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Photo courtesy of Flickr user nancyscola. Disclaimer: Mike Lux will be at our blogger meetup, but I make no promises regarding Josh Brolin.

Maryb2004 has put together St. Louis area blogger meetups several times over the last couple of years, including a lovely picnic in Tower Grove Park last summer. So it’s perhaps fitting that one of her favorite bloggers on the national scene, Michael Lux, will be our special guest at The Dubliner in downtown St. Louis this Friday, March 20th at 4:30 PM for happy hour. Michael is in town to kick off the Grand Opening weekend of Left Bank Books new downtown location with a talk and sign copies of his new book The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be. The Left Bank Books event will begin at 7:00 PM. (I also hear there will be an introduction at Left Bank Books from a surprise guest, but I’ll have to stay hush on that for now.)

You can be forgiven, I suppose, for not knowing who Mike Lux is. I certainly had no clue who he was in the summer of 2007,  when I had first heard of him. He suddenly appeared alongside Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers at OpenLeft.com, after the two split off from MyDD.com to do their own thing. At that site, he has offered invaluable commentary on the 2008 presidential primary season (particularly on Iowa), and put into contemporary context some of the hard lessons learned by progressives in the 1990s.

It’s not surprising that Mike would offer such a compelling voice at OpenLeft. He’s been in politics since the 1970s, working first locally in Iowa and later becoming senior staff on the Joe Biden and Paul Simon presidential campaigns. He cashed in those connections to become a lobbyist… for the AFL-CIO. In 1992 he worked in the Clinton/Gore campaign as National Constituencies Director, and later served in the Clinton White House, helping to coordinate the first budget battle (we won) and the health care reform battle (we know how that went.) After he left the White House, he again cashed in his connections… to work for major liberal organizations like People for the American Way. He was one of the first inside the Beltway to understand the power of Internet organizing by working with Wes Boyd and Joan Blades on their online petition to censure President Clinton and “move on” from the Lewinsky scandal. The result of that online petition is MoveOn.org. I haven’t read his book yet, but I’ll be sure to pick up a copy on Friday.

One of the great things about the blogosphere is that it allows ordinary citizens to have a voice and medium with little added effort or startup cost. It allows us to share our experiences and our ideas with one another, with people you would probably never meet in the offline world, and get feedback from those same people.  What many so often fail to understand is that the online world is not only beneficial for those who haven’t ever had access to policymakers – it’s good for those at the top to share their experiences and ideas, and just as importantly, to hear feedback, too.

That’s why I’m glad Mike is blogging at OpenLeft.com, and why I’m glad he’ll be with us at the Dubliner this Friday at 4:30 PM and at Left Bank Books Downtown at 7:00 PM. Don’t miss it!