Monday, June 19, 2006

Kos pay-for-play scam

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Others are finally figuring out the pay-for-play scam that Kos has been running. I figured this out in the wee hours a week ago, after learning that Markos had been a paid consultant to the Dean Machine. In an instant, I realized that Kos is the King Pimp Scammer:
So that's why the Kossacks encouraged liberals to waste their time and money on a hopeless candidacy that (a) repeatedly embarrassed the Democratic Party, (b) crashed and burned in Iowa, (c) thus helped re-elect Bush, and (d) has now taken over the DNC and wasted tens of millions of dollars for nothing.
The jig is now nearly up, however. Dan Riehl:
Lamont just put another $500k into his campaign, I believe. And if I'm reading it right, he's raised almost a quarter million through on line donations via ActBlue - which is run by the MyDD folks. I wonder if he's using any consultants?
Instapundit:
[I]t's obvious that some blog readers are, well, not that bright and will do what they're told without even following a link. ("Poor, uneducated, and easily led?") But I think those are the exception, not the rule.

Still, for my bottom-line take, a suggestion that political consultants have a history of talking things up for personal gain seems less-than-earthshaking to me. Am I wrong here?

Not to argue with the Great One but ... you're missing the point, Dr. Reynolds. Do the Kos Kool-Aid Kidz realize what it means that (a) Kos and MyDD are paid professional consultants, and (b) there might be an agent-client relationship between the uber-bloggers of the Left and the candidates they are promoting? Certainly this was not obvious to me until last week.

A former Kossack -- who caught Kos and MyDD in the act of coordinating their Ohio Senate primary allegiances -- knows the score:
It became obvious to me some time ago ... that it was a scam, perpetrated on people desperate for change and leadership. Instead the stewards, kos and Armstrong sold them out -- and continue to do so.
And here are further details on how the Kos/MyDD Axis operates.

Kos, MyDD and some others have set themselves up as middlemen between campaigns and the Moonbat-o-sphere. The Kossacks are getting scammed, and last week I told them so:
You are the cattle, Kos is the rancher, and the Democratic Party is some fat guy standing in line waiting on his double cheeseburger, OK? You and your liberal dreams have been commodified, and you don't even know it.
I am not sure that any laws have been broken, but the Democratic Party and its most loyal supporters have been screwed raw. Why? Because these Internet blogger/consultants were originally hired for their knowledge of computers, not for their knowledge of politics.

This is a big reason why the Moonbats are 0-for-eternity: You've got a handful of left-wing geeks-gone-pro leading a mob of left-wing wannabes who are influencing every aspect of the Democratic Party's operation, from candidate selection to fundraising to message to policy. It's as if a business had put its IT staff in charge of production and marketing.

The New Republic's Jason Zengerle is very cautious about these "rumblings," and Chris Suellentrop is similarly just-the-facts-ma'am, but it's as plain as day what has been going on. Once the Kos/MyDD team had established themselves as left-wing kings of the blogosophere, with more traffic than God, they figured out they could sell that traffic to aspiring candidates. They're brokers between the candidates and the "base" as I explained:
Kos is a paid political consultant. He is getting paid good money to promote these loser candidates. He's come up with the ultimate scam, because the middle-aged dimwit campaign bosses and elderly liberal contributors don't know anything about "this whole cyber-doohickey" and Kos has convinced them that it's a one-way ticket to Winner City.
This explains the extreme sensitivity about his reputation: Kos's scam depends on (a) left-wingers trusting him as an honest advocate for liberal causes and candidates, and (b) campaigns trusting him as as a genius consultant who has discovered, in the form of Internet activism, the magic bullet that will defeat the GOP.

If, on the other hand, the "netroots" figure out that Kos is a hired gun, and Democratic candidates and campaign chiefs figure out that Kos is selling them a left-wing pipe dream ... good-bye, gravy train! So whenever he's challenged, he gets angry: You're threatening his livelihood.

