As Netroots Nation 2012 was coming to a close a couple of weeks ago and Deciminyan & I were getting ready to leave Providence, Rhode Island, this Tweet dropped, in response to our Twitter coverage of the 4-day event:
.@BlueJersey Sounds like you had a blast at #NN12. Maybe I can join you next year.
I didn't answer the Senator on Twitter, because I've been mulling that over. And I decided to answer here, to Senator Buono, and a few other people - mostly women - I know. Yeah, you should go. It's an idea factory, a lively place of discussion, strategy and tactics - only one you will avail yourself of. Maybe you'll be there next time around. See who I'm inviting to Netroots Nation next year - below the fold. And who do you think should go, Blue Jersey?
Barbara Buono: Yes, you should absolutely consider going to Netroots Nation, Sen. Buono. The next mega-meeting is June 20-23 in San Jose, California.By that time, you may well be an announced candidate for Governor, and you might be running against Chris Christie, assuming he doesn't get outta Dodge. And let me tell you, the 3,000 bloggers, organizers, staffers, studrnts, politicians, and candidates who show up to that yearly confab are highly attuned to Gov. Christie's sacrifice of sensible policy at home to get in good with what cartoonist commentator Rob Tornoe called "the small herd of Grover Norquist-led out-of-staters looking for the next coming of Ronald Reagan."
Women candidates fighting uphill battles cleanly cut a wide swath at Netroots Nation this year, like these 3 running for Congress: Elizabeth Warren, Darcy Burner, Mazie Hirono. At your best, you sound like the women who fight the War on Women they discussed (which is also sometimes a war on their men), one of the most talked about plenaries at Netroots. Watch this. And at their best, they sound like you. Maybe you should listen to this: 2012 And the War On (and for) Women. (start at mark 5:45).
Hetty Rosenstein: Labor was everywhere at Netroots, and in conversations in sessions and in the hallways (where the real action is), weaving in and out of particularly discussions about the economy. The Verizon strike was discussed, and the ways corporations are leveraging a weak economy and diminished union base at the expense of workers. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was a keynote and a hit, as he always is here. You'd have been in the discussions of how to get better coverage of labor struggles in state and national political blogs. And CWA was a sponsor of NN12.
Ginger Gold Schnitzer: You're the chief lobbyist for the most maligned group of people in New Jersey: teachers. Arguably the most famous governor in America climbed all over NJEA members in his bid for GOP rock-god status. There's a lot of support for teachers at Netroots, and more compellingly a great deal of interest in teaching, and in the way the right-wing uses education and "reform" as a wedge issue.
Loretta Weinberg: 76-year old Senate Majority Leader with two bats in her office - a little one marked Chris Christie and a much bigger one over it marked Loretta Weinberg? And a blogger in a conference of 3,000 of them, all younger than you? Are you kidding me? R
Marie Corfield (Assembly candidate, LD-16 Special Election: Honey, they already knew who you are. Your rise is an interesting story, and not just because of what you did after Chris Christie made a YouTube out of you. Netroots folks are intrigued by fearless candidates who don't intimidate easily, and you stand up against bad policy and big bullies better than people with twice your experience.
Blue Jersey frontpagers: Too bad only two of us went to NN12 in Providence. San Jose won't be driving distance.
Michelle Ryan Lauto (now age 20): Two years ago, thousands of students walked out of school in an action far more powerful in my opinion than the NJEA-organized rally a few days later, which was the largest in New Jersey history. Why? Because what Michelle did was not put together by any group, or union, that ever staged an action like that. It was completely unexpected (surprised the hell out of us). And she did it all with new media - facebook, texting.
Supporters of Rocky Anderson & other alternative presidential candidates: I was interviewed on background for this New York Times piece on Netroots. The reporter gave me every chance to bail out on Barack Obama. Listen, I'm very happy to complain to presidents, legislators or governors when my government is less than I think it could be. And I guess it was legitimate for the Times' Sarah Wheaton to look for a carryover from last year's Netroots, when Obama's junior year (and the well-funded rise of the 'Tea Party' and their scare tactics on health care) was the source of frustration for opinionated bloggers. I get it. By San Jose, we'll either have a new president or we won't. But if 'alternative candidates' - in down-ballot races where there's a good chance for uphill climbers - or in non-viable presidential races - want to make their case, making a hit with 3,000 of the best and most active communicators working on the progressive side, is a good way to generate earned media.
Who else from New Jersey should consider going to Netroots Nation next year in California, Blue Jersey?