Thursday, March 20, 2008

The DK Civil War

Looks like I need to pay a bit more attention to the Blogosphere (!), as I hadn't realized that there was some kind of "civil war" or "writer's strike" or something going on over at Daily Kos until I saw it on Colbert last night.

No, seriously. I know it sounds goofy, but look at this post from Alegre. I bolded the bit that I found really, really funny.


I’ve been posting at DailyKos for nearly 4 years now and started writing diaries in support of Hillary Clinton back in June of last year. Over the past few months I’ve noticed that things have become progressively more abusive toward my candidate and her supporters.

I’ve put up with the abuse and anger because I’ve always believed in what our on-line community has tried to accomplish in this world. No more. DailyKos is not the site it once was thanks to the abusive nature of certain members of our community.

I’ve decided to go on "strike" and will refrain from posting here as long as the administrators allow the more disruptive members of our community to trash Hillary Clinton and distort her record without any fear of consequence or retribution. I will not be posting at DailyKos effective immediately. I will not help drive up traffic or page-hits as long as my candidate – a good and fine DEMOCRAT - is attacked in such a horrid and sexist manner not only by other diarists, but by several of those posting to the front page.

Instead, I will put my energy into posting at sites where my efforts aren’t routinely trashed, spammed and ridiculed by a handful of angry, petty and spiteful folks who clearly have too much time on their hands.

This is a strike - a walkout over unfair writing conditions at DailyKos. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won't "work" at DailyKos again. As a regular contributor to the discourse in our community, I would certainly hope to take part in the conversation at DailyKos again some day if we ever get to the point where we’re engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches. But not now. Writers need a safe place to reach out and exchange ideas, to communicate and challenge one another. DailyKos should be that place, but its tone, its essence has evolved into something ugly and destructive. Good writers can't survive in that kind of atmosphere. Democrats shouldn't have to put up with that from fellow Democrats.
So, why "funny"?

It's because she's finally hit on the elephant in the room over at Dailykos: that it isn't "their" community and it isn't "their" website. The website belongs to Markos Moulitsas. The diaries belong to Markos Moulitsas. The web traffic--all those glorious millions of visits that draw potential commentators and diarists like a moth to a flame--they all belong to Markos Moulitsas too. He may hand off the day-to-day operation to other people, but they are other people that he finds suitable for the task. Since it's a political website, even I'll admit that it's only fair that they be politically compatible.

I'm amazed that the Clinton supporters didn't see the writing on the wall when Kos threw in with Obama. Face it: Clinton is the establishment candidate. She's the machine candidate. She's the one who's been making all the most powerful allies in order to leverage their support, and she's been doing it since her husband was president. In many respects, she's been running for president all her life, and employed every agency of power to do it, particularly "centrist" ones like the DLC. I've never thought she was really that fond of their message, but they're the gatekeepers, so you play nice with them.

Kos hates those people. He hates those agencies. He hates them because they don't work, because they're undemocratic, and because they've turned the Democratic party into a weak, trembling, Republican-lite body- one that stinks of the fearful urine that runs down their legs every time Karl Rove or Frank Luntz open their mouths. He also hates them, though, because he knows they aren't going to let him in. He's too brash, too loud, too partisan.

(And a wee bit too ignorant about political philosophy and policymaking if Matt Bai has it right. But let's not get into that.)

He doesn't know how their game works, and he doesn't care. He'll use the power he does have, hence "crashing the gates".

Alegre, that's just not the bio of a potential Clinton supporter. It has nothing to do with Clinton's gender; it never did. It's about her path to power irrevocably conflicting with his.

I'm amazed that they didn't expect Kos to throw in with Obama in the first place, but I'm even more surprised that they didn't understand what would happen afterwards. For all intents and purposes, this primary is the general; whoever wins it will probably be President.

(I'm still convinced that McCain only stands a chance if the grassroots are overturned by the superdelegates, and it stops being an election. As long as it's an election, it's the important one.)

If this is the important election, if this determines who becomes president, then it would be the height of madness and stupidity for Kos not to leverage the power he has to help Obama.

All those millions of visits? He's going to leverage those.

All those hundreds of diarists, the ones who don't realize that they're only as independent as he'll let them be? He's going to leverage those.

All those thousands of commentators who want to get noticed, maybe become popular diarists, maybe even make the front page? He's going to leverage those.

All those other blogs that he was responsible for spinning off, that follow his lead? He's going to leverage those.

And all those Clinton supporters, trying to leverage his site to support their agenda? He can't leverage those. They should have known they weren't going to part of that "community" any more.

Politics is a game of power, and for this (still!) independent blogger it's absolute mindbendingly hilarious that it took this primary for those "Kossacks" to realize how power really works in their "community".

As for Kos' response, well... that's the next post.

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