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Damned if I can make any sense of the following, so I leave it to you.

However, I do have a few responses to the particulars. The problem is either Kaus is so inscrutable it's pointless to attempt to refute him, or I find Kaus too clever to address the misstatements he makes and the misperceptions he has. With that disclaimer out of the way, I proceed to examine the few that I understood:

First, here's how Kaus introduces the meme: Netroots activists? Can you say problems too steep to overcome? (Or maybe I got that wrong. As I said above, Kaus is just too sly for me.)


Kos is planning "the rise of a professional netroots activist class." What's troubling about this idea? Some partly-contradictory possibilities:

OK. Here's the first one. I think I can take it on:

1) The Netroots Pro class will constantly need to gin up new causes to keep itself in business;

Hahahah. Actually Kaus states that one clearly. If "new causes" must be generated, since obviously every last "old cause" - from how to minimize the possibility of new Liebermans to continuing to promote and support little-known Dems running for office - then I feel pretty safe in predicting that Kos will come up with something.

Now here's number 2:

2) They'll pander to the mindless "Fight Club" tendencies of their partisan followers;

"Fight club tendencies"?  I held my breath and clicked the link. Oh, a la Kerry in his latest "botched" joke, that refers to his inability to "climb out of the hole" he dug, by misreading his speech to create the misunderstanding that he was taking a swipe at the troops, by simply apologizing and - forgive the expression - moving on. Applied to Kos, it means that the netroots, constitutionally incapable of choosing its battles, will instinctively and always dig farther into the hole. Though I can't speak for you, this one strikes me as rather odd, since in the three months I've been registered here, and for the many previous months I spent "lurking," I could probably assemble a rather impressive assortment of Kos saying, in effect: You know what? This one isn't as important as that one. Maybe we should focus on that one and leave this one for others to sort out at least for now.

3) They'll tone themselves down to avoid chasing away big advertisers like Chevron;

Good one, Kaus. Chevron, the poor innocents, approached this website completely unprepared for the vicious, partisan, left-of-left-of-left atmosphere it encountered. Worse, by the time Chevron figured out that Kos was anything but good for business, was a place with which it would want to be associated, the contract was signed and the corporation had to grit its teeth through the duration, heaving a big sigh when the time finally came to, uh, "cut and run."

4) They will become just another interest group that needs to be appeased;

Did I already say "Hahahah"? Well, tough. This one deserves another big laugh. Gotta love that "will become" since clearly Kos et. al. has yet TO BECOME a force to be reckoned with. As for "appeased," can you say condescending? I mean, surely Kos' - and the Kos community's - interests never coincide with the interests of the Democratic Party's platform or its leaders. Surely Kos is nothing more, or less, than the liberal version of the fundy rightwing block to which Karl Rove Himself threw regular pieces of red meat in order to placate them. And we all know what happened when word leaked that maybe they weren't so much appreciated as ridiculed.

5) Politicians will be tempted to do the appeasing by buying them off, rather than accomplishing anything. If Hillary Clinton, say, were to give Kos an exclusive interview which attractsd [sic] a lot of views of pages with ads on them, that goes directly to Kos' bottom line. If Hillary gives 60 Minutes an interview, that goes directly to CBS' bottom line, of course. The difference is that CBS isn't supposed to be an idealistic political actor (and also probably that a big political "get" means less to CBS than to a political blog).** ....

This one confuses me, and reading the asterisk hardly clarifies matters.  Is Kaus taking a shot at CBS here (the allegedly but hardly non-partisan network), including this specimen of his power of perception not so much to denigrate Kos as to sneak in a snarky aside?  Or, as #5 is an elaboration of #4, is he mainly "catapulting" the insult on the basis of his assumption that Kos' agenda and that of the Democratic Party do not overlap?  And of course, as we all know, Kos is far less interested in the stated purpose of DKos - electing more Democrats - than he is in the cold, hard cash it generates. And of course Hillary Clinton is forced to choose between Kos and CBS, since obviously - really? - she can't interview in both forums, or neither.

6) If Kos himself gets to choose who joins what he calls the "corps of 'fellows'" that gives him a whole lot of power, doesn't it?

I'm not sure what the "corps of `fellows'" is. Anyone know? It sounds like some variation of the term "fellow travelers" or those of similar mindsets politically. Having said that, I still don't  get it. It implies that, until now, Kos hasn't been able to pick and choose his alliances. To which I say "huh"?

Well, the note from the editor, while undercutting Kaus (at least it seems to), only winds up insulting him more. I've just surprised myself by responding to every Kaus assertion. Not necessarily accurately, I admit, since I'm still not sure I've read Kaus correctly. Now it's time for my "corps of `fellows'" to have its say.

Originally posted to highlyunlikely on Tue Nov 14, 2006 at 02:23 PM PST.

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