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This is more or less an open letter to Markos - and to fellow readers/posters/trusted users at Daily Kos.

Because I know (from avidly reading his comments on presidential politics and Iraq for quite a while) that Kos is a truly astute political thinker and communicator, the blind spots are that much more visible and distressing.

Ever since Iowa, and then NH, I've been waiting for a substantial posting by Kos that addresses any of these four issues: the miscalculations on this website, the emergent political strength of Kerry, the collapse of Dean's movement, and the reality and details of our new political landscape.

Instead, there's been a silence on these issues - or, even worse, little tiny snippets that address or try to contain these issues, often in misleading ways.

Meanwhile, the parallel universe on Daily Kos -- the mini-blogs within DKos that form a rolling, ever changing sequence of diaries and comments - bear witness to a truly disintegrated political discourse.

Here's my feeling: if there was a crisis in Dean's campaign, this last month was also a crisis (obviously less important, less dramatic) at, and for, Daily Kos. A crisis, or at least a challenge. And the website hasn't really met this challenge. Instead, Markos has put forth some pretty weak talking points:

1. Accepting Dean's "strategy" of ignoring the Feb 3 primaries. It's as though Dean were deliberately trying to lose states as part of some more compelling master plan - rather than the much more likely scenario, which is that his campaign totally flipped upside down and is unravelling. Thus, Kos's most substantial recent statement reads:

So where do we stand? Kerry is running ads in all the Feb 3 states. He's trying to do what Dean did in Iowa -- empty the bank to deliver the knockout blow. Kerry seems to be making the same gamble, that he can end everything next week. But all Edwards needs to stay in it is a SC victory, and he seems sure to grab it. Clark needs that Oklahoma victory, which he'll get. So he won't go anywhere.

And Dean is marshalling his resources for the Feb 7 and 8 caucuses. And given the Feb 3 spending of the other guys, Dean may very well have the upper hand in those contests. Victories here and there the rest of the month could keep each of the candidates well in the running, with no one near the necessary delegates for victory.

Hard for me not to read this as simply shaping the data in order to give the best possible reading of Dean's chances.

2. Bash Kerry. This point has been powerfully taken up in a posting by Kid Oakland which discusses a moment in Markos's posting that stoops to a real Drudge-like register of smear and innuendo.

Again, this unproven allegation against Kerry wouldn't be so bad if there was any MORE substantial analysis of Kerry that has been offered on the main site. But, in truth, very little of substance has been written on the main web posting on any of these four issues - Dean's collapse, Kerry's strengths, the effects of Dean's collapse on the political landscape, or the significance of our own errors, as a community, on Daily Kos. In fact, in the face of what's happened much of the discourse on Daily Kos, pre-Iowa, now looks a lot more like an echo-chamber than a place of meaningful discussion (only Dean and Clark could possibly win; the question of Dean's "electability" is a forbidden canard, etc.).

But Daily Kos is an amazing, and new, form of political community - with great potential but also potentially serious problems. Here are two meta-issues that I would like to see more visibly registered on both the "central" blogs and the "side" blogs:

1. History can disappear too quickly on this kind of webblog. "Those that forget are doomed to repeat" and the very stream of comments has made it too easy for Markos, and the rest of us, not to address (in any detail) the past mistakes and errors that informed the hidden boundaries of discourse on DKos.

2. Those hidden boundaries. It's of course the case that diarists are free to post whatever they like on the side. There IS no explicit party line on DKos. But, at the same time, I think it's clearly the case that implicit lines and boundaries of discourse did emerge pre-Iowa, and that these lines were nurtured by Kos's own postings. I'm not saying this is unfair or anything, but it's damn interesting and I'd like to see more scrutiny about how this process works - how decentered is DKos? What were, what now are, and what should be (in the face of Kerry's rise and Dean's collapse) our shared, and often implicit, party lines? How do these get formulated? At the end of the day, was DKos operating, essentially, as a kind of parallel Blog for America? If so, what now?

3. ABK - I'm distressed to see how much this has become a major theme of Daily Kos. I'd like a much more forceful grappling with this on the "center" diaries. Because I think the ABK sentiment has been fueled by the very expectations and confidence that DKOS helped nurture pre-Iowa and pre-NH, rather than simply reflecting the natural political instincts of a segment of the left. In other words, I think the discussions of ABK that we're seeing on Daily Kos isn't something that just exists "out there," but that has been generated, in large part, "in here" - in the very dynamics of how political analysis and expectation has unfolded at this website for a long time.

