This is a few days old, but I wanted to bring it up anyway: Patrick Ruffini has some very interesting thoughts on Yearly Kos and its relation to the conservative movement -- past and present. Ruffini points out that, while conservatives wonder "where's our Yearly Kos?", YK itself arose out of the question among progressives: "where's our CPAC?" Any progressive will admit -- will explain at length -- that our movement was largely modeled on the one built by conservatives beginning with the Goldwater campaign (though of course we've come up with innovations of our own).
The conservative analog to YearlyKos is 30 years old. The 800lb. gorillas of the conservative Web initially went online in the 1995-97 timeframe. And many have failed to innovate. They are still Web 1.0, where the Left jumped directly into Web 2.0 in the Bush years.Ruffini goes on to describe how poorly the conservative web -- Drudge, Free Republic, the right blogosphere, et al -- is aging (it's worth reading the post for the digs at Freepers alone). Are conservatives locked into outdated technologies?
It would be one thing if we didn’t have any of these institutions, and could start from scratch just as the netroots did. My fear is that we have a bunch of institutions that still function somewhat well, but are long past their prime. With that, there is the danger we will slowly die without knowing it, as our techniques gradually lose effectiveness year after year. Just like newspaper circulation numbers. And there are a number of people on the right who are still complacent about this.Ruffini and Soren Dayton follow on this post with a pretty good exchange, about which more later. But I think there's absolutely something to this -- after all, social institutions rely on accumulated legitimacy, which can hold them back when it's time for those institutions to reinvent themselves. This is a lesson for the left as much as for the right.