The Internet Age has spawned all sorts of crackpot schemes and schemers, and ever since LoseOn.org came on the scene, Democrats have been chasing a will-o'-the-wisp, certain that cyberspace -- which Al Gore invented, you know -- was going to solve all their problems. With their liberal billionaire donors and the endless supply of union money, the consultants jumped in hip-deep after McCain-Feingold shut down the Dems' soft-money operation.

After the 2004 debacle, Tom Buffenbarger of the Machinists union became suspicious that there was a scam afoot:
Their lock-step troika of 527’s spent over $260 million in up to 20 states only to lose 16 of their targeted states. ...
Hells bells, the IAM knew Ohio was lost the moment the Kerry campaign decided our convention would be an “off the record” event for its vice-presidential candidate. ...
We knew that the Democrats and their 527’s were wasting millions of dollars trying to persuade the undecided voters in the smallest states of the union.
The Democratic Party is now just a great big pile of money donated by people who don't seem to mind spending millions for defeat after defeat after defeat. It's attracting scammer consultants the way road kill attracts buzzards.

Some folks may be starting to wise up -- but it may be too late. One more big loss for Democrats in November, and the recriminations will be so ugly and bitter, it could split the party. If not, the battle between Hillary and the "Anybody But Hillary" Democratic presidential candidate in 2008 might do the trick. And another loss in 2008? That would make five in a row (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008), a record of futility that not even the most devout liberal could tolerate.

Buckle up, folks: It's going to be a wild ride.

Also blogging: Politburo Diktat.

Flopping Aces notes that Kos is a bit quick to sling around the term "mercenaries." Especially when his partner Jerome was a shady stock shill during the late '90s Dot-Com Bubble.

* BONUS 3 a.m. UPDATE *

Inflated Traffic? It may be impossible to audit the Internet, but I am profoundly suspicious of the claim -- reiterated in this Matthew Continetti article for Weekly Standard -- that DailyKos gets anywhere from 600,000 to 1.6 million "unique visitors" daily.

Here is the Site Meter for Michelle Malkin -- author, syndicated columnist, Fox News star. If Malkin, one of the mightiest conservatives in the blogosphere, generates only about 124,000 visitors a day -- and these are just visitors, not "unique visitors" -- do we really believe that DailyKos gets 10 times that traffic? Hmmm?

I could possibly believe a million visits -- the obsessive-compulsive semi-employed Kossack checking back 20 times a day to see who has commented on her latest "diary" entry -- but 1.6 million "unique visits"? Nah. That's just far-fetched.

Maybe in the heat of late October 2004, DailyKos was bringing in some heavy traffic, but certainly the site doesn't run an average of 1.6 million unique visits daily. I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

* UPDATE 2 P.M. 6/19 *

Dan Riehl labels it the "Kosiburton" scandal.

Discussion at Lucianne.com.

Don Surber adds more and says:
Credibility is something earned. If bloggers think they are going to replace MSM, they need to establish themselves. Jerome Armstrong joins Jeff Gannon, Ben Domenech and Jason Leopold as Bad Examples. That Armstrong carries some sway with the DNC chairman is a serious problem for Democrats.
Instapundit links us both and says:
I'm sticking by my guns, though. And I really don't think it's fair to put Jerome Armstrong in the same category as Jason Leopold, Jeff Gannon, or Ben Domenech, as Surber does.
I think this is a misunderstanding. Jerome and Markos are not journalists, they're political consultants. The problem is, this distinction is probably lost on blog consumers. That is to say, the typical Kossack -- a liberal true believer -- most likely thinks of DailyKos and MyDD as honest, open forums for discussion among the faithful.

The authenticity of the forums would be underminded if it were acknowledged that these sites also function as marketing pools for the proprietors, who are selling the accumulated traffic to their candidate-clients. It is one thing for a blogger to sell ads, and it is another thing for the blogger to say, "Hey, patronize my advertisers." But if the DailyKos/MyDD axis is shilling for candidates with whom they have undisclosed consultancy contracts, then the visitors to their blogs are getting scammed.

