Note: This is a selection from Network Politics, a tdaxp series.
“Kerry takes on … the gays,” by kos, Daily Kos, 9 May 2005, http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/5/9/15543/65846.
“John Kerry Needs To Go Away,” by John in DC, America Blog, 9 May 2005, http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/05/john-kerry-needs-to-go-away.html.
Another post illustrating Fourth Generation Political theory and the dysfunctional nature of the liberal “netroots”
But first, some definitions
- The Fourth Generation of Modern Politics (4GP): a modern method of politics designed to seize the government and enact laws. When successful it is based on flat-horizontal-strong ideological networks. Resistant to decapitation attacks, these peer-to-peer nets can sustain themselves for fights that last decades. A 4GP struggle evolves in three unique stages, though the network can go back and forth or even be at different stages in different places at the same time.
- 4GP’s First Stage (4GPS1): This first stage of a 4GP net, characterized by a weak 4GP movement and a strong enemy. 4GPS1 attacks are known as “node takedown,” “the politics of personal destruction,” “agitation-propaganda,” or just “horror stories.” These are high-profile symbolic attacks designed to recruit followers through “militancy.”
- 4GP’s Second Stage (4GPS2): The second stage of a 4GP, characterized by a strong 4GP movement and a peer-strength enemy. The most popular kind of 4GPS2 attack is “network contestment,” where the insurgent network tries to steal members away from an existing network in mass, or otherwise inflict mass harm on the victim net.
- 4GP’s Third Stage (4GPS3): The final stage of 4GP, characterized by direct assaults and take-over of the government, the military, and police powers. 4GPS3 attacks are known as “elections,” “judicial nominations,” “Presidential appointments,” or similar names. These are attacks by very strong 4GP networks that attempt to co-opt the government for its own purposes. Successful 4GPS3 is the goal of almost every 4GP network.
Now, the story.
John Kerry was the Democrat nominee for President in 2004 and he wants to run again 2008. He is faced with a population that looks like this:
“Blue” liberals are outnumbered by “Red” conservatives 3:2. These factions spend their time arguing and trying to make each other look bad. The general population — folks who don’t care that much one way or the other — are broken down on similar lines. Visually:
Lines represent supportive political communication, arrows represent attacks. Note that the “playing field” is tilted toward Red Conservatives, and that the Conservative net is thicker
The only way for liberals to win is to tear off a substantial fraction of undecided moderates. Kerry wants to run for President in 2008, and he knows that unless the “liberal” Democrats tear off a substantial number of moderates, his party will lose again. Kerry saw a good opportunity to do this when the Massachusetts Democrat Party pondered supporting homosexualist marriage. So Kerry publicly opposed homosexualist marriage in his home state, in an attempt to form bonds with moderates who also oppose homosexualist marriage. If successful, this would change the correlation to forces to favor the Democrats and liberal groups. Visually:
Kerry’s Appeal to the Center
John Kerry publicly opposed homosexualist marriages to attempt to form common bonds with Republican-leaning moderates.
Trying to steal Republican supports this way is network contestment — classic 4GPS2. To work it requires the liberal base — the “netroots” — to support him. It requires liberal radicals to realize that a successful 4GPS2 attack makes successful 4GPS3 attacks more likely, and it requires the liberal radicals to believe that political struggle without 4GPS3 victories is useless.
Guess how well that turned out.
Before the election I called Kerry a “spineless ass” for his opposition (where none was warranted) of gay marriage in Massachusetts. Opposition that was clearly politically motivated given his past support on the issue. Well, my assessment remains operative.
Kos is launching a 4GPS1 attack on his ally, while his ally is attacking Republicans with a 4GPS2 attack! Friendly fire!
Liberal Radicals Attack Their Ally
This is like terrorists attacking Abu Zarqawi because that terrorist was spending too much time controlling territory at night and not enough setting off car bombs.
But it gets worse for the liberal network. The attack isn’t an end in itself. It has a goal
I’ve had it with this jerk. He was a lousy presidential candidate, couldn’t find a consistent position non the Iraq war if his life depended on it, and now the only consistent message he’s been able to find post-election is to bash gays.
Note to Kerry: Go away. You were a crappy candidate, a milquetoast Senator (Kennedy always pulled your weight, anyway), and now you have the nerve to weigh in AGAINST gay rights in your own state? Grow a pair, buddy, then come back and we’ll talk.
If you dare run for president again, I’ll be telling the world loud and clear that I voted for John Kerry for president, before I voted against him.
The goal of the netroot attack on Kerry is to disconnect Kerry.
The goal of the liberal radicals is to shrink the liberal network.
The visual is astounding
America Blog‘s Future Worth Creating: Kerry Disconnected
Disconnection is something reserved for The Enemy.
Of course, liberal radicals believe that Washington Democrats are the enemies.
The outlook for conservatives: good.
Network Politics, a tdaxp series
Introduction: Net-Attacks and Counter-Attacks
Part 1, 0GW / 4GW: Iraqi Sunnis
Part 2, 0GW / 4GW: Christian Conservatives
Part 3, 1GW / 4GW: George Soros
Part 4, 2GW / 4GW: Social Security
Part 5, 4GW / 4GW: John Kerry