Originally posted to awol on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 02:58 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Comments, ratings, brickbats (3.62)
    welcome. thanks -- awol
  •  Get over it. (2.50)
    Kos doesn't control diaries. Oddly enough, a campaign with 600,000+ online activists appears to have a disproportionately large number of supporters online here at dKos.

    If you want more positive Kerry posts, write them.

    As far as Kos's editorial content, it is his site, after all.

    I really don't understand this. I didn't understand it when Dean supporters were whining about the number of attacks on Dean in the diaries, either. (I'm a Dean supporter.)

    That all of us haven't reached the same conclusions that you have about the relative strengths and weaknesses of Kerry and Dean as candidates, as well as their respective campaigns, shouldn't surprise you. Why should we buy what you're selling? For that matter, why should Kos bother with it at all?

    •  shutting down discourse (4.00)
      Bill -- You've got to see how the rhetoric in your comment is really agressive and sarcastic --I need to "get over it", I'm "whining", etc.

      It seems strange to me that there is such deference to Kos's words on this site. I've probably read a version of your comment -- "As far as Kos's editorial content, it is his site, after all" a hundred times over the months.

      It's a piece of CW here at Daily Kos.

      But what does it really mean? That we shouldn't make comments about Kos's editorial content because it's his site? That it's not worth pointing out inconsistencies or patterns that might emerge in this editorial content over a given period of time? That these words are sancrosanct or shouldn't be subject to critique?
      I think such an attitude goes against everything that DKos stands for. I've never seen Kos suggest that "it's my site" so others shouldn't commment on his words.

      On the other hand, this piece of CW (it's his site, get over it) is precisely the kind of thing that plays into what I was discussing -- how implicit lines of discourse are formulated, that then flow from the center blogs to the side blogs.
    •  For a number of reasons, Bill... (3.80)
      #1:  Because to accuse John Kerry of active anti-Semitism is a big deal.

      I went back and read the entire "Who is Robo-Calling" Dean thread and was stunned at the fact that no one really mentioned that...

      if what Kos was implying was true, it would mean the end of John Kerry's career in the Senate.  A censure Kerry movement would  be the only response to that level of conduct.

      However, when the GQ ariticle was published, it contained no reference to the anti-Semitic allegation that Kos put on the front page here.

      Kos is not immune to making mistakes...not immune to errors of judgement...

      yes, it is his blog, but if he is going to post stories that appear journalistic and not follow ethical journalistic principles...he deserves to be questioned on it.

      Big accusations demand big evidence.

      #2:  The very "online" strength of Dean's movement means that someone should try to reconcile pre-IA and NH with what's happened in it's aftermath.

      Awol is calling for the "front of the blog" commentators to give us some analysis here.
      I find his points cogent.

      I've said elsewhere...

      what you are left at the end of the day, after you've lost...teaches enormous lessons.

      We are only beginning to do that here...

      #3:  Bill, I can say this now that I am less of a puppy here:

      you shoot folks down too much.  You rated this diary a "2"??  

      You responded to a forthright and courageous post with:

      Why should we buy what you're selling? For that matter, why should Kos bother with it at all?

      Man, your negativity is off-putting...

      I hope it's not infectious.

      2004's the election, 2005's the prize...let'sTCB!

      by kid oakland on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:33:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What went wrong. (3.50)
    What went wrong is that George Bush became president in 2001 despite not being elected.

    Today, for the opposition, most everything is going right, in terms of changing the regimes. My sense is that there are some who feel that DKos is a Deaniac site. My sense is also that Markos doesn't feel that way; that this is a pro-Democratic, pro-regime change site.

    What is also going right is that the opposition forces are marshalled for a strong battle in November. Today, George Bush trails 2 of the major Democratic candidates in a number of polls, Kerry by 7-8 points, Edwards by 1.

    Sadly, there are a few Deaniacs out there who feel that their candidate is bigger than the movement to remove Bush as a whole. They are loud here on the board, but having been to a number of Meetups for Dean here in the home town of Dean himself (one of which Dean attended), I know that the vast majority of Dean's supporters are ready to join forces with the winning candidate and move on to November.

