The Kos war

Jim Wolcott (fellow Hillary voter) dissects the feud — schism, actually — at Daily Kos and within the Democratic Party. Note well that the nasties in this story are the followers of Mr. Getalong.

The rancor was disproportionate in intensity and extravagant in invective, a fervor worthy of ancestral foes. Months-old grievances seethed and erupted as if they had been bubbling for centuries in a lake of bad blood. . . .

What chafed Hillary supporters was how many supposed liberal outposts chimed in with this chorus of abuse, from the op-ed pages of The New York Times (where only Paul Krugman seemed to have a kind word as Maureen Dowd kept reminding readers of Monica Lewinsky’s lipstick traces on the Clinton saga, and Gail Collins seemed to be putting on some sort of puppet show) to the studios of Air America (where hosts Randi Rhodes–who was suspended, then resigned, after calling Clinton a “whore” at a public appearance–and Thom Hartmann kept the hostility percolating), to progressive Internet mother ships such as Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo and the Huffington Post, where even a notable progressive such as Barbara Ehrenreich tried to tar Hillary with fascist associations. (The majority of Huffpo’s high-profile contributors were so over the rainbow about Obama that it was as if they had found rapture in the poppy fields and were rolling around on their backs like ladybugs.)

And quoting Kos himself over the departure/boycott of Hillary voters from his shrine:

“Clinton and her shrinking band of paranoid holdouts wail and scream about all those evil people who have ‘turned’ on Clinton and are no longer ‘honest power brokers’ or ‘respectable voices’ or whatnot, wearing blinders to reality, talking about silly little ‘strikes’ when in reality, Clinton is planning a far more drastic, destructive and debilitating civil war.”

Obama may paint himself as Mr. Nice Guy but he certainly has a nasty bunch of friends.

  • Mike

    This is dumb. The narrative for the last month is Obama’s failure to close Clinton out. Nothing substantive has been added to the debate for two months-it is now just tipping in Clinton’s favor.

    Media narrative:
    March: Should HRC drop out?
    April: Why can’t Obama close the deal?

    Neither one is fair. The debate between each camp and its followers is predictable given the super delegate situation.

    Everyone will be friends again in three months when the prospect of a McCain presidency smacks us in the face.

  • Mike,
    But I think Wolcott is wondering whether it will be hugs (with a quarter of clinton supporters saying they won’t vote for obama and with this rancor in the ranks).

  • PXLated

    Democrats – Sure fun people to watch. – Better than the zoo.

  • Hillary is still nastier, Jeff, and you know it. So far this campaign she’s tried to cause a racial rift between blacks and Latinos; she took video from a debate and darkened Obama’s skin and widened his facial features to make him look “more black” and menacing; she said one thing about trade and then her top advisor went and worked on the opposite deal with Colombia (totally hypocritical). I mean, come on! That’s the kind of politics that millions of people (myself included) are absolutely sick of. But you seem to revel in it as if it’s “the sport of politics” or some such nonsense. I’ll tell you what it is: It’s “politics as usual” for Clinton, and it’s old and tired and worn-out and bad for this country. Full stop.

  • There is a long tradition of the left engaging in infighting which is more vicious then what they address to their opponents on the right. A couple of Democratic conventions of the (not so recent anymore) past were prime examples.

    I chalk the foolishness this time to inexperience. I guy like Markos couldn’t even spell “Democrat” ten years ago and now he “are one”.

    It seems natural that after so many years of unsavory politicians there would a hunger for a person who appealed to idealism. For this to be truly satisfying the idol’s good qualities need to be emphasized and the undesirable ones ignored. Anyone who points out weaknesses then becomes a target to be discredited.

    Certainly the way the Wright affair has played out is a good example. Obama supporters see a total justification in his reversal on Wright and misread Wright’s positions on subjects that he has been addressing for decades. Wright hasn’t changed what he has been saying for his entire career, but now that it may negatively impact Obama’s chances he has to be demonized.

    The closest analogy I can find to the crowd at dailykos is the way European soccer fans behave when it comes to supporting their favorite team – an unruly mob.

    This is unfortunate since the goal has shifted from getting Democrats elected to getting specific Democrats elected. Even MoveOn has fallen into this trap, having come out for Obama and thus squandered resources in the primary which could have been used to better effect later in the general election.

    Perhaps the media isn’t so far off the mark when they treat all politics as a horse race, the Kossacks seem to embrace this framing.

  • chico haas

    Mr. Feinman: nothing but net.

  • Mike, I think it’s gonna take a lot longer than 3 months to fix this one, thanks to people like Markos. Markos could have become the most influential person in the party; a king maker. Instead he has become insignificant, small and petty. Which is why Obama feels the need now to distance himself from the netroots.

  • Tyrone Gates

    It’s been really crazy over at Kos. And as a progressive I’m getting worried that this may shatter the coalition we need to win in the fall. Some people working on the campaigns are talking about the Denver Plan which is supposed to heal everything and reunite the party. Its probably just a rumor but we can hope. Otherwise we are selfdestructing as a party and you republicans just may pull this off.

