Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thundering Kossacks

As probably every politico-cybersavvy person has heard by now, a mini-scandal has erupted from the revelations of "webola" received by the leftist blog DailyKos from fellow leftist bloggers and important Democratic operatives. Accusations of corruption are flying, important Democratic moderates (associated with the Democratic Leadership Council, the Clintons, and the New Republic) are trying to wrest their party back from the semi-literate fringe, and DailyKos meister Moulitsas-Zuniga has reacted angrily to the sudden intrusion of adults into his "Miri"-style romper room (no grups!). Descending from the Higher Sefirot, Kavanna is coming a little late to this fracas, so start with this major posting from Instapundit and the key New Republic and Weekly Standard articles here (requires subscription) and here.

Then read the always-thoughtful Ann Althouse of Madison. Check out the quotes from Newt and the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" guy, then go down to comments. There's a poignant one from a leftie (Theo Boehm). It's incredible that the Democratic dog is being wagged by the Kossack tail and their fellow playpen-mates from MoveOn. They already control a lopsided share of Democratic fundraising and activism, in spite of their 0-for-N (you fill in for N) electoral score. (They're also evidently about to put Lieberman through the wringer -- just what the party doesn't need.) The Deaniac phenomenon was an earlier version of this -- a bizarre cult of angry juveniles, although that wasn't as clear three years ago. (What that struck Binah then about Dean was that he was promoting himself as a populist, but in fact he was largely a media phenomenon -- they built him up, then destroyed him -- and he was too arrogant and clueless to realize what was happening. And like DailyKos, the Deaniacs grossly exaggerated their following.) It's like your local house of worship being taken over by Scientologists. That's the real problem here, not "corruption."

Something similar happened 50 years ago to the Republican party. From the late 1930s until the mid-1960s, before the coalescence of the modern conservative movement, the Republican right-fringe was inhabited by anti-intellectual weirdos and conspiracy theorists. Because the Party lacked a widely-accepted ideology and leadership during that period, it was in considerable danger of being dominated by crackpots. The 1936 and 1940 elections featured impassioned and incoherent Republican reactions to the New Deal and impending intervention in World War II. They did have decent presidential candidates (Landon and Wilkie), and an important part of the party -- East Coast, Anglophile, pro-intervention liberal Republicans -- nearly split off. After 1945, further angry anti-New Deal and anti-interventionist reaction (combined with the nasty and unexpected Korean War) culminated in Congressional revolt against Truman and the McCarthy episode. Not until Eisenhower did the Republican party stabilize, and not until the arrival of Buckley and his National Review were the crazies (isolationists, conspiracists, Birchers, and antisemites) ejected from the respectable Right. Unfortunately, the Democrats have never undergone such a purging -- instead, they seem doomed to continually repeat their post-1968 cave-in to the overgrown adolescents of the Left. They too are now dominated by "... irritable mental gestures seeking to become ideas."

One predictable result is that there's an attempt by the mainstream media right now to portray the blogosphere as generally nutty and not "professional" (unlike them -- ha!). But there's no symmetry between the left-blogosphere and everyone else. The non-left-blogosphere is mostly sane, fairly large, diverse in views, tolerant, and above all grassroots -- made up of people with real lives and lots of common sense. The left-blogosphere is considerably smaller, much nuttier, much angrier, more puerile, and sectarian-cultish. Its social profile has "loser" written all over it. It fits that they're trying to take over the Dems and turn them into a cult front. Can you imagine an academic like Reynolds or even conservative warriors like Hugh Hewitt or Ann Coulter trying to take over the Republican party in this fashion? Just to pose the question is to answer it -- these are normal people, and those are not. (OK, maybe Ann isn't normal.)

Spelling out the negative consequences of DailyKos and the "netroots" movement for the Democratic party and American politics deserves another posting or two. But to start, digest this perceptive article by Matthew Continetti. Keep in mind that the "hit" and pageview numbers claimed by the leftie bloggers are almost certainly a serious exaggeration, which makes Continetti's point even stronger.

Finally, this is just funny: Martin Peretz, publisher and owner of the New Republic, speaks out! But hey, he's tight with that Joe-neocon guy from Connecticut -- right? Aren't "they" all? Or am I just missing something? I guess we here at Kavanna are part of the problem, and we'll never get it :D

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