"I wouldn't want to be a senator or congressman. I'm able to influence politics much more effectively doing what I do. Now I can shape the national political debate. The only way I could exert more influence would be if I were president. But I'd never want that guy's job. Never." -- Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Is Markos Moulitsas Zuniga AKA Kos really that powerful? No. But, does he have enormous sway on the Left? You bet he does.
His blog, the Daily Kos, is an enormous website that is slavishly catered to by Democratic Congressmen and senators. Among the prominent Democrats that have posted on his blog are Jimmy Carter, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Moreover, all three Democratic front runners for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, are scheduled to attend the Yearly Kos convention.
So, why is the influence and power that the Daily Kos wields in the Democratic Party so significant? Because many of the writers at the Daily Kos are extremists who promote a virulent hatred of the military, conspiracy theories, and in some cases, even violence and Fascist tactics against the people who disagree with them. That means when someone like Harry Reid writes a diary on the Daily Kos or when Hillary Clinton goes to the Yearly Kos convention, it indicates that they're comfortable associating with people who hold those sort of radical views.
Of course, you can expect Democrats to deny that the Daily Kos is a poison well of extremism, conspiracies, and anti-American sentiment. However, let's take a look at what some of the writers on that blog -- note that I said the writers, not just people leaving comments -- have had to say.
Most notoriously, the founder of the Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, wrote this about American contractors who were murdered in Iraq and had their bodies desecrated,
"...I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."
When you see that sort of hostility towards people risking their lives in Iraq from the man running the Daily Kos, is it any surprise that other diarists on that blog have penned commentary like this,
"Our sons and daughters need to realize that choosing to be a soldier means a decision to place themselves among "the damned," since no matter what they end up doing while on the field of battle, they will eventually be damned.. damned if they do and damned if they do not. Realizing that compliance with a superior's order to shoot and kill the enemy may well lead to the damnation (the self-extirpation) of one's soul. On the other hand, noncompliance will lead to that of being court-martialed." -- Populist Party
"But do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country? No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded. Because they sign a contract that says they will kill whoever you tell me to kill. And that is morally retarded." -- AWhitneyBrown
"We need to lose this war and not start the next one so that we can remain a free people. Diminished on the world stage? Perhaps, like Great Britain was diminished when it surrendered its colonial empire. But free." -- bluedogtxn
Only three examples have been listed here because the space available in this column is somewhat limited, but these sentiments are run-of-the-mill on the Daily Kos and similar comments are made on a regular basis by other writers on the website.
Along those same lines, here's the sort of bizarre paranoia that regular readers of the Daily Kos are exposed to on a regular basis,
"If we do not wake up now and flood Congress to impeach the President and Vice President, one year from now, Daily Kos may be banned and Markos himself may be disappeared, in a federal prison somewhere.
Even as I write these words I feel like a wild-eyed nutcase. If it were not for the OH SO REAL danger this country faces in the next 15 months or so as the people in power see their own doom and are determined to prevent their expulsion from power by suspending next year's elections and declaring martial law WHEN the next 9/11 comes or events that can be construed as a national emergency to "justify" such actions, I would be holding my tongue and crossing my fingers."-- slw0606
"...Bush let North Korea get nukes in order to start an arms race in Asia. He did it so American weapons manufacturers will make money, like we do with Israel.
We need to start talking straight, people. We need to start being up front about what this is all about. We can't wait until Bush walks up and blows our brains out to call this what it is."-- Kosmo
"Was Pat Tillman killed on Cheney's or Rumsfeld's orders?
We must be ever vigilantly cynical regarding the bloodthirsty, money-hungry cut-throats in the White House because they never disappoint the rudest and crudest analysis of their active and ongoing conspiracies. The vilest imaginings of Stephen King is where these deceitful serpents dwell. Never make the mistake that you are being too cold in your analysis of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rice."-- 3CCD
Now let's move from conspiracy theories to hateful extremism,
"Because filing briefs don't stop bullets, and when the ballot box fails us, we are not above seeing what's in the ammo box." -- pinche tejano
"And anyone -- Liebercrat or Republican -- who stands to oppose impeachment, conviction and removal should be tried for their role as accomplice in the sedition and treason against the United States." -- GreyHawk
"If the Democrats fail (to end the war), the only option left is revolution and foreign intervention. Tyranny is but assured because Congress cannot and will not exercise it's Constitutional power to end this fascist Coup d'etat." -- wolverine 06
Now as you read these quotes from the diarists -- again, not the commenters -- at the Daily Kos, it should bring up a number of important questions that never seem to get answered.
* Do Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, etc., agree with the sort of sentiments expressed above and if not, why do they keep associating with the people that are saying these things?
* Moreover, if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, etc., don't agree with the sort of sentiments expressed above, why don't they speak out about it instead of lending credibility to the people making those remarks by associating with them?
* If the most powerful people in the Democratic Party can get away with associating with the sort of people writing the quotes above, is there any group or person that's out of bounds for them?
* Perhaps most importantly – and, yes, this likely explains why the above questions will never be asked -- if the Daily Kos has become the most influential liberal blog in the world, when the sort of garbage you've seen above is an important part of the blog, what does it say about the state of mainstream liberalism?
Ten years ago, a liberal website that featured diarists who thought American soldiers were "morally retarded," that called for revolution, and that speculated that the President was going to declare martial law to retain power, would have been considered to be on the farthest fringes of the Left. But, today? Those sort of comments are as mainstream as it gets. That's the legacy of the Daily Kos and of the cowardly politicians in the Democratic Party who've helped to give that blog credibility.