If you want to understand Markos Moulitsas, there are a few thing you need to know:
Number one, he’s a shrewd guy. Number two, he’s all about the politics of any and every situation. His book candidly acknowledges that he himself is agnostic on most every issue. The only unbreakable rule in his political canon is that he hates his opponent. And number three is that while he may be the owner of the Daily Kos and the chap that the community is named for, he doesn’t control it. Believe me, he wishes he could.
This has been an uncomfortable week for the left, and all their smart analysts know it. Two of America’ enemies came to American soil and insulted our president and insulted our country in terms that were strikingly familiar to those that the American left frequently employs.
But the left should have gazed into that mirror anyway just as a matter of politics. The fact that Osama bin Laden parroted their talking points was, to put it mildly, to their electoral detriment. A hard-headed look into the mirror would have suggested a dialing down of the rhetoric, lest they be hit with the same whammy again.
ALAS, MEMBERS OF THE DAILY KOS are incapable of dialing down the rhetoric. When America’s greatest enemy, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, appeared on “60 Minutes,” they were won over by his charms because he hated George Bush as much as they did. They wrote gushing blog posts praising his keen wit and gentle demeanor. Again, this is another political loser. And I think Markos knows it.
Markos and I aren’t pen pals or phone buddies. We don’t text message each other with any regularity, and we’ve never broken bread together. In truth, we’ve never spoken or met. But having read every word that he’s publicly written the past two years, I think I understand at least a little bit how he thinks.
I’m sure Markos is appalled by the developments of this week. That’s not because he’s outraged by Chavez’s or Ahmadenijad’s comments; he considers making such analyses and reaching such conclusions either above or below his pay-grade. All he cares about is the politics of any situation and he surely knows that the events this week are bad news for the left.
Part of the reason he knows it’s bad politics is because the progressive blogosphere, which he putatively (but does not in actuality) lead, could not exercise any discipline when Chavez dangled red meat in front of it. Their knees jerked, and they wrote rubbish like how they preferred Chavez and Ahmadenijad to Bush. Any Americans paying attention would be appalled. More importantly, a lot of Americans who don’t really pay attention, i.e. the vast majority of the country, can’t help but notice that America’s enemies are insulting our nation on our soil. And they’re using the rhetoric of America’s left. In a crude equation, therefore, America’s left is the equivalent of America’s enemy.
And as Markos knows, politics is all about crude equations. Gas prices go down, the incumbent benefits. The stock market sags, the incumbent takes a hit. Etcetera. That’s how it goes.
BUT HERE’S WHERE MARKOS is truly screwed (to coin a phrase). There’s nothing that he can do to control his minions. Just as was the case during the Israel-Hezbollah war where the Daly Kos rank and file impoliticly took Hezbollah’s side, there’s nothing that Markos can do but write a brief blog post where he professes to be agnostic about the issue...
Barnett goes on to describe the agnostic repsonse given by Kos when invited by MSNBC to talk about Chavez.