Why are the netroots so moderate compared to previous left-of-center movements? Peter Beinart at The New Republic makes two standout points, but RTWT:

They aren’t into third parties because of Ralph Nader. “Until Nader, no progressive third-party candidate had dramatically pushed American politics to the right–as Nader did when he helped elect George W. Bush. In the process, he discredited progressive third parties for a generation. Had Nader–once a liberal icon–showed up at YearlyKos, he probably would have been booed.” And rightly so, IMHO.

And they aren’t into revolution because that’s so 20th century. “It’s the first broad-based liberal movement to emerge since communism’s demise. In the Progressive era, it was conventional wisdom on the American left–asserted by everyone from Eugene Debs to John Dewey–that socialism was historically inevitable. Then, during the Depression–until Stalin’s alliance with Hitler and the news of his terrible crimes brought most leftists to their senses–the Soviet Union became a real-life model of what revolution, as opposed to mere reform, could achieve. Even in the ’60s, the shift towards outright resistance coincided with an enthusiasm for revolutions abroad….The Soviet Union is gone, and, virtually without exception, leftist revolutions in the third world have ended in tears.

The netroots feel the American system has gone fundamentally wrong; that, in some profound ways, it has become less just, less decent, less free. And yet, the American system is all they have. It can be reformed, turned into a better version of itself. But it can’t be overthrown because there is nothing with which to replace it. Markos Moulitsas is an idealist in a post-utopian age.”