    Get today's bad news for Bush at

    by VermontProg on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:10:15 PM PST

    •  Forces (none)
      I've never thought of Kos as a "Deaniac" blog at all.  (In fact, I never was real comfortable with the pro-Dean atmosphere at the top, but that is not any reflection on anyone.)

      I've said this earlier and I'll say it again.  The Dem nominee has my vote.  He will not have my silence.  I have no more silence left to give to the Democratic Party.  I gave it all away to them over the past three years (and more).  Silence is not an infinitely renewable resource.  And the Democrats in charge have squandered it.

      As for joining forces -- in order to join forces, you have to have a nominee that actually has some force to join with; but that possibly not being the case, I suppose I will have to join forces with the nominee's supporters.  :-)

    •  Skewing a Tangent on Your Final Point (Rant) (none)
      Your note about the vast majority of Dean's supporters does hold substance, but I've found that the most active are likely to transfer their own energies to undercard candidates if Kerry becomes the party's candidate.  These guys are the nuts and bolts of the grassroots Dean movement, and while their vote is transferrable, their money, time and energy are not.  

      We all want to get rid of Bush.  But the Dean movement's focus is split between (in no particular order):

      1. Getting HD the nomination;
      2. Ejecting the Bush administration;
      3. Transforming the democratic party;
      4. Getting to work on the job of taking back Congress by clearly setting forth an alternative Democratic Party Agenda that emphasizes Democratic Party ideals, rather than continuing to fight the battles over the three G's and ceding the terms of the national political debate.
      It's the final item that a huge majority of Deaniacs, myself included, have with the Kerry candidacy.  I myself see JFK as having the shortest coattails of any of the top four candidates, and from my own personal discussions, find that many agree.  

      It's not that our candidate is bigger.  It's that Dean (at least the ones who've voted in a few elections) are weary of continuing to fight over republican talking points.  We have a great fear of a right-wing dominated legislature that bodes ill for the future.  We want meaningful discourse.  We want our party to demand respect.  And we see Kerry as having been, for far too long, a part of the problem.

      Kerry'd get my vote in the general.  Don't know where my money'd be going though.  Perhaps directly to congressional and senate races that are competitive.  I might have a few hours to spare for JFK, but at least half the battle would seem to be lost by the convention.  America will not be best-served by comparitive military photo-ops.

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:38:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  An analysis on the colapse of the Dean campaign (4.00)
    can be found here. Another analysis can be found here.

    In short, the reason why the campaign colapsed was because the campaign wasn't that solidly built to begin with. A lot of people were focused on building a real Dean movement, but an awful lot more people were focused on having a good time. The rallies started late and were more like rock concerts; the blog is mostly self-congratulatory; even now our campaign is more feel-good than win-good.

    Based on his comments about the scream, I think the "fun" even overwhelmed Howard himself.

    Well, we've been taught a lesson. Now it's time to do some real movement building. Taking back Congress is but one step in our real goal, which is to take back the Democratic Party.

    Dean until he wins, loses, quits, or dies.

    by maxomai on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:11:11 PM PST

    •  thx (none)
      That second lj article is brilliant. Thanks for the link to it.

      No one incapable of generosity with two hundred million dollars suddenly becomes generous with two hundred and fifty. --Ray Davis

      by AlanD on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:20:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know (4.00)
    dKos is not an end in itself. I think of it as a bar-room where people meet to chatter. You can criticize the discourse here, but I don't think much can be done to shape or direct it. People will talk how people will talk. I see the blog as a public space; the only changes that can be made would affect things like seating capacity and acoustics.

    Also, politics is like the weather. In many environments, there's no predicting with anything better than a 30% success rate. There's nothing we can do to make it so that Kos or any other regular poster is always or even more often right.

    There's no crisis here, no more than there is a "crisis" in a park because it staged an anti-war rally that fell on deaf ears.

  •  Don't know what to make of it yet.. (none)
    ..but I just saw on MSNBC that Dean is having a hard time attracting crowds now.  My gut tells me that not contesting Feb. 3 states was tantamount to throwing in the towel.  Or maybe the loss in New Hampshire made it impossible to go further anyway.

