In February, when I asked Senator Sheldon Whitehouse if his "Buffett Rule" bill raising taxes on the wealthy was a mere political stunt, he insisted that he had a real plan for passage. One element of that plan: bring up the legislation for a vote over and over again, as a way to pressure the Republicans into passage. The method, he said, had been pivotal to passage of the financial reform bill last year.
In case you missed it, here's President Obama's taped address to Netroots Nation. It is, perhaps, a preview of his campiagn message. "Change is hard," he says, "but we've seen that it's possible."
Embedded in his address is a video about a Colorado family testifying to the importance of one element of healthcare reform - removing lifetime caps on medical costs.
The netroots story can seem so, well, 2006. But this is actually a remarkably fertile time for online activism. Witness the Internet's January revolt against the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills, the web-based protest against the Susan G. Komen foundation, and the Kony 2012 video (see my recent piece "Game Change?")
I'm at the Netroots Nation conference today, and this morning I sat in on a panel titled "Handcuffs. Conventional Wisdom and Dirty Oil: Activism's Big Win Against the Keystone XL Pipeline." The headliner was environmental activist Bill McKibben, who is considered the driving force behind a movement that came out of nowhere to pressure President Obama into delaying construction of the pipeline last fall.
Here are the five panels you gotta see:
1) The Power of Our Stories: Making Complex Issues Accessible, Room 555, 9 am: The left needs work on its narrative. Learn how to use personal stories.
2) Women Rule: Keys for Social Media and Electoral Success, Room 551, 9 am: The private sector figured it out long ago: women rule the web.
Headed to Netroots Nation? Here's are five bars, restaurants, and cafes to check out within walking distance of the Rhode Island Convention Center. Oh, and if you want to sound like a local, it's "DownCity," not "downtown."
1) Tazza, 250 Westminster St. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, beer and some upscale hipster ambience.