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The Democratic Noise Machine
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, December 23, 2005

Washington Monthly has done a less than flattering feature on Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos...
[The] most salient thing about Moulitsas's politics is not where he falls on the left-right spectrum (he's actually not very far left). It's his relentless competitiveness, founded not on any particular set of political principles, but on an obsession with tactics —and in particular, with the tactics of a besieged minority, struggling for survival: stand up for your principles, stay united, and never back down from a fight. “They want to make me into the latest Jesse Jackson, but I'm not ideological at all,” Moulitsas told me, “I'm just all about winning.”
Kos has no principles and only cares about winning? That's quite a, ah, back-handed compliment.

In fact, a recurring subtext of the story is that Kos—and the machine he is building—may be the Democratic version of Karl Rove and the machine he has built for the Bush administration. Not a complex, and often flawed partisan gunslinger and his apparatchiks; no, the subtext seems to be that Democrats have become frustrated with what they perceive as a machiavellian, amoral and happily deceitful Republican political "noise machine". So they've decided to create their own machiavellian, amoral and happily deceiftful political "noise machine".

Worse, what they're aping is not the complex and often flawed Republican machine; what they intend to imitate is the caricatured, cartoonish Super Villian they've come to believe they're facing. They've focused on the worst aspects of Republican politics, they've internalized them....and they've decided to become what they used to hate.

If you wanted to see American politics to devolve further into the gutter, this is exactly how you'd do it.

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Other worthwhile points...

Kos fisks an article about himself—surely a rarity in the blogosphere worth noting!—and points out that it is filled with inaccuracies. (hint: journalists should probably be very rigorous about facts when writing about a group that tosses around the phrase "fact-check your ass")

Joseph Britt at Chequer Board:

Show/Hide

Gateway Pundit has an amusingly titled post:

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Kevin Drum:

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Most important, I think, is this post by Mark Coffey of the excellent Decision '08 blog:
And speaking of damned - we’ve saved the worst for last:

Show/Hide

Let’s summarize: when asked about his infamous “I feel nothing…Screw them” comment, regarding the bodies of Americans dragged through the streets of Fallujah, Markos smiled and said he feels vindicated.

Sometimes only the plain truth will do: Markos, you are indeed an a**hole, but son, it’s nothing to brag about. You had better hope the concept of karma is a myth…
James Joyner echoes my own thoughts on this...

Show/Hide

Sadly, as Joyner notes, Markos thinks the column "isn't a hit piece" and makes him "more impressive than I actually am."
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Kos has no principles and only cares about winning? That’s quite a, ah, back-handed compliment
Does make for a perfect Democrat, though, doesn’t it?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
no. it makes for a perfect american.

 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
Does make for a perfect Democrat, though, doesn’t it?
Or simply fit in among those who concern themselves with politics?

And as for an article that gets that much wrong. *shrug* Whatever.
 
Written By: Ozymandias
URL: http://
no. it makes for a perfect american.
What the F**K are you talking about? In my world, the perfect American cares about winning in a principled way. And most of he people I deal with follow those rules. So to throw the entire country under the bus with a statement like is... well I’m not sure what it is other than idiotic and pathetic.

Merry Christman A**hole.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
in your world, the perfect American cares about winning in a principled way. hey, i agree that the perfect American SHOULD care about winning in a principled way...but let’s face it, if America was at war, and we were faced with the scenario of either cheat to win, or play by the rules and lose, Americans would not argue against cheating. of course, we try to play by the rules AND win, but those two things are not causally connected. so in this case of two conflicting values (winning, being principled), I would argue that the perfect American values winning OVER being principled.

and finally, if my throwing "the entire country" under the bus with that statement" is idiotic and pathetic, then the generalized argument of throwing half the country (democrats) under the bus is just as idiotic and pathetic.

anyway, having never read Kos or Moulitsas, I have no context to form an opinion with the exception of the post’s quotes. but he sounds like a loose cannon of an egomaniac.



 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
Random data points, from a possibly biased perspective:

Let’s look at a few decades worth of presidential and vice-presidential candidates for each party.

Ronald Reagan spent half his life as an actor before getting involved in politics. Jack Kemp was a star pro quarterback before becoming a politician. George H.W. Bush was an oilman and part of the management of a baseball team. Cheney was CEO of a very large company. All Republicans.

