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Netroots Civil War: Is the Bloom off the Kos?
American Thinker ^ | July 11th, 2006 | Noel Sheppard

Posted on 07/11/2006 12:37:35 PM PDT by veronica

It appears that the post-Yearly Kos month from hell is continuing for Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the proprietor of the Internet’s premier liberal blog Daily Kos. After receiving some extremely negative press from major publications such as the New York Times, The New Republic, and Newsweek immediately following his seemingly successful bloggers’ convention in Las Vegas, Kos is now faced with an even greater challenge: dissention within his ranks.

Such internal squabbling comes at the same time that many prominent Democrats seem to be privately expressing concern about the direction the “netroots” – the self-described Internet grassroots movement of liberal bloggers and their loyal followers – are taking the Party. This seemingly inconvenient planetary alignment is not only threatening the long-term viability of this crusade, but also is putting Kos in an uncomfortable position just as his notoriety is skyrocketing.

As reported here on June 30, revelations about Kos’s friend and former business partner Jerome Armstrong – from stock fraud allegations to accepting consulting fees from not so liberal candidates – have cast a cloud over the blog and its leader. This pall has also undermined the stellar relationship Kos has had with the traditional media up to this point.

Yet, maybe more important, these revelations – along with the way Markos and his Kossacks reacted to them – have caused some prominent DKos bloggers to question the behavior of Zuniga and his devotees. Such a civil war within the liberal blogosphere certainly has the potential to further discredit it, while likely making the mainstream media as well as the candidates they revere less apt to associate with this developing train wreck.

The most prominent disgruntlement came in a “diary” written and posted Saturday by Maryscott O’Connor, who describes herself as a “contented and fulfilled…denizen of the Daily Kos community,” and is now the proprietor of My Left Wing, “a spin-off of Daily Kos.”

O’Connor, who was actually the subject of a 2,181-word front-page Washington Post article about the liberal blogosphere published in April, began her July 8 diary entitled “Something is Rotten in Blogmark”:

Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a member of DKos. This is one of those times. There is a sort of groupthink, Lord of the Flies kind of behaviour at DKos over certain issues that absolutely makes me nauseated.

O’Connor was referring to a diary by another Kossack, Richard Silverstein, published at DKos on June 26. It openly addressed some of the issues raised by The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle as well as the New York Times’ David Brooks.

In short, Silverstein was concerned about the propriety of a blogger accepting funds from a political candidate. His honesty was not well received by the Kossacks, and it appears their response has been eating at O’Connor ever since:

Increasingly, I have begun to feel intimidated or wary about writing my thoughts and doubts about these issues, lest I be set upon by a pack of Defenders of the Kos.

O’Connor then shared her concerns about recent hypocrisies demonstrated by Kos and his devotees:

I was bowled over when Markos mentioned Paul Hackett in his keynote speech at YKos as an example of the power of the “netroots”—not least because when Rahm Emanuel et al threw Hackett under the bus, Markos almost immediately declared that while he was loath to say it, Brown stood a far better chance at winning than did Hackett—mostly because Brown had the support of the powers that be in the Democratic Party.

Hypocrisy in an organization is an awful thing for a devoted team member to recognize, but even harder to admit. To her credit, O’Connor expanded on another obvious contradiction – Kos’s support for the seemingly moderate former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, implicitly due to Armstrong’s consulting arrangement with the presumptive 2008 presidential candidate – while elaborating on the Hackett affair:

[A]bandoning Hackett, signing on with the candidate anointed by the DLC, seemed in complete contradiction to the ideas and ideals behind Markos’s book.

Sounds like real world Machiavellian politics have crashed the gates, doesn’t it? Yet, O’Connor is not the only Kossack having such doubts. The day before she posted her personal revelations, Richard Silverstein wrote another blog – this one conspicuously not posted at DKos – entitled “Don’t Cross the ‘Cult of Kos’ or You’ll Live to Regret It.” In it, Silverstein raised a very important question:

[H]ow does a political blogger who endorses candidates at his site create a transparent environment when he may also be consulting for–or have some other undisclosed relationship with–some of these same candidates?

Silverstein also voiced his displeasure with how his June 26 blog on this subject was received by the Kossacks:

In short, I expected some might not like what I wrote. But I simply wasn’t prepared for the onslaught.

After sharing some of the malicious attacks he received in the comments section of his blog, Silverstein addressed how the site’s administrators appeared to be participating in the bashing rather than performing their prescribed tasks:

But I have to say that behavior like what I’ve described above–not just behavior by members, but apparently behavior aided and abetted by the site administrator/s–allows me to understand some of the criticism of Kos and his site flung at him by his critics. My treatment made me feel more like I was participating in a cult in which I’d insulted the chief leader and was receiving the deep six treatment in response.