    Maybe not contesting the seven states made sense to them because they could see there wasn't anywhere they could move up.  This doesn't seem right to me since Dean is still strong in two or three states.  Some campaigning there and especially some ads there could have added points (and delegates) to his total, and furthermore, created some momentum going into the next round of states.  Without that momentum, Dean can't even attract a crowd in Washington State!

    It is a very sad situation, but I'm not going to cry about it.  I believe Dean served a great purpose already and his political career isn't over.  But it sure looks like any chance to win the nomination is.  This even though he can still raise money..

    I confess I cannot understand it at all.

    But as to your larger point, I imagine most Deaniacs feel the same way.. a vague, rapidly growing sense of disheartened amazement.

    There was a point last week when it made some sense to take on Kerry because it didn't seem all over for Dean, but now..

    I won't be bashing Senator Kerry.  My heart's not in it.

    I will root for Edwards, though.  Go Johnny Sunshine!

  •  ABK > B (none)
    If we have an undeniable feeling in our gut that Kerry is Rove's dream opponent, and his nomination is tantamount to Bush's re-election, what do we do?
    •  Fight (none)
      You fight.
    •  question (none)
      What would you say to someone who told you, "If I have an undeniable feeling in my gut that Dean is Rove's dream opponent, and his nomination is tantamount to Bush's re-election, what do I do?"
      •  Dean is a Nobody from Nowhere (none)
        After Gore was denied his rightful place in the White House, and about 5 minutes after Bush was sworn into office by the same Chief Justice whose vote installed him, Karl Rove began to consider who he's like to see in 2004.
        1. Al Gore
        2. Any congressional democrat from a populous liberal northeastern state. Ideally, Massachusetts, home of Michael Dukakis. But a New Yorker would do just fine too.
        Rove's greatest concerns would be for a dark horse on a mission to take government back from the Washington insiders. Hey, come to think of it, that was W's appeal.

        His second concern was that this outsider would have a proven record of prudent fiscal management, and personal morals that would be tough to discredit.

        Yeeeeeeeeeah! Rove is getting  EXACTLY what he asked for.

        •  you didn't answer the question (none)
          You have your idea about Rove's dream opponent. Other people have different ones. So again, what would you say to someone who told you that Dean is Rove's greatest wish? What if it was looking like Dean would be the nominee? You'd tell them to fight for Dean anyway right?
  •  Internet echo chamber (3.90)
    Daily Kos is merely a microcosm of the same phenomenon which led the Dean campaign itself to divorce itself from reality and then disintegrate in such spectacular fashion.  It is the siren call of the Internet echo chamber which produced both that result and the circumstances you right of.

    The Internet is an extremely powerful tool in every respect.  Used improperly, it can become a self-contained little virtual reality where dissent is quite easily stifled and where the moderator is essentially the God of his little domain.  It is an effortless endeavor for a moderator to manipulate debate in whatever direction he or she desires.  Moreover, the very nature of moderation becomes a self-reinforcing group dynamic which constructs a community of like-minded individuals highly susceptible to ever converging popular consensus ... until empirical reality comes crashing in.

    Minority viewpoints are quite easily stifled either via the direct application of coercive tools (such as the rating system) or the inability to break through the chorus of opposition.  Without a certain vigilance specifically designed to welcome and maintain contrary points of view the virtual world is quickly structured as a very persuasive reflection of what we want reality to be, because all contrary elements have been filtered out.

    In particular when so much effort is expended to suppress precisely that element which was most relevant to the rise and fall of the Dean campaign - discussion of electability - then it should come as no surprise when the final result is a complete and utter divorcement from reality.  To expand this, whenever the Dean campaign stumbled in whatever manner - usually a Dean gaffe - there was an immediate source of affirmation and rationalization in the Blog for America which led them to ignore or even compound the errors.

    The illusion was spun ever more effectively into a pretty caricature of reality where - as is often the case on the Internet - the objective was no longer to arrive at ever more accurate representations of reality (as one does in the 'real world') but rather who could most effectively rout the opposing POV by spinning rhetoric to maintain the virtual reality constructed within the forum.  The warning signs were quite abundant and the warning voices punctuated the discussion on a fairly regular basis (I have been lurking here since well before the move to Scoop).  However, you always had one more personal anecdote or one more compelling writer or one more artificial counter-meme with which to dismiss the calls for reflection.

