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Allegre's "Writer's Strike" post at Kos

mCoyote Creek dug this out from the Democratic primary wars of 2008:

This is a strike - a walkout over unfair writing conditions at DailyKos. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won't "work" at DailyKos again. As a regular contributor to the discourse in our community, I would certainly hope to take part in the conversation at DailyKos again some day if we ever get to the point where we’re engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches. But not now. Writers need a safe place to reach out and exchange ideas, to communicate and challenge one another. DailyKos should be that place, but its tone, its essence has evolved into something ugly and destructive. Good writers can't survive in that kind of atmosphere. Democrats shouldn't have to put up with that from fellow Democrats.

Sadly, the majority of the administrators have allowed this hostile environment to develop in our online community for anyone who isn’t planted firmly in the Obama camp. They've routinely ignored personal attacks and allowed disruptive, spam-like posts to go unchecked whenever anyone expresses support for Hillary or challenges something their candidate has said or done. There are however several