Obama’s willingness to ignore the bloggers’ demands foreshadowed the difficulties the netroots would encounter once Democrats began wielding power. Obama’s groundbreaking campaign tapped the power of the internet, but it did so largely without the help of progressive blogosphere leaders. Matt Stoller, an early blogger who is now a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, gave Boehlert a clear-eyed assessment of the Obama campaign’s posture toward the blogosphere: “They don’t care what we think. … Their logistical operations are remarkable, their campaign structure is phenomenal, and we’re not a part of it.”

Once Obama won without the “intensity” of the blogosphere, the relationship between the online left and the Democratic establishment reverted to fractiousness, with the purist outsiders taking potshots at the compromising insiders. In December 2009, as it became clear that a public health insurance option would not be part of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Moulitsas lambasted the legislation as “a turd of a ‘reform’ package, potentially worse than the status quo.” When Obama tried to boost morale for the slowly recovering economy and credited his stimulus package, Atrios scoffed at the calls by Democrats to “clap louder you stupid hippies.”…

As the Bush-era blog leaders struggled, the decentralized nature of the online political world gave oxygen to newer factions, including a robust democratic socialist left that viewed the founding members of the blogosphere as insufficiently progressive. “Once Obama took office, Kos went soft” wrote the “Chapo Trap House” podcasters in their best-selling book, based on Moulitsas’ negativity toward Sanders in 2016 (and ignoring his many attempts to boost primary challenges against establishment officeholders.)