    That is my opinion.  Sorry if this sounds obnoxious or long-winded but this has been on my mind a lot of late.

    •  ______ (4.00)
      I think also this is where the message dissonance and recursiveness comes in. In cries to "take the country back", empowerment became confused with self-hagiography. I wrote this in my own blog last week:

      The internet, for all of its talk as an open system, actually behaves like a closed system for all intents and purposes. Linking and bookmarking closes the system incrementally. Friendstering for Dean will only bring in people who think like you. Which is all well and good, but it doesn't win Ohio.

      No one incapable of generosity with two hundred million dollars suddenly becomes generous with two hundred and fifty. --Ray Davis

      by AlanD on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:32:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah... (4.00)
        The unfortunate part of the internet is that the larger it gets, the less a new user is likely to believe their participation will matter one bit.  The next huge challenge in social software is scalability - making a large movement appear small enough that anyone can come in at any time and affect things.  If someone's new opinions are exposed as identical to a large other slice, it should match those people up with action items that they can work on as a group, where every bit of help is needed.

        Lots of Dean strategy thoughts on my blog.

        by tunesmith on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 04:29:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Awesome Post (none)
      "That is my opinion.  Sorry if this sounds obnoxious or long-winded but this has been on my mind a lot of late."

      Sounds right on to me.  Awesome post.

  •  I think (2.50)
    You're making some broad generalizations and assumptions. First of all, the ABK that has been taking flight here is a direct result of facts surfacing about Kerry that were successfully hidden from plain view, and the discussions around those facts. That this ABK sentiment isn't more widespread is, in my opinion, less a function of our being 'out of touch lefties' and more a sign that average voters aren't engaging in the level of political discourse that happens here at dKos. I was only marginally against Kerry as a candidate until I started reading some of the facts about him, primarily from sites like this one. I was educated, left with negative conclusions (and rightfully so) and thus my opinion on him as a Senator, a candidate and a Democrat has shifted.

    As Kos has said, if you don't like what happens here, maybe it's time to start your own blog. I think we all should be able (and willing) to make known our opinions of this community and how to make it better, but it sounds like your beef is more with Markos and your disagreement with him on style, conclusion and favor. The guy is human, won't ALWAYS make the right predictions or judgements, but thus far has done a good enough job to have attracted tens of thousands of visitors to his blog every day. Quite an accomplishment.

    It's silly to vent on Kos over policy preferences or even his own political leanings. Kos has been pro-Dean since I started coming here, and that this is a blog and not some neutral 'newswire' means he can say what he feels. Disagree with the analysis if you want, but don't smear the guy for saying what's on his mind on his own fucking blog.
    •  Facts (none)
      So far, these horrible facts about Kerry are nothing more than he may or may not have run a rough campaign against Dean in Iowa, and that he takes a lot of money from lobbyists.

      I don't blame anyone who bashes Kerry, or anyone who is upset about what's happened to Dean. I think the only thing that worries some of us who are not totally behind one candidate is that the rage at Kerry is now much higher than the rage at Bush, who has done far more to hurt Americans than John Kerry ever has. Some of the hysteria, like the one about how awful it is that Kerry takes money from Wal-Mart, almost seems like something from Mad TV.

    •  Conventional Wisdom (none)
      I think your response is a very thoughtful, articulate version of the CW that I addressed above: it's Kos's blog, stop whining (or, in this case "venting"), go somewhere else if you don't like this blog.

      I know this has been repeated many times on DKos, but I don't think it actually makes that much sense.

      On the contrary, wouldn't it be precisely the many trusted users who post on DKos that would be most interested in writing and commenting on the patterns of Kos's own postings? Why should active participation on Daily Kos preclude this? After all, it is his site -- so shouldn't his postings be a central subject of critique and response.