  • Mike

    # Jeff Jarvis Says:
    April 30th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    But I think Wolcott is wondering whether it will be hugs (with a quarter of clinton supporters saying they won’t vote for obama and with this rancor in the ranks).

    And are you one of them?

    I can understand your anger over Rev. Wright in the ‘market place of ideas’ sense. But when it comes down to democrat v. republican, is the Rev. Wright issue a deal breaker for you in the general election?

    To me Obama explained himself. Wright’s ideas of charity and passion were essential and effective in the black communities he ministered in-yet his insidious version of overall race relations was counter productive in the larger sense.

    Condemning the message and not the man turned out to be a mistake-Obama saying maybe he didn’t know Wright as well as he thought he did is either bs or a critical lack of judgment and foresight on Obama’s part.

    I can’t tell anyone else where to place this on their level of significance meter. But I accept what happened and it doesn’t change my opinion of his policy proposals and philosophies. I still support Obama.

    Let me put it this way (this is a stretch, just go with it) : both democrats are against reforming and/or doing away with the cross-media ownership policy. Given your passion, and role, and opinions on new media-shouldn’t this be a deal breaker for you?

    But I am guessing it is not, because you trust their opinions on other issues and accept and understand that their are other factors in play. You put this issue in perspective.

    As for Kos, I don’t read it regularly, if at all. I suppose he has influence over the opinion leaders in news. Maybe that is the problem here, some people totally immersed in this stuff, with others relying on traditional media.

  • a nasty bunch of friends ?

    With friends like Lanny Davis, Sid Blumenthal & Mark Penn, I’d suspect that the Clinton campaign is in one helluva glass house.

    And Bill C – the uber friend – walks around this glass house w/o a stetch of clothing.

    C’mon Jeff – it’s one thing to wade into media analysis, where you have loads of cred. It’s another thing to advocate for your candidate, in the guise of analysis.

    But analysis posing as psycho-babble- I thought that was a Dick Morris or Gail Sheehy kind of thing.

    And one last comment – can you make up your mind if it is good to be tough & assertive in politics or if it is bad ? One week, Obama is too soft – now his friends are too tough.

    No worries tho – when he is declared the nominee, there is room a plenty on the boat. It’s a big boat – 2 million donors, millions of new voters and people just like you, me & even the toughies at Kos (or MyDD).

  • I abandoned KOS after I innocently posted something about Hillary. It wasn’t a bash at Obama. In fact, it didn’t mention him at all. I was niave. The KOS-Obamabots attacked in a way I had never seen before. Within 30 minutes, there were 150+ comments, virtually all attacks on me for having the audacity to like Hillary in their presence.

    I thought we were all on the same side?

    Needless to say, I deleted my words, took my toys and went home to my regular blog.

    I have never been so disappointed in our community as I was on that day. Like I said, I thought we were all on the same side, and somewhere in my travels that has changed.


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  • DoP, you must have missed them sharpening their teeth against Lieberman. All on the same side? They pushed the previous D VP candidate flat out of the party!

    Resulting in a net loss of power in the US Senate and in an important moderate state.

    I’ve never seen anything so stupid. But once the blood was in the water they could not help themselves. And DoP, after the water cleared they did not stop smelling for blood.

  • Pug

    With friends like Lanny Davis, Sid Blumenthal & Mark Penn, I’d suspect that the Clinton campaign is in one helluva glass house.

    You forgot the king of the Clinton sleazeball spinners, Old Lizard Head himself, James Carville. These guys get more face time on TV and in the national spotlight than Kos could ever hope for. Carville regularly gets the full hour on Meet the Press.

    If the so-called “Obamabots” are so cruel and so mean, why did the exit polls in Pennsylvania show that two-thirds of voters there, in a state Hillary won handily, say Clinton attacked her opponent unfairly? Obama’s number was somewhere around 50%.

    Clinton has run the knee-capping, kitchen sink campaign, not Obama. She’s old-school mud wresting politicis personified and her current strategy is to convince the nation, and especially the super delegates, that he is unelectable. She’s hardly been a sweetheat.

    Wolcott didn’t address the most serious result of all this for Democrats. That is that they are again going to lose a presidential election because the party is split down the middle and it will be because of the hard feelings on both sides, not just the “Obamabots”. More Clinton voters tell pollsters they will not vote for Obama than vice versa.

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  • pdh

    In a few months, when we are all saluting a white-haired old white man with “Good morning, Mr. President,” then the Democratic hand-wringing will begin. It is almost frightening that only a short time ago a candidate with so much going against him (inside and out of the GOP) that his campaign was considered virtually dead now appears to be the leader in the race for our highest office. More frightening, I heard McCain speaking on NPR a few days back and he sounded like the voice of reason. Who holds that role for the Dems at the moment?

    There are some who claim all of this infighting will only make the party stronger. Guess we will have to wait and see. To me it sounds like trying to make a silk purse from a sows ear after you have torn the pig to pieces then trampled it in the mud.

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