While Netroots Nation is going on here in Austin, there is another gathering – not as large, not as well known – also happening: RightOnline, which bills itself as “a meeting place for the free enterprise movement, focusing on how we can more effectively leverage the power of the internet and work together to achieve our common goals.” It’s kind of amusing watching our friends on the right try to play catchup in this arena. They of course haven’t needed to be a force in online activism, as their longstanding infrastructure of talk radio, compliant media such as Fox News, the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal, and the entire lovable gang at outlets like NewsMax and Townhall – not to mention being in control of the entire federal government for most of the past 7.5 years – has served them pretty well. Frankly, the best thing that could happen to their efforts is for a Barack Obama victory and unified Democratic control. It’s not a coincidence that progressives made all their gains in this sphere between 2003 and 2007 – there’s nothing like being an embattled minority to focus the attention and impose a unified sense of purpose. I can’t say I wish these guys luck, because I don’t, but I do expect that some time in the next few years, we’ll look at some things they’re doing and say “why aren’t we doing that?”
By the way, one of the RightOnline speakers is former State Rep. Ron Wilson, the uber Craddick Democrat who came in to the last legislative session as an enforcer after the parliamentarian and assistant parliamentarian were forced out for not agreeing with Craddick on the question of whether or not he had to recognize a privileged motion to call for a vote to oust him. He’ll fit fit in real well.
Oh, and one guy who has decided that he’d rather be here than there: David “Buck Smith” Beckwith. The dude just won’t leave us alone.
Also going on this weekend out in San Francisco is BlogHer, the community for women who blog. Local folks Julie and Jenny are out there, where it’s got to be a wee bit less hot. There’s supposed to be a video-linkup co-panel of some kind between the two today, but I can’t find the info for it offhand. Hopefully next year, BlogHer and NN can be on different weekends, so folks who might like to attend both can do so.