
As for the modern day (2001-2013) Democratic Party’s politicians. They’ll dance quite a jig during the campaign. When in power, they’ll dance on an populist issue here or there, usually when it’s not likely to have much a chance of passing. Mostly though, they just look busy while holding up the wall.
And it’s not about ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ but about the politicians moment on the stage. When a leader starts dancing, the early followers jump in, and a movement starts. If the leader stops dancing, that’s when a movement dies. If, however, even in losing, they kept on dancing, that’s a movement that will live another day.
This is something we see play out over and over on both sides of the aisles, among the populist progressives and libertarians, usually against the old guard. A dance starts, they laugh first, then get pissed, start fighting, charge in using whatever it takes, claim ownership of the floor, and shut down the dancer.
(This a comment elevated from my post on the failure of the why progressives don’t get much of what they want from politicians. It is written by Jerome Armstrong, not by me. Jerome was the founder of MyDD (Kos’s Blogfather) and co-author of Crashing the Gates, among other things- Ian)