Jimmy Carter farmed peanuts. Are any other Democratic candidates for major office notable for anything they’ve done outside politics?

My point is that, as best as I can tell, the leading lights of the Democratic Party, back all the way to LBJ and Kennedy, got into politics early, and that’s the only life they’ve ever known. Maybe they got into "public" service because they want to "change the world". But if you spend a lifetime in it, I think it becomes a game as much as anything else. And the objective of a game is to win.

Plus the consequences for losing are more severe when politics is your only career. If you make it high enough, you’ll never miss any meals, because there are enough places to suck at the public teat, including those theoretically in the private sector but that would not exist were it not for pervasive government (e.g. lobbyists). But when you’re in your early thirties, if you lose a political race, it has dramatic consequences for the rest of your professional life, and impact on your income. So you tend to take winning much more seriously.

People who come into politics from a successful career in some other sector usually do so because they have ideas they want to implement, changes they want to make. They change the terms of the debate. Remember Steve Forbes’ failed candidacy? We’re still talking about the flat tax and other tax alternatives, and he was a major spark for that debate.

Another data point. Do a web search on the phrase "conscious of a conservative". You’ll see many entries, most clustered around Barry Goldwater’s well known book and Zell Miller’s more recent tome. Now do a web search on the phrase "conscious of a liberal". You’ll get "There are no web results for this query." I’m just saying...

Final data point. It’s well known that election shenanigans in Illinois were a factor, perhaps the decisive factor, in putting Kennedy into office. Nixon could have thrown the country into chaos by challenging that result, but he didn’t. Then, in Florida in 2000, there was a very close election, but no credible accusations of Republican shenanigans (the controversy was centered in areas locally controlled by Democrats). Gore threw everything he had at the case, heedless of the consequences. Attempts to get military ballots thrown out, etc. The entire tone was "win at any cost". Of course, Bush’s team fought hard too, but since they had been declared the winners, they had every reason to.

Other incidents - the election for governor in Washington State demonstrated the seamier side of the Democratic Party there. In East St. Louis, they’re in the process of putting some Democratic operatives in jail for clearly illegal activities. There were those kids in Wisconsin that slashed tires and go caught, some of whom were children of Democratic officials. Bricks through the window of Republican headquarters in Knoxville.

I’ve never been registered as a Republican. While I vote for more Republicans than Democrats, I also vote third party, and in the last election I voted for the Democratic candidate for Congress and the Republican candidate for governor. I’ve never given money to a candidate nor worked on a campaign for either major party. I’m not a partisan.

But I can see a difference in attitude between the two parties. I see a Democratic Party in which there is much more of an emphasis on winning and wielding power. Certainly Republicans are not above that sort of thing - this incident is a good example of how rapacious Republicans can be about protecting their power. But whereas I see mixed behavior from Republicans, I can’t remember a time that Democrats put any priority above getting and maintaining their power.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Are any other Democratic candidates for major office notable for anything they’ve done outside politics?
No.
And that goes directly to my comment yesterday as regards the general voting patterns of career government types.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Billy~

Perhaps if you type "conscience liberal" into Google, you might get a better result. I’m just saying.

Since I’m from Washington, perhaps you’d like to elaborate on why our recent guberatorial election demonstrated the "seamier side" of the Democratic Party. If there was anything seamy about the election (which I don’t think there is), much of it had to do with Republican tactics following the final recount.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
"Ronald Reagan spent half his life as an actor before getting involved in politics. Jack Kemp was a star pro quarterback before becoming a politician. George H.W. Bush was an oilman and part of the management of a baseball team. Cheney was CEO of a very large company. All Republicans."

First of all, Cheney became CEO of Halliburton as a favor after giving them so many contracts while serving under every 4 Republican presidents, as US Representative and started his career after college as an aide in the Wisconsin Gov’s office. Ironically, Halliburton’s governmental dependency started under LBJ.

Nixon ran for office as soon as he left military service. Same goes for Ford.

George HW Bush never ran a baseball team. However he did start a very successful oil business soon before his father became a Senator from connecticut. He himself ran for office only a couple years after starting the oil business. His son, the current President, destroyed the Texas Rangers franchise after running an oil company into the ground.

