If you're interested in the crux of my beef with kos on "the issues"...this is it. I suspect you will find it anti-climactic...but, I hope, worthwhile....
Defenders of certains groups will be quick to charge, "Kos attacks NARAL, so he's 'anti-woman'", or Kos attacks HRC, so he hates gays."
Which is not only not true, but a not-so-clever rhetorical swipe intended to slime in advance people who've made a much different critique of your positions and writings.
Kos, you've confused two things for some time, and you do it again here, and it's quite troubling in someone who is writing a book on the matter. "Progressive constituency groups" does not equal the people who those groups were designed to defend...everyday citizens who happen to be black or gay or women, and who are core members of our Democratic coalition.
Women are not a special interest. African-American concerns with civil rights and unequal access to education are not a "pet interest." Gay issues are not a "narrow interest." These are, indeed, like environmentalism or war, all of our "concerns" by virtue of our being Democrats, and I would argue, citizens with a conscience.
The point that I've been trying to make, and I'm sure it is one most here agree with, is that the concerns of women, blacks and gays...which are of direct import to these citizens directly because how laws are written affect them directly...and the concerns of peace activists and environmentalists which are necessarily broader, must be concerns we all share by virtue of being Democrats. These concerns deserve respect just as the citizens who are directly affected by them do. We all agree on this, I think, and it underlies the cogency of Markos' whole point above.
However, counter to how the "progressive" position is being spun; and kos is spinning here. The position of most "pre-Markos" activists has always been focused on coalition-building. We have been for sitting in the same room and working together all along. (Veteran of Jackson '88 and Wellstone '96, and Gore '00 pre-netroots efforts here.) In my opinion, that is harder to do when kos and many posters on this blog confuse people with groups, and dish on members of our coalition in ways that are unproductive and ignorant of our history.
There is zero incompatability of the progresssive, coalition-oriented position with blogging here on dKos, or in making the point, as Mark Schmitt's essay does, of the ineffectiveness of "single issue groups" in creating fundamental change in DC in the current political climate. In effect, the only folks advocating that point of view are some segments in single-issue organizations who refuse to make coalition.
Kos, you need to show us those segments. They are the specific target of your ire. We need to see that spelled out, and it your right to do so as an essayist and author. But, I would suggest, the proper response to these groups is not to lambaste them, but, quite simply do what progressives have always done: invite them into the room and work together. After all, if the core of your position is that we are all going to have to give a little, wouldn't it be better to decide to do that together, as a collective strategy, rather than by cutting people off?
Unfortunately for all of us, kos, you've spent large amounts of your political capital confusing the issue, and unfortunately indulging in outdated and stereotypical attacks to boot.
For my part, I am confounded by the fact that the answer always seems to be dailykos.com and the "liberal blogosphere." While I have great hope in the netroots, politics is so much more than simply blogging. Further, for kos, it seems the answer always ends up being a point of view that pushes some away and, at times, draws a distinction that denigrates some other "outside" group. That mode of operating contradicts the very argument for coming together that lies at the heart of the rhetoric of coalition and party.
Kossacks understand, deeply, that coalition and community are the core of what we've been doing here now for years. We all know that the point of dKos and our efforts here has been to build coalition in a way that empowers and pulls people together with optimism and hope, and, yes, that wins elections and legislative majorities.
That was Booman's point yesterday, and it is, fundamentally, what my writing here has been about all along. We are all saying that we need to come together. I would argue, simply, that kos needs to stop confusing people with groups he disagrees with, and learn how to build coalition in this new medium in a more positive way...and to understand that the history of this struggle stretches back to a time before the internet, even if the internet is a tool we will use to change that history now, and in 2006.