Friday, July 07, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

It didn’t take long for the snake to rear its corrupting head in progressivism’s Garden of Eden. Sadly, it would appear that everyone – even the white knights of Daily Kos, like their patron, billionaire supporter George Soros -- are in it for the money.

The Hartford Advocate, a sister publication of the Hartford Courant, has noted in a story, “Just Kos?, that the struggle between the New Republic, a center left puiblication, and Daily Kos, the epitome of far leftism, parallels closely the division within the Democrat Party between primary challenger Ned Lamont and sitting Senator Joe Lieberman.

The flare-up between the New Republic and has parallels with the Connecticut Democratic primary race between incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. First, it exemplifies the conflict between the hawkish, centrist wing of the party (the New Republic /Lieberman) and the anti-war left (liberal blogs/Lamont).

“But besides ideological similarities, allegiances have been drawn. The New Republic, which printed a lengthy endorsement of Lieberman´s 2004 presidential bid, posted three pro-Lieberman articles on its website this year, and called Lamont´s online supporters ¨Lamonsters."

The notion currently being pressed by supportive Connecticut bloggers that the Lamont campaign is entirely a home grown affair is, according to the Advocate, absurd. “Currently,” the Advocate reports, “Lamont is the leading candidate on,” a campaign money funder for progressives, “with more than 2,000 doners contributing almost $77,000 as of Monday” July 3rd.

And carpetbagger bloggers are actively working in the Lamont fox holes.

Bloggers have gotten directly involved in the race. Moulitsas appeared in a Lamont campaign commercial, where he portrayed an enthusiastic campaign volunteer, eager to work with Lamont. In June, Jane Hamsher of chronicled her trip from the West Coast to Connecticut to work for the Lamont campaign.

The New Republic’s beef with Daily Kos centers on a message send by Daily Kos’ founder Marcos Zuniga Moulitsas to a private e-mail list.

Zengerle [of the New Republic] said the message, which primarily concerned Moulitsas´ request that his fellow bloggers refrain from writing about Securities and Exchange Commission allegations against blogger-turned-online-political-consultant Jerome Armstrong, showed that Moulitsas issued orders that other liberal bloggers dutifully followed. In an entry titled, "The Blogosphere´s Smoke-Filled Backroom," Zengerle accused liberal bloggers of displaying "a sheep-like obedience to [Moulitsas´] dictat."

A fairly complete and updated account of the DailyKos scandal may be found in Outside the Beltway. The Securities and Exchange complaint against Jerome Armstrong – a consultant, blogmeister and co-author with Moulitsas of “Crashing the Gates" – see here. The infamous George Washington Plunkitt, a turn of the century Tammany Hall boss, used to call this sort of behavior "honest graft."

But beyond the usual money grubbing, we are are here witnessing a battle over journalistic turf and prestige between the traditional left (The New Republic, the Washington Post, the New York Times etc.) and insurgent journalists/political consultants (Daily Kos and many other supportive leftist bloggers who, especially here in Connecticut, have targeted for extinction more moderate Democrats who do not measure up to their expectations).

The insurgents’ attitude towards their elder brothers in the journalistic community was perfectly summed up by Moulitsas after unflattering pieces had appeared in both the New Republic and most recently the New York Times. The New Republic, Moulitsas said, is a “dinosaur.” No one reads it anymore.

Only someone whose antennae are finely tuned to pick up major shifts in the social templates may be able to tell us precisely what is going on here: Tom Wolfe would be my candidate. Local students of social and political mores who might be capable of doing the job – Colin McEnroe, for instance – appear to have been fully absorbed by the new left, seduced perhaps by the sweet singing found on blog sites such as MyLeftNutmeg, one among a half dozen Connecticut sites devoted to pounding Lieberman into the sand.

The road to success and financial security among hard left bloggers has now been paved with the following good intentions: 1) get financing from a redundantly wealthy kingmaker; 2) start a blog; 3) write a book – everyone’s doing this; 4) turn a profit by means not so illegal as to get yourself thrown in jail; 5) light up and enjoy a good Cuban cigar.

As Plunkitt well knew, these steps on the way to success and financial security are as American as apple pie.
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