DailyKos: Dooming Democrats in '06
Three recent (and perhaps related) phenomena:
A. Leading liberal bloggers have come under sustained media scrutiny.
B. Spurred on by these bloggers -- who backed Vermont's Howard Dean for president and then for DNC chief -- congressional Democrats have spent three weeks attacking the Bush over the war in Iraq and related issues.
C. Poll numbers collapse for Democrats.
Despite recent controversy, famous left-wing blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga may be guilty of nothing immoral, unethical or illegal. Yet as the orchestrator of the Democrats' "people-powered movement," Moulitsas has shown a long and consistent history of political misjudgment. This is from an e-mail I sent recently to a liberal Democrat who has at times been involved at the DailyKos blog:
In 2004, I remember reading claims by Kos and others that Oklahoma was "competitive" and thinking, "HUH?"Jerome Armstrong has recently promoted this approach as his "mapchanger" strategy. But the GOP (which has been winning elections lately, you may have noticed) doesn't pour resources down ratholes in the way that the Armstrong-Moulitsas strategy might suggest. Yes, there will be a GOP candidate on the ballot in Cynthia McKinney's district and in Nancy Pelosi's district, etc. But husbanding one's resources and directing those resources to where they are most likely to yield dividends is just common sense. You pick your battles.
Here's Kos in July 2004. Here's one DailyKos diarist in October 2004. Here are Kos' final 2004 Senate picks, calling both Alaska and Oklahoma as "Dem pickup."
In the end, after collecting $6.3 million, Brad Carson lost by 12 percentage points.
Alaska was admittedly closer. Still, the Knowles campaign sucked up $5.8 million in Democrat contributions,and got only 46% of the vote.
Between them, you see, Carson and Knowles sucked up $12 million in Democratic donations for campaigns that were always long shots, and probably never really likely pickups for the Democrats. This is a poor allocation of scarce resources.
If Markos and Jerome are guilty of nothing else, they can be fairly accused of encouraging liberals to throw their money away on unwinnable races, and thereby directing Democrat contributions away from the contests where they might be most needed. What might have been done, for example, with a couple million dollars more of TV ads for Kerry in Ohio?
So far as I can discover, Armstrong and Moulitsas showed no real interest in politics prior to 2001, but now proclaim that they have breakthrough insights that will lead to Democratic victory. Does this seem likely? I think not.
I would say about the "Crashing the Gates" co-authors the same thing I said months ago in discussing MoveOn.org:
All they do is take money from liberals and waste it on hopeless left-wing causes -- it's like a tax on stupidity.Why? Why the political tone-deafness? Look at Markos' biography: Chicago, El Salvador, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco. Except for an Army stint at Ft. Sill, Okla., Markos has never lived in a Red State. Markos told the Berkeley Daily Planet that he was "miserable" when, fleeing the Salvadoran civil war, his parents moved him to "lily-white suburban Chicago."
After leaving the Army in 1992, he received three (?) bachelor's degrees and then a law degree from Boston University -- seven or eight years of college before moving to San Francisco in 2000. This is from a May 2006 profile in the Berkeley Daily Planet:
This is a bizarre attitude. Tuition at Boston University Law is over $30,000 a year. Moulitsas would have arrived on campus circa 1996-97, when the U.S. economy was about two years into a huge boom that lasted until the dot-com collapse of 2000. In such prosperous and promising times, at about age 25, Moulitsas turned down a reporter's job at the AP in order to fritter away $90,000 for a degree in a field where he had no avocational interest -- just to "kill three years"!
“I knew in law school that I never wanted to be a lawyer. It was a way to kill three years of my life,” he offered with a smile.
He could have become a reporter — there was a job offer from the Associated Press — and he did freelance for three years for the Chicago Tribune, “but I decided I didn’t want to live vicariously through other people’s lives.”
So he goes to San Francisco in 2000, and works for "a Latino-themed Internet portal" (?) -- far more satisfying and promising, we suppose, that a career in law or journalism. In 2001, he starts contributing to MyDD, then in 2002 starts DailyKos.
Markos now insists that, whatever he is, he is not a consultant. But what is he? He is not a journalist, not a lawyer and -- to repeat -- most definitely not a consultant. Based on the latest available information, Markos apparently spends a lot of his time chatting with Senate staffers and going psycho at the mere mention of the name "Lieberman."
So, add it up. A hater of white suburbanites, when given a choice, he lives in Boston or San Francisco. With no evident interest in any ordinary profession like journalism or law, at age 25, he considers graduate school a place to "kill three years" (at $30,000 a year), then drifts into Web development near the end of the dot-com boom, before joining forces with Jerome Armstrong who (allegedly) was touting worthless stock while (allegedly) running an astrology hustle on the side.
This, you see, is the progressive visionary who declares that he and Jerome are the pathfinders to the Democratic Party's promised land, who will help the Dems break through to reach those middle-class Red State voters -- suburban, exurban and rural -- who've turned increasingly Republican since 1980.
Excuse my profound skepticism.
If this alienated Blue State weirdo is the Democrats' best hope for 2006, they've got no hope at all.