It is true that LBJ, Clinton and Carter always wanted to be public servants. And this is true whether they were President or not. Their post-presidency legacy is proof of that. Heck, Carter has done more humanitarian work at his senior age in one year than most do in a lifetime.

But how about Bill Bradley, Basketball star? or Jon Corzine, CEO of Goldman Sachs?

In any case, it is difficult to find someone who can build a successful campaign unless they 1) already have a brand name, or 2) they have a lot of money or 3) are uniquely charismatic or 4) have built a following over many years. Obviously most politicians are in the last category because there can only be so many of the first three by definition.

I think your perspective is very biased regardless of your lack of a party affiliation.






 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
You’re right, Steven, I misspelled. So let’s try again.

"conscience of a conservative" - 3330 entries, Barry Goldwater predominates, plus Zell Miller’s book and various columns using the phrase

"conscience of a liberal" - 936 entries, most around Paul Wellstone’s book (who I would have to agree was definitely a liberal with a conscience)

Still an interesting difference. As I maintained in the first comment, it’s not that one side is completely clean and the other side is filthy dirty. But I do see patterns.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
But how about Bill Bradley, Basketball star? or Jon Corzine, CEO of Goldman Sachs?
How about Arnold? That’s why I stuck to the very highest echelon - those that made it to their party’s nomination for president or vice president.

And you are certainly correct that there are career Republican politicians. As I said, I’m just noting data points, plus my opinion that there’s a tendency of Democrats to be more concerned about winning and less about ideas compared to Republicans.

I note that one well known career Republican, Howard Baker, called for an end to careerism and a return to the role of citizen-legislator. Have any notable Democrats done that? Not that I’m aware. How many Democrats are in favor of term limits vs how many Republicans?

We’re definitely into gray areas here. But that doesn’t mean there are not different shades of gray.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I would say at this point at time that the number of Democratic and Republican politicians actually in favor of term limits is equal—zero on both sides. Here in WA, we had a Republican candidate for Congress, George Nethercutt, who ran against Tom Foley and won, primarily on the basis of agreeing to term limit himself. When his self-imposed term limit arrived, he decided that after his time in DC that he had been mistaken and that it was important for experienced politicians to continue in office. Thankfully, he later ran for Senate and was soundly defeated.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
If I recall correctly, there was a whole raft of Republicans who ran on the idea of term limits back in ’94. Many of them proceeded to forget their previous interest in term limits when it was their term that might have been limited.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

We’re definitely into gray areas here. But that doesn’t mean there are not different shades of gray.
Concept:

Shades of grey are made up of many black and white spots; some quite small, and the patterns quite complex, but spots they are. If you see grey, you’re not close enough to the subject.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
In any event, let’s not give Kos all this credit.
He’s more a symptom than a cause... a symptom of the desperation of the left to regain power.

The degree that the guy’s been a blogging site success (At least in terms of hitrates) is mere reflection of the desperation amonst the far leftist Democrats who he prepares his pablum for.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
So, it was Wolfie who ate the cookies?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I think it was Book Adams who ate the cookies and drank the milk. Unfortunately, I think the kids put out some of the "special" cookies by mistake.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Oh, we already know.
He was, laughably, the best the Democrats had to offer.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I just love conspiracy theorists. Almost as much as casinos love system players.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
Book, I thought you were simply confused. You had put on a pretty convincing act up to now.

But now you’ve given yourself away. You’re just a garden-variety troll. You don’t any more believe in the conspiracies concerning the Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission than you believe in the Easter Bunny.

You’ll excuse us if we cease taking you seriously, since it’s clear you’re just trolling.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Billy, I stopped taking him seriously the minute he said mkultra was living in the real world.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
Well, before you get to that stage, would it not be wise to post instructions as regards how one should wear their tin foil Headgear?

(Honey! Quick!!... buy up all the Alcoa you can!)

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Bit, it’s too late for subterfuge. He’s onto us. Increase the surveillance. We may need to devote one spy satellite just to monitor him. And step up the mind-control rays to his entire neighborhood. Even if he has properly constructed his Headgear, we should make sure his neighbors are on our side.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Internet trolls

"Inflammatory, sarcastic, disruptive or humorous content is posted, meant to draw other users into engaging the troll in a fruitless confrontation."
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
It’s all a vast right wing conspiracy, you know.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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