The Uncivil Bunch
The real face of the GOP, Jesse Helms. Gone but remembered fondly by some
Is the Daily Kos infiltrating the Democratic party, or remaking it in their own image?
by Dean Barnett
03/02/2005 12:00:00 AM
">SOMEWHERE ON A STREET NEAR YOU, one or both of our major political parties will soon have a ward committee meeting. Ward committee members are the people in your community who think an ideal weekend is spent stuffing envelopes or manning a phone bank on behalf of their pet cause. They are noble people; they are also a little strange.
The people who make up ward committees are passionate about politics. Really, really passionate. It is the parties' good fortune that their ward committee meetings are held in private living rooms across the country and not televised on C-SPAN. Indeed, for the vast majority of Americans who maintain a benign indifference to politics, watching their fellow citizens angrily rant for 90 minutes on the sorry state of the nation before finally repairing for coffee and cookies would be depressing and frightening.
In many ways, the Daily Kos is like a gigantic virtual ward committee. Like a ward committee, the Kos community is able to raise funds for candidates and causes it deems worthy. Also like a ward committee, the Kos community has energy; politicians know a favorable nod from Kos proprietor Markos Moulitsas or one of his co-bloggers can generate not just cash but volunteers, too. Problematically, though, the Daily Kos also has many of the negative characteristics of a Ward committee: The excessive passion, the intemperate remarks, and the strange world views of people who obsess about politics.
BUT AS A WARD COMMITTEE ON HYPER-STEROIDS, the Daily Kos has become
enough of a player that it's not just selectmen and aspiring state senators who curry the community's favor. United States Senator Barbara Boxer has sent the community not one but two fawning mash notes in the past month to better ingratiate herself with the Kossacks (as they call themselves). As Moulitsas has crowed many times on his website, the Daily Kos has real power, power that is evidenced by the fact that a national figure such as Boxer will stop by repeatedly to pay her respects.
MARKOS MOULITSAS'S CHALLENGE will be to keep the Daily Kos respectable enough that politicians remain eager to be seen in his company. This challenge is not insignificant; the Daily Kos is viewed hundreds of thousands of times a day by a great many people and much of the goings on there are likely unattractive to the general public.
Few politicians have strong inhibitions about going negative on their opponent, but most see a need to appear civil in their discourse. For instance, while President Bush might have been privately delighted by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth this past campaign season, he was loath to publicly embrace them. On the Daily Kos, civility is in chronically short supply.
Moulitsas (who declined to be interviewed for this story) has not been bashful about his ambitions: He wants to first empower the Democratic grassroots and then in turn empower a more reliably liberal Democratic party.
But his site's greatest asset is also its greatest potential liability. The Kos community's energy attracts politicians with the promise of money and volunteers. But that same energy also produces a surfeit of unseemly commentary on a recurring basis. If Moulitsas is unable or unwilling to exert a more forceful hand in harnessing that energy, he runs the risk that the political class will eschew his embrace.
Then again, perhaps Moulitsas is trying to usher a different kind of Democratic politician to the fore--the kind of politician who is unconstrained by the traditional urge to appear civil. Moulitsas has long been associated with Howard Dean and was instrumental in Dean's ascension to the DNC chairmanship. This ascension came only days after Dean proudly proclaimed that he "hated" Republicans.
If Moulitsas has his way, the Democratic party will allow its "inner ward committee" to be viewed by the world at large. Moulitsas is probably comfortable with this possibility--the Kos community shows the highest regard for the most passionately strident commentary and has little regard for common decorum. The Kossacks seem to believe that if they could just be heard by the entire country, the Democratic party's losing streak would come to an end.
And Custer probably thought that if he could just get the Indians to come out and fight him at Little Big Horn
First, if Custer had used his weapons properly and not walked into a trap, then he would have won Little Big Horn. His defeat was due to his mistakes and underestimating the skill of the enemy.
Like all Daily News stories about the NY Post serve an agenda, all Weekly Standard stories abouyt liberal bloggers must be regarded in the same light. First, Kos has the brains to not talk to the Weekly Standard, something I would recommend as SOP for all liberal bloggers. Why let them distort our words when we can speak for ourselves.
Second, civility? You mean like Michelle Malkin's justification of the reprehensible internment of the Japanese, Jonah Goldberg attacking Juan Cole, only to get his dick smacked, and Frei Republik, which routinely calls for murder of people they disagree with.
DO NOT BE FOOLED. Civility is a club to beat you over the head with. Jim Inhofe is as civil as a dog. Ann Coulter uses the word treason like Alton Brown uses Kosher Salt. They want to make it seem like the Daily Kos community is a bunch of wackos and it is not Frei Republik, and saying one "hates" Republicans wouldn't go far there. Of course, they left out the fight between the vote fraudesters and Kos, who didn't let them take over the site. Imagine that battle on Frei Republik. People would have lost their minds.
They want to call us unamerican traitors and we're supposed to remain civil. Well, that dog don't hunt. They no longer get a free hand. They stopped being civil a long time ago. So don't be fooled by this argument, because it's really bullshit.
What you also need to read into this is that GOP attempts to create a version of Kos has failed miserably. The owners either edit comments or demand party loyalty to an idea-killing degree. So it serves their interest to knock Kos and his site as much as possible. They want to hamstring the Democrats while the vermin they call pundits run free denigration their opponents and embarassing America.
Just because the talent level at WS is leagues higher than the mouth breathers at NRO doesn't make them any less incidious or evil.
posted by Steve @ 1:00:00 PM