Monday, June 26, 2006

The Occasion, Not the Kos

All I know of Kos I learned on the internets. That's about what I "know" of any media figure. What matters is how a person comes across online, so I don't really care what he's like "in person." Same goes for those who are currently attacking him. My opinion of them is formed by my observation of their online behavior.

Kos is a drama queen who needs to get a thicker skin. What Jerome Armstrong did or did not do in stock deals is irrelevant to my opinion of Kos, just as Kos' penchant for public temper tantrums is irrelevant to my opinion of Armstrong. What Kos does in the privacy of his own or someone else's home is absolutely off limits. I do think there is a band of prominent bloggers and their sycophantic commenters (often the same people from blog to blog - Jesus, people, don't you have jobs, or do you spend every waking hour on these sites?) who are in communication with each other, cross-post to each others' sites, and support each other. Like, duh. That's what people do - protect members of the tribe.

I've always made it clear that I don't care for the tone and tactics of the Kossack Krew, and I think they claim credit for political and electoral outcomes more than they should. I have no interst in being part of the tribe. Even so, they have a vital role to play in the political ecosystem because they inspire more and better arguments, thinking and actions.

The TNR crew and their suck-up buddies in the MSM are also a tribe. More to the point, their attack of Kos and the liberal blogosphere is a threat to freedom of speech and opinion in the country. What they are doing right now is equivalent to the Swiftboat tactics against Kerry. Whatever Kos' faults, whatever Kos wishes he could be, there is no excuse for the fabrications and tag-team assault on oppositional politics. What began as a stupid exchange of bitchiness has become a view on the power elite's determination to destroy the validity of the left blogosphere as such.

Do you think Kos is the real target here? No. They know he's a flash in the pan and can be taunted into self-immolation. The objective here is to discredit the substantive sites and operations - Media Matters, TAP, TPM, Washington Monthly - in short, the independent organizations offering direct challenge to the major newspapers and dominant political magazines. TNR could not give a rat's ass less what peons like me think. I don't got money or access, I'm not a candidate for anything, and my regular reading audience is about 6 people, half of whom aren't even residents of North America. They care what the policy elites and big donors think, what the politicians and local party bosses are saying, and what people who are read by the entire body of Congress can persuasively argue. To the degree that Kos is targeted, it is to ruin interest in dKos, where increasing numbers of traditional political actors are appearing, giving it legitimacy.

Again, it's not Kos himself. He's just the wedge they are using to splinter an emerging Democratic coalition that is shaking off the last of the Cold War alignments and understanding how to combine passion and policy.

Kos is guilty, at worst, of poor political judgment. TNR & Co. is guilty of an assault on democracy itself.


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