Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


June 11, 2006  


J U S T   P O L I T I C S

Liberals net savvy?

Ron Brownstein writes in the LA Times about the Kos (as in Daily Kos) convention in Las Vegas:

Fans of the popular liberal website Daily Kos gathered here this weekend for an irreverent and impassioned conference that blended elements of a political convention, a revival meeting and what one attendee called a "summer camp reunion for people who have never met each other."

The four-day event, which drew 1,000 people, may have marked a milestone in the evolution of the online liberal community from scruffy insurgents to an institutionalized force within the Democratic Party.

The conference drew four Democrats possible contenders for the party's 2008 presidential nomination: Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM); Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA); retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former Gov. Mark Warner (D- VA).

Brownstein reported:

The bloggers and liberal activists who filled the panels and workshops condemned the Washington Democratic establishment almost as enthusiastically as they did the Republican Party, President Bush and the mainstream media.

In a keynote address Thursday night, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who founded Daily Kos in 2002 after serving a stint in the Army, portrayed the rise of Internet activism as a challenge to both political parties, the media, and all the other established institutions in the political system.

"The media elite has failed us; the political elite, both parties, has failed us Republicans have failed us because they can't govern; Democrats have failed us because they can't get elected," Moulitsas said. "So now it's our turn."

The gathering had an expected response to the mention of establishment reporters Bob Woodward of the Washington Post or Judith Miller, formerly of the New York Times. The response was one of collective hissing. The Kos group sees these reporters as pawns of the Bush administration.

Politics of spam

The Washington Post reports on the fact that e-mails will not be regulated for political campaigns:

The e-mail exemption, which was approved by the Federal Election Commission in March, might become the next big avenue for campaign funding abuses, some experts warn. Heavy spenders, such as individuals or groups not affiliated with campaigns, could use mass e-mailings to alter the outcome of key congressional races and still remain anonymous, a result that runs counter to the intention of federal election laws.

Carol C. Darr, director of the nonpartisan Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, foresees "a complete free-for-all" because of the loophole. She added: "Sure, the FEC may still regulate the nickel-and-dime stuff. But . . . in the Hundred Years War against political money, big money has won."

The FEC voted unanimously March 26 not to regulate political communication on the Internet, including e-mails, blogs and the creation of Web sites. The commission had decided two years earlier to exempt all Internet activity from regulation, but that ruling was overturned by a federal judge who ordered the FEC to write rules that apply to at least some parts of cyberspace.

Party loyalty

Ron Brownstein writes in the LA Times about what the real importance was in the California Congressional Special Election:

Above all, Republican Brian Bilbray's victory over Democrat Francine Busby demonstrated that this deeply polarized era is resistant to dramatic shifts in voter sentiment. The results showed that today's voters generally stick with their party more reliably than their parents did a generation ago. That means changes in the balance of power are more likely to come incrementally than through the kind of sudden, seismic shift last seen when Republicans captured both the House and Senate in their 1994 landslide.


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