All this certainly makes The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle, and the New York Times’ David Brooks look rather prescient. Yet, these chinks in the armor are much more serious for Markos, as now it is members of his own ranks questioning what kind of clothes the emperor is wearing. And, these folks have truly legitimate concerns about his apparent nudity that can’t be so easily brushed aside.

How dire is this for Kos? Well, he has positioned himself as being a progressive that will refuse to accept politics as usual from candidates he supports and raises money for. Without question, his vast readership is thoroughly enamored with this maverick approach.

However, if Kos – who likely is now making a decent living from his blogging activities due to ad revenues – is suddenly becoming the pragmatist rather than the idealist – funny how money can do that! – how long can he retain such a following of folks who appear unwilling to accept a political status quo?

After all, these are the Deaniacs. These people eschew the political expedience they see in politicians like Hillary Clinton. Are they going to sit idly by as their leader exhibits similarly deplorable traits? Hardly. Howard Dean making a statement to the press that doesn’t disparage President Bush or a member of his Administration is more likely.

As a result, in the two weeks since David Brooks fittingly concluded that Markos “has challenged his enemy and become it,” it seems that some of Zuniga’s followers are beginning to agree. And, this is threatening an implosion at the House of Kos.

Further complicating matters is the possibility that Markos and his devotees are wearing out their welcome with the Democrat establishment. Brooks, in a Times op-ed this Sunday entitled “The Liberal Inquisition,” made the case that left-wing politicians “privately despise the netroots” due to how vicious they are, but are scared to take positions that might incite their anger. Such fear conceivably makes some of these politicians that are seeking re-election in November, or a presidential nomination in 2008, do things that they otherwise wouldn’t.

These sentiments were echoed by New York Magazine’s John Heilemann:

The sudden Democratic obeisance to the Netroots fills many in the party’s centrist cadres with despair bordering on panic—for they see the likes of [MyDD’s Matt] Stoller and Moulitsas as “McGovernites with modems,” in the choice phrase of Marshall Wittman, a Republican apostate now ensconced at the Democratic Leadership Council. More than a few leading GOP lights agree, happily foreseeing the liberal bloggers’ leading the opposition down (okay, further down) the primrose path into lefty irrelevance. As Newt Gingrich put it bluntly in Newsweek, “I think the Republican Party has few allies more effective than the Daily Kos.”

If Brooks, Heilemann, and Gingrich are correct, it is quite possible that the leaders of the Democrats are watching the goings on at Daily Kos the past four weeks secretly enjoying the carnage while hoping that the wheels totally fall off the psychedelic VW bus. After all, the Moore left certainly didn’t help the Democrats in 2004. Maybe the powers that be are wisely starting to recognize how similarly damaging the Kossacks are to a successful campaign.

Of course, it is also possible that Kos – who is clearly no dummy – is starting to recognize this same inconvenient truth, and is indeed letting youthful idealism be replaced with a more ripened pragmatism: if the real goal is to get out of Iraq at all costs, some compromise on other issues might be appropriate in the grand scheme of things.

Heilemann appears to agree:

Kos and his allies see themselves not as ideologues but as pragmatists, aspiring players. And, indeed, time and again, Kos has declared that his main interest is in regaining power, by whatever means necessary. In his keynote at his Las Vegas convocation, he declared, “Republicans have failed us because they can’t govern; Democrats have failed us because they can’t get elected.” His mantra on other occasions has been “I’m just all about winning.”

Unfortunately, even Kos must understand that practicality and the desire to win at all costs are not strong traits amongst people with extreme political viewpoints, who obviously represents the bulk of his followers. As a result, this could leave him in the unenviable position of having to choose between his successful career as a blogger, or actually having a serious impact on politics, for it doesn’t seem likely that he can achieve both… at least, not with his current clientele.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: dailykos; kos; kosmosexualagenda
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1 posted on 07/11/2006 12:37:37 PM PDT by veronica
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To: veronica

Oh, what a pity, disunity and mayhem amongst the liberals.

2 posted on 07/11/2006 12:43:20 PM PDT by proudpapa (of three.)
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To: PJ-Comix
Kos, O'Crazed, et al. ping. This has it all, PJ. A storm is brewing in the Nutroots community. Potential goldmine in store for the KOmmie Komix/DUmmie FUnnies.

[Now returning to deep lurk mode during a busy summer season.]

3 posted on 07/11/2006 12:43:49 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Brief interruption in my break from regular FR posting, June 21-August 21.)
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To: veronica

Hillary's "people" are gonna pay a visit to Moulitsas "people"

She knows she cant even get the nomination without them, so she'll make sure they are irrelevant before '08.

4 posted on 07/11/2006 12:45:28 PM PDT by digger48
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To: veronica

G-d bless Kos. I couldn't disagree more with him politically, but I'm glad he's being authentic to his beliefs. We want these libs to say exactly what they want to achieve, which makes it all the more plain to make comparisons about what we want to achieve.

