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Kos Party

Is the Daily Kos infiltrating the Democratic party, or remaking it in their own image?

11:00 PM, Mar 1, 2005 • By DEAN BARNETT
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SOMEWHERE ON A STREET NEAR YOU, one or both of our major political parties will soon have a ward committee meeting. Ward committee members are the people in your community who think an ideal weekend is spent stuffing envelopes or manning a phone bank on behalf of their pet cause. They are noble people; they are also a little strange.

The people who make up ward committees are passionate about politics. Really, really passionate. It is the parties' good fortune that their ward committee meetings are held in private living rooms across the country and not televised on C-SPAN. Indeed, for the vast majority of Americans who maintain a benign indifference to politics, watching their fellow citizens angrily rant for 90 minutes on the sorry state of the nation before finally repairing for coffee and cookies would be depressing and frightening.

In many ways, the Daily Kos is like a gigantic virtual ward committee. Like a ward committee, the Kos community is able to raise funds for candidates and causes it deems worthy. Also like a ward committee, the Kos community has energy; politicians know a favorable nod from Kos proprietor Markos Moulitsas or one of his co-bloggers can generate not just cash but volunteers, too. Problematically, though, the Daily Kos also has many of the negative characteristics of a Ward committee: The excessive passion, the intemperate remarks, and the strange world views of people who obsess about politics.

BUT AS A WARD COMMITTEE ON HYPER-STEROIDS, the Daily Kos has become enough of a player that it's not just selectmen and aspiring state senators who curry the community's favor. United States Senator Barbara Boxer has sent the community not one but two fawning mash notes in the past month to better ingratiate herself with the Kossacks (as they call themselves). As Moulitsas has crowed many times on his website, the Daily Kos has real power, power that is evidenced by the fact that a national figure such as Boxer will stop by repeatedly to pay her respects.

But unlike an actual ward committee which has its meetings (mercifully) in private, the Daily Kos convenes around the clock on the Internet, where the whole world can monitor its goings on.

Last week Kos "diarist" (the Kos Community has numerous diaries which function as blogs within the blog) "Regeneration Man" offered a lengthy post which purported to prove that Jeff Gannon/James Guckert was the missing link in the Rathergate scandal. As Regeneration Man put it, "It now appears that Jeff Gannon could be the thread that unravels the real story behind the TANG/CBS forgeries. I have put together a case here that if looked at carefully by the blogosphere would show that the TANG forgeries were made by the White House . . . The main point of this diary is that Gannon was being used by the White House to ID Mapes to send the news media in a certain direction on that story . . . In all instances, it's Gannon who is given hot information to help orchestrate the story."

It will come as little surprise to those who follow the workings of the left that Regeneration Man ultimately concluded that Karl Rove was behind the whole thing. His post almost instantly became the subjectof non-stop ridicule in the saner precincts of the blogosphere.

And yet, in perhaps the clearest sign to date of the Kos community's growing strength, this past weekend Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey echoed Regeneration Man's suspicion, saying: "They set up Dan Rather. Now, I mean, I have my own beliefs about how that happened: it originated with Karl Rove, in my belief, in the White House."