June 25, 2006


The War's Left Front: The Daily Kos thinks the politics of Iraq will help him shape the Democratic Party. (Jonathan Darman, July 3-10, 2006, Newsweek)

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga is sitting on his back porch in Berkeley, Calif., listening to the hummingbirds and explaining his plans to seize control of the Democratic Party. It is one week after YearlyKos, the Las Vegas conference of progressives that Moulitsas sponsored and promoted heavily on his popular liberal blog, DailyKos.com. Every major media outlet in the country had attended the conference, detailing the spectacle of Democratic bigwigs (including the party's Senate minority leader and four of its leading 2008 presidential aspirants) embracing Moulitsas as the guru of an activist movement they were eager to exploit. With the conference, Moulitsas says, his movement had finally proved its relevance to the party. "We're not sitting around waiting for the so-called professionals to give us power in the party," he tells NEWSWEEK. "We're taking it for ourselves."

It seems as though the rock-thrower is growing up. Inside, a handyman is remodeling the Moulitsases' suburban living room, where soon the futon will be replaced by a daybed, and the big, boxy television by a sleek new flat-panel. If YearlyKos—where he was quizzed by the likes of Maureen Dowd and Tim Russert on what the Democrats ought to do to win—proved anything, it was that Moulitsas had forced his way into the upper echelons of party strategists. Moulitsas sees his new status as the start of a natural progression: "We said we wanted to crash the gates. We never said we weren't going to come in."

The important aspect of the Kos story isn't that they're nuts, but that they are, as Martin Peretz amply demonstrated, in the mainstream of what remains of the Democratic Party. The answer to Thomas Frank's question is that it's a party that's designed to appeal to Kosans, not Kansans.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2006 12:42 PM

Think of Kos as the Democratic Party's own Joseph McCarthy -- even if some of those in the party agree with the basics of what he's saying, they're intimidated by the power he currently seems to weild and are afraid to do anything overtly to take him down. And unlike McCarthy, no one in the media would get brownie points from the left (or get George Clooney to make a movie about them) for doing a head-on confrontation with him in the Edward R. Murrow "See It Now" style.

But the saner elemenets of the party know he's bad news for their future election hopes, which is why folks like those at The New Republic and now Newsweek are using the current questions about the Kos-Armstrong relationship to try and, if not force him out as a major party influence, at least diminish him to the point where he's nothing more than an irritation to the Democrats, the way the Buchananites are to the Republicans nowadays.

Posted by: John at June 25, 2006 1:08 PM

Does anyone know whether this Markos fellow might be, you know, not the marrying kind?

Just asking--he seems awfully disordered.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 25, 2006 1:33 PM

McCarthy was right and McCarthyism was popular.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2006 1:58 PM


IIRC, he is married with a small child, or at least once was. You may also be surprised to know he is a veteran - artillery I believe.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 25, 2006 1:59 PM

You're channeling your inner Soviet there, Lou. Moulitsas by all reports is an ordinary-enough guy who gets worked up over politics.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 25, 2006 2:23 PM

Please, not Soviet--just making an inquisition, that's all, chanelling my inner Hound of the Lord.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 25, 2006 2:41 PM

"just making an inquisition"! LOL

Does anyone understand the name thing? Why is he sometimes "Moulitsas" and sometimes "Zuniga"?

Posted by: David Cohen at June 25, 2006 3:21 PM

. . . just making an inquisition . . .

Ha-ha! NO-ONE expects the Lou Gots Inquisition!

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 25, 2006 3:36 PM

David: I believe he has some central american roots, and uses his mother's last name zuniga in the Spanish manner.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 25, 2006 4:01 PM

I wonder what Jonathan Klein thinks of the lefty bloggers, Kos in particular.

Does he curse them as they sit in their pajamas, eviscerating his party? Or does he applaud their participation in the political process?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 25, 2006 4:51 PM

Is he part of the PJM?

Posted by: erp at June 25, 2006 5:20 PM

The thing about Kos is that no matter how many elections his side loses, he always comes back more deranged than ever. I find it particularly humorous when he claims to speak for 'the people'. As if people in the States are clamoring for some Marxist midget to speak for them.

Posted by: lebeaux at June 25, 2006 6:25 PM

"Is he part of the PJM?"

Is he part of Pajamas Media? That would be a negative.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at June 25, 2006 6:38 PM

Actually, part of what is going on with the 'regular' Left is just plain old jealousy. After all, Kos is merely an extension of Jonathan Chait, no?

I wonder if there is some connection with Moulitsas to the anti-globalist crowd that trashed Seattle in 1999? That was when they first began to 'participate', wasn't it? Prior to Bush, globalization was their issue. For them, terrorism is an inconvenient annoyance.

Posted by: ratbert at June 25, 2006 11:51 PM

So the Democratic Party is being taken over by a blogger from Berkeley. Yeah, that's the type of guy who has his pulse on mainstream America!

Posted by: b at June 26, 2006 12:09 PM