I started to include this in the same previous post, but I thought the Awards, and certainly Stogie, deserved better. Also, it's very meta. I apologize for the inside baseball in advance.
Here's the thing about the Netroots Awards (where you should go vote for your favorites, right now!), and because I have never won one, this may well come off as sour grapes: I think that, with maybe one exception, the Florida Netroots Awards should go to progressives. And because they are presented at the Florida Democratic Party Convention in October, I think that the folks nominated should be Democrats, again, with a couple of exceptions I'll mention in a moment.
The awards this year may be missing that boat in at least one instance. And for what it's worth to you, I am as responsible for it as anyone.
This got to be an issue with me early last month when an anonymous person left this comment on the Florida Progressive Coalition blog:
Submitted on 2011/09/05 at 20:12
New category: Best right wing activist mascarading as a progressive.
Nominee: Peter Schorsch, who is working to elect former mayor and Bush campaign chair Rick Baker and Tea Party R Jeff Brandes with a lot of help from progressive bloggers.
Heh, okay. I'll concede that the "help from progressive bloggers" may (or may not) have been a slight dig at me, a reference to my post questioning the use of Awake the State (the website left from the anonymous commenter goes to the Awake the State site).
Now, I might have just let that go, but Kenneth Quinnell responded:
Submitted on 2011/09/05 at 20:49
I obviously don’t agree with everything Peter does, but there are more options than progressive and right-wing. The world is simply more complicated than that. Peter has progressive values on most issues, but does support some Republicans, even ones who aren’t progressive. That’s obviously his choice. Call him out on it, certainly, but don’t call him dishonest about it because he’s pretty up front about it.
Well, that's true -- the world is more complicated than that, but Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous was talking specifically about the Netroots Awards. And unlike our complicated world, these Awards have some guidelines.
Let's remember, before we look at the rules, that what I wouldd like (stated in the opening sentences of this post) and what the rules say are certainly two different things:
It’s that time of year again. Nominations are now open for the best of the blogs and online activism on the left in Florida. The process will be the same as previous years. Between now and midnight on September 23, we’ll be taking nominations for the best writing, posting and online activism in the state of Florida amongst the left-wing blogs, politicians and activists. The process is simple. Send me your nominations in the categories below. This is just the nomination period. All nominations that fit the category descriptions will be accepted. Any nominees that are in the wrong category will be moved to the right category. Keep in mind that all nominees have to be Florida-based and that they can’t be Republicans, Libertarians or Tea Party activists. Any posts, blogs, etc., that have appeared since last year’s awards are eligible for the awards.
Hm, okay. Pretty up-front. "...[T]he best writing, posting and online activism in the state of Florida amongst the left-wing blogs, politicians and activists." Seems to make sense so far. "...[T]hey can’t be Republicans, Libertarians or Tea Party activists." Also good news.
After reading that, and considering the terms of eligibility, what would say about a guy who wrote this?
By leaving the Democratic Party, I am leaving the party of President Obama. To which I say, Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Hillary!
Clinton should have been the nominee, but was outmaneuvered by the craftier Obama campaign. I think this is the underlying problem for President Obama: Too many Democrats think Hillary should have been the nominee and if Florida’s primary had not been screwed up, she likely would have been.Yet Barack Obama won the presidency and so he is the leader of the Democratic Party. But, frankly, on far too many issues, the president has gravely disappointed me.
Throughout the Democratic Party, there are just too many people I just don’t feel comfortable supporting. I wouldn’t follow Arthenia Joyner up an elevator, much less a political cause. Yet now she is the #2 Democrat in the Florida Senate. Based on what? Grandstanding and incompetence.What about Florida’s Democratic representation in the US Congress. Corrine Brown? Alcee Hastings? Frederica Wilson. I’m sorry, but when I think of these people being my leaders, I shudder.
Let me be very, very honest: As a straight, white, Catholic man, I look around the Florida Democratic Party and I don’t see a lot of similar faces.
...as far as being a Democrat for the sake of national issues, what’s the point? As for Florida, being a Democrat is just a losing proposition.
Let me also take a moment to talk about the Pinellas Democratic Party. I don’t know if there has ever been a more useless collection of has-beens, never-was’, freaks and geeks. Not ever having to worry about what those people think is reason enough to switch to NPA.
I’m suppose to follow a party led by Nancy Pelosi at the national level, Karen Thurman, Alcee Hastings and Arthenia Joyner at the state level and Mark Hanisee at the local level?Looking at those names, it’s a wonder I didn’t switch my party registration sooner.
And wrote it all in one post?
Look, let me be clear: I come not to bury Peter Schorsch, who wrote those things as he aired his grievances with state, local, and national Democrats, and who is nominated for Best National Blog, Best State Blog, Best Writer, Best Post, and was a big winner last year. In fact, let me point out some other parts of his same post I linked to and quoted above:
No, the primary reason I have switched my party registration is because of this website [Saint Petersblog]. Reading the list of websites which refer many of the visitors to Saint Petersblog, I see links from the Executive Office of the Governor and LobbyTools and Sayfie Review and many of Florida’s media websites.
Every day, at least 10,000 unique visitors read Saint Petersblog - even now two weeks after Election Day. That’s more than the St. Petersburg Times‘ Bay Buzz and most of the other political sites in Florida.
And I don’t think the number of visitors is going to decrease. If anything, over the next two years, I expect to see dramatic growth, driven across an entire spectrum of websites I will be administering.
In addition to the thousands of readers who visit Saint Petersblog for political news, information and opinion, dozens of advertisers also rely on the site to deliver their message.
So for those readers and advertisers, and in the face of the continuing maturity of Saint Petersblog from blog to website to media concern, I believe it’s best to be independent of a political party.
I am not a journalist, I just play one on this blog, but there are some rules of journalism which, when embraced, make my life easier, while clarifying the purpose of Saint Petersblog.
So for the sake of better journalism, I have switched my party registration from Democrat to No Party Affiliation.
Again, this isn't about dissing Peter, who has been kinder to me that I deserve. In fact, I read these paragraphs directly above and wholeheartedly agree with them. He may not be a journalist, but if he's getting more views that The Buzz, then he's produced something, well, different.
But where does that leave us with the Netroots Awards?
Ah, yes. Back to the eligibility.
I wish I'd thought of it in time for this year, but that would be my suggestion for Saint Petersblog next year.
Or we can look at the rules of the Netroots Awards. Anonymous was a bit snarky in his or her comment, but I'm not sure Kenneth's approach was right, either. With that said, let me be fair to Kenneth: he gave many of us the opportunity to comment on the nomination categories and the way the Awards are done.
I did not offer comment at the time. And that is why this has weighed heavily on my mind, and why I take as much responsibility for the failing.
For what it's worth, I was not saving my fire for this blog post. No -- the truth is, this just came to me tonight -- I just didn't really think about it until I saw those nominations, and I went back and looked at that comment.
I've talked to several people about what the Netroots Awards mean. I think they are a high honor, and a fantastic tool for peer recognition.
All the nominees this year are worthy of your review and your participation. I hope next year I can serve my community a little better by offering worthwhile suggestions on how this process works. Good luck to all the nominees.