April 17, 2006,
The power, glory, and weakness of the bloggy Left
EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece appears in the April 24, 2006, issue of National Review.
Markos Moulitsas is describing a frustrating period in his life. It was 2002, George W. Bush was in the White House, and in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks no one in Washington Democrats included seemed willing to criticize the president. Moulitsas, a passionate liberal, couldn't believe what he was seeing. "I was driving my co-workers and my wife and my friends crazy, ranting and ranting and ranting about how terrible things were," he says. "There were no liberal voices in the media landscape there were none."
So to vent his frustrations, to push back a little, and perhaps to become that lonely liberal voice in the media landscape, Moulitsas started blogging. "I felt the need to just get it off my chest," he says. "I needed a voice, and there was a tool, finally, that gave me that ability to share my voice." The tool, of course, was the Internet, and Moulitsas started writing entries for MyDD the DD stands for "direct democracy" a groundbreaking political blog started by the Washington-based Democratic strategist Jerome Armstrong. Later, Moulitsas would start his own blog, DailyKos, which would become the biggest and most influential political blog on the left.
Moulitsas is telling his story to a group of students and fans gathered at George Washington University in late March. He is with Armstrong, and together they are, as much as anyone, responsible for creating the most energetic force in Democratic politics today: the left-wing blogosphere. They're hawking a new book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, in which they bash Republican and Democratic party operatives alike, boast of their own political savvy, and argue for the creation of a left-wing "noise machine" websites, TV programs, talk radio, think tanks to match the right-wing noise machine that they contend is a key part of Republican electoral success.
Conservatives would undoubtedly be baffled by their analysis of events Did he really say there were no liberal voices in the media landscape? but the sense of frustration Moulitsas and Armstrong describe not only appears to be heartfelt but is also, apparently, shared by thousands of people like them...
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