The question for the Kossacks thus becomes: "Is Kos pushing Candidate X because he really believes that this candidate has good ideas and can win in November? Or has Candidate X retained Kos as a consultant, or contracted for Kos to receive a commission on every contribution generated from DailyKos?"

Caveat emptor!

There is no such thing as "ethics" among campaign consultants. It is a dirty profession that favors cutthroats like the late Lee Atwater and attack dogs like James Carville. Remember that Ralph Reed, famous as former director of the Christian Coalition, acquired a $4.5 million fortune as a campaign consultant, and collected huge fees working for Jack Abramoff's casino clients.

So long as the Kossacks understand that they are fawning at the feet of a campaign consultant, then the transaction is at least honest -- though still degrading.

My own blogging motives are the simple honesty of pure capitalism:
Like the blog? Buy the book!

* UPDATE 4 P.M. 6/19 *
The liberal American Prospect reveals that many of the supposed "netroots" activist are actually D.C.-based Democratic Party hacks:
Post-keynote, Warner met with a handful of carefully selected bloggers in an upstairs Riviera Hotel & Casino skybox. It was a surprisingly D.C.-centric crowd, featuring netroots regulars like former lobbyist and Clark volunteer coordinator Howard Park; Democrats.com owner Bob Fertik, a Yale-educated proponent of impeaching Bush; labor lawyer Nathan Newman, also Yale educated, now a policy director at a legislative advocacy group and a TPMCafe regular; and Adam Bonin, the round-faced Philadelphia attorney who represented DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas Zúniga and others before the Federal Election Commission earlier this year as bloggers defended themselves against possible regulation.

Even the outside-the-Beltway bloggers who made the cut for the exclusive sit-down were part of the more establishment crowd. Joan McCarter, 42, a.k.a. front-page writer McJoan on DailyKos, used to be a legislative aide to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, and her father chaired the Idaho Democratic Party during the Frank Church era. ...

Ah, yes, those angry outsiders who are "Crashing the Gates" turn out to be ... Yalies, lobbyists, union lawyers and heiresses of party power brokers, hanging out with pols in a Vegas skybox. This is the "people power" revolution!
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Hang Right Politics points us toward a TNR report (subscribers only) about another "netroots" hero:
A favorite blogger and foreign policy wonk, Armando earned the privilege of posting on the front page of Daily Kos. But, before the festivities began in Las Vegas, National Review Online revealed this hero of the liberal blogosphere to be Armando Lloréns-Sar, a corporate lawyer in Puerto Rico who has represented Wal-Mart and Clorox. ... [H]is unmasking sent shockwaves through the Daily Kos community and led Lloréns-Sar to quit the site – and, according to bloggers here, cancel his appearance at the convention. ...
LOL! A Wal-Mart lawyer!
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Pajamas Media has jumped in with a round-up:
Is a wheel coming off Markos Moulitsas “Screw Them”(**) Zuniga’s increasingly well-oiled PolitiBlog machine?

It could happen after allegations surfaced over the weekend concerning the association of Kos and his partner/co-author Jerome Armstrong with the Warner Campaign.

Decision '08 sez:
Credibility is getting harder and harder to come by in the progressive world - Markos was paid for shilling for Dean; Armstrong, who has a past as a scam artist, now works for Warner; Atrios is bought and paid for by George Soros. It’s a brave new world, all right, this Nutroots® thing - but it smells an awful lot like good old-fashioned payola.
Y'know what's funny? The Left always claims to be more sophisticated, more "nuanced" than the rest of us. They see the hidden truth about 9/11, Iraq, Plame, etc. And then they get bamboozled by a bunch of paid hacks.

Comment of the Day
by Brothers Judd:
We can also reveal, in a Brothers Judd exclusive, that Daily Kos invested tens of millions of dollars in aluminum futures just before their recent Reynolds-wrapped Konklave.
And even the Kossacks are kommenting! Here's FlaDem:
I work in the financial markets -- and I have nothing but contempt for people who did what [Jerome Armstrong] is alleged to have done.
-- McCAIN

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