      The CW here seems to me based on two false premises: that there's no connection between the side diaries and the central ones (Kos's posts aren't really that important in shaping the site) and that no mere side poster should really criticize Kos's words (Kos's posts are sacrosanct). These seem a little contradictory.
  •  what we like and don't like (none)
    Why I am addicted to this site? Interactivity. Comment threads that can be followed rationally. What I don't like? People assuming that what goes on here is somehow representative of the real world. Take the "ABK" movement, for example. Do you know of such a movement in the real world? I as much as anyone would like to see one, but it seems to be a Dailykos/Micky Kaus joint venture for now (in Kausfiles, he actually picked up 2 items from dailyKos to add to his anti-Kerry ventings). Not only is there a supposed rabid "ABK" movement (based on a few prolific posters), but on the other side, there are the fanatical "loyalty oathists" who are shrilly trying to contain a movement that doesn't exist anywhere but here--maybe.

    But you know what? It's no cause for alarm. Check back in a couple of months when we have a nominee. Elections are supposed to be exciting and inspire strong passions, right? Or isn't that what we'd prefer?

    Kos is human...he never pledged to be neutral (although I think there was something a bit selfish in his support of Dean--as affirmation of internet candidacy) and it's his "house."

    It's the alarm over the alarm over the alarm that's getting to me. Post mortems can happen later when we all see a little more clearly what happened. Then it will be time for both loin girding to kick the bums out and petitioning to envision and execute a better future if we take the White House back. You don't like it? Just take a break and come back when it's over.

    you and Bob Novak...

    by JMS on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:29:48 PM PST

  •  The Slashdot factor (4.00)
    I think that what you're seeing here on dKOS is akin to the Slashdot factor. To some degree it is a self afirming echo chamber as Gimme says. The other issues that disturb me are the bannings and the communal downmods. Is Kos as bad as Taco and the Slashdot folks? No. The bannings I've seen have been warented. The groupthink here is allowed to run rampet (though I have no good solution to counter it) and Kos is a regular contributor (to the site, not the groupthink).

    Now... that said. It IS his site. He's a participitory mayor. I think that in that kind of environment you're going to see the crowd follow the leader to some extent. Would things be better is Kos was an elevated leader holding himself more above the fray (Like say Carl)? I don't think so. Kos isn't the problem, but the format is.

    Ultimately this isn't a community blog like Plastic or K5, it's a individual's blog with lots of percs. I can live within that framework. I chafe at it abit on occasion, but what I think you are looking for is something closer to Plastic or K5, which is isn't Kos's responsibility to provide.

    -- "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

    by Gary on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:38:09 PM PST

  •  good post (none)
    if all else fails...

     ...lower your expectations.

    re your three last points:

    History can disappear too quickly on this kind of webblog

     1. No comment. What to say?

    Those hidden boundaries.

     2. I've been here since legacy kos... don't remember when, but not forever. I was Dean/Clark undecided, now I'm just plain undecided. This place was always Dean-centric (especially after Ron K went on sabbatical). I avoided flame wars, but it's a free country. You can talk about anything you want. i've been called a Nazi, a white boy from Whitelandia, etc. Who cares? The power of the idea rules. Beats freeperland re courtesy, too.

    ABK - I'm distressed to see how much this has become a major theme of Daily Kos

     3. We do not understand the moderate mind. We have a blind spot there. So, we don't understand Kerry's appeal, or at least lack of loathing inspired. Then again, we don't understand why folks don't loathe GWB the way we do. But that's why we're here. it's a forum for likeminded people. I'm here for information, not predictive power.

    Everyone's got their own angle. The above is mine. And I'm not disappointed in the performance of dKos. I see it as the beginning, not the end.

    •  your last words (none)
      I see it as the beginning, not the end.

      I agree whole-heartedly. Just think about 2008, 2012: is there any doubt that the internet is going to be profoundly integrated into these election cycles? In ways that we can't even predict now? And in ways that might favor reactionary, might favor progressive forces?

      DKos is, I think, an important part of the 2004 primary -- not just something marginal and insignificant. It is part of the first major wave of political websites -- together with Moveon.Org; Dean for America; Blog for America, MeetUp.Com; maybe Talking Points Memo.