The danger lies with nervous political elites attempting to silence such people. They see how the Internet allows us all to evaluate our leaders, research what they've said and done, and share/discuss this in real time.

The Internet cat got out of the bag too fast for them to react. We must never let them try to put her back in.

5 posted on 07/11/2006 12:46:29 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: veronica

Liberalism is egomania by another name; liberal bloggers arguing over trifles is like watching toddlers argue over who gets the red cereal bowl. It's amusing to watch but ultimately unimportant except to the other wingnut bloggers like Maryscott "Hotflash" O'Connor (her Wash Post profile is a hoot).

As you can see the disagreements are never about facts or policy, they are just more of the same finger-pointing and preening. Everyone's quest seems to be how many name-checks they can receive. Then it's back to arguing about angels dancing on the head of a pin (for those libs who believe angels exist, anyway).

It's a bit scary, but understandable, that 'serious' Dem leaders would pay these foam-at-the-mouth ranters any attention. What in the world can a workshy empty nester in Maryland tell them that would be relevant to leadership or electoral politics?

The smell of desperation permeates the Dem sphere. If the DNC leadership tries to satisfy the wingnut bloggers, they will be somewhere to the left of VI Lenin. If the DNC ignores the bloggers in search of a moderate (i.e., policies with half a chance of being accepted/implemented) then the bloggers will throw another tanty. What a crew. They deserve each other.

6 posted on 07/11/2006 12:47:47 PM PDT by relictele
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To: veronica; All

People and/or groups with no moral compass always crash and burn and begin to eat their own.

7 posted on 07/11/2006 12:52:52 PM PDT by avacado
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To: veronica
The Cos was never the same since Lisa Bonet left the show.

What? KOS not Cos?

Never mind.

8 posted on 07/11/2006 12:53:36 PM PDT by llevrok ("Drink your beer, damnit! There are people in Africa sober.")
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To: relictele
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Maryscott O'Connor's pic from the WaPo article. Subsequent posts on her blog have her and her supporters griping about the photo but didn't she give her consent to be photographed?'


9 posted on 07/11/2006 12:53:42 PM PDT by relictele
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To: Uncledave

Yeah, it's what I most fear. The internet has brought true democracy to American politics, but can politicians stand it?

Seems to me at some point they are gonna try and control this tool.

10 posted on 07/11/2006 12:54:12 PM PDT by kjo
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To: veronica
pretty soon the moonbats are going to say Kos is a paid agent of Karl Rove hired to make them look foolish and sink the party... :D
11 posted on 07/11/2006 12:54:14 PM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: veronica

Its easy to understand their hypocrisy when you remember they have no moral basis to begin with.

12 posted on 07/11/2006 12:57:14 PM PDT by eyespysomething
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To: veronica
Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a member of DKos. This is one of those times. There is a sort of groupthink, Lord of the Flies kind of behaviour at DKos over certain issues that absolutely makes me nauseated.

Wonder how long it took Maryscott to come to this conclusion. This is the dominant characteristic of the left.

13 posted on 07/11/2006 12:59:03 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: veronica

15 minutes of flame

buh bye!

14 posted on 07/11/2006 1:01:19 PM PDT by NautiNurse (Hurricane Season 2006 - Be prepared and have a plan)
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To: veronica

Bring popcorn. It should be fun to watch.

15 posted on 07/11/2006 1:02:52 PM PDT by JamesP81 ("Never let your schooling interfere with your education" --Mark Twain)
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To: Echo Talon
"pretty soon the moonbats are going to say Kos is a paid agent of Karl Rove"


Don't let the secret out!
16 posted on 07/11/2006 1:03:52 PM PDT by Syntyr (Food for the NSA Line Eater -> "terrorist" "bomb" "plot" "kill" "overthrow" "coup de tas")
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To: Syntyr


17 posted on 07/11/2006 1:06:45 PM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: veronica
Kos is a lot like the "new politics" types of 35 years ago who saw George McGovern and John Lindsay as particularly strong presidential candidates. They didn't have the math right back then, and chances are they're mistaken now.

There's a parallel between this years Lieberman-Lamont race and Joe Duffey's 1970 campaign against Chris Dodd's father. Then as now, Connecticut is a test case for liberal insurgents, because it's a largely suburban state and most of their voters are affluent suburbanites.

18 posted on 07/11/2006 1:10:28 PM PDT by x
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To: veronica
This is great. With the Kossacks and DUmmies on the loose and the all-out attempt to lynch Joe Lieberman, the Dims will be divided, again, this fall. Only they are dumb enough to be able to lose to the pubbies in a year like this.
19 posted on 07/11/2006 1:12:20 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: veronica; PJ-Comix
I see that Daily Chaos(DKos) is living down to its name.

PJ - Time for another Kos Kommix?

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

20 posted on 07/11/2006 1:13:48 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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