      As I said: great opportunities here, but also great challenges and potential problems. Which is why I think it's worth as much scrutiny and attention as we can give it.
  •  For What It's Worth... (4.00)
    My 2 cents on Dean's collapse--
    1. He spends far too much time focusing on events of the past, rather then highlighting plans for the future.  He's great on why we shouldn't have gone to war, but not too clear on what to do to get out of Iraq.
    2.  Many of his supporters have an arrogance that undoubtedly was considered offensive in the Iowa caucus, where personal persuasion is key.
    3. While he was right on about the war, the growing divide between haves and have-nots seems to have emerged as important as an equally important issue, and Dean isn't nearly as articulate as an economic populist. A lot of people have lost their jobs or are afraid of losing their jobs and Dean isn't nearly as good as Edwards in speaking to working-class people in bread and butter language. He doesn't come across as a very empathetic person.
    4. Most peculiar failing is that he has not taken advantage of his medical background to distinguish his candidacy on the issue of health care reform.
  •  reflections (none)
    The ABK movement is very small, and fueled by a belief that the best Presidential candidate is one with a consistent record, and a record of qualifications that meets these voters requirements.

    Personally, I think Kerry's record is fine.  I have eternal respect for things he's done, including protesting the war and going against Reagan.  For those who want politicians to have absolutely clean voting'll have a hard time finding candidates.  

    Regarding Dean, it seems clear to me that big-picture strategy is not a strength of Dean himself nor the people he hired.   They misunderstood the extent to which "telling the truth" would help the campaign, and they misunderstood the extent to which Howard acting as he felt at any given moment would hurt the campaign.  We see the results of that, I think, in his high personal negatives.

    In short, the rules of politics were not suspended by this campaign.

    This is also a point made by some mainstream journalists:  Dean never should have talked tactics so much.  It made me cringe after a while.  He should have just gone straight through with his message.  

  •  I don't mean to be flip, but... (none)
    Kos says what he thinks, others say what they think. That's what it's all about, nothing more, nothing less. In addition, the site is a great read because there are oodles of polls (many provided by readers), and lots of state by state rundowns. There are interesting stories about people who are out there working for the party. Slurs on candidates aside, all of that stuff is still here. Is it possible that you envision this site being something that it isn't? If so, do you think you can spell that out a little more clearly to me? Sorry if I'm being dense.

    I'm kind of lost as to what your point is. A claim of disintegrated political discourse?(DPD (tm)). A fear that something as great as is becoming irrelevant due to its overestimation of Howard Dean? If there is DPD, I think much of that tone is set by some of the candidates. Much of Dick Gephardt's campaign consisted of DPD, as evidenced by his obsession with Dean and a truly misleading web page. And Kerry has hardly been any better.

    I would bet that there will be a long and interesting deconstruction of Howard Dean's campaign before long, which seems to be one of your gripes. The writing is on the wall, that campaign is pretty much over. The fact that it isn't quite yet is probably the only thing that has kept the sort of analysis you want from occurring yet.

    If this were Dec 8 1941, Bush would be gearing up to invade Spain.

    by Doug in SF on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:56:19 PM PST

    •  DPD (none)
      I was looking over some old posts on Daily Kos, when Gephardt was still in contention in Iowa.
      The hostility was pretty stark -- any number of diary entries that would say "Dick" Gephardt, for instance.

      I think it's pretty clear that the ABK discourse could easily have turned into ABG (anybody-but-Gephardt) or ABE (anybody-but-Edwards) if one of these guys had replaced Dean as the front-runner.
      In retrospect, the Dean campaign was very much about political discourse: first, an elevated discourse of "transformation" and reform (very much fueled by the internet -- and, of course, communicated ON the internet); second, a weird morphing of all this energy into an extremely NEGATIVE discourse that grew more bitter as the candidacy got weaker and weaker.

      In this sense, there's a weird Doctor Jekyll-Mr Hyde dimension to the Dean campaign -- which is manifesting itself, IMO, in the ABK rhetoric that we've been seeing so much of on Daily Kos.

      That said, I think all your points are good ones and I think your signature ("If bush were president on Dec 8 . . . ")is great!
      •  Well, (and thanks for the compliment!) (none)
        Having been a Deanie for most of the past 8 months my feel is that an ABE or an ABC movement would never have occurred. There are lots of reasons why, but I'm at work and can't go into it now! Maybe later, or someone else might be able to add something.

        If this were Dec 8 1941, Bush would be gearing up to invade Spain.

        by Doug in SF on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 04:23:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  [new] (none)

    Wow...I think you need to take a breath.  Here's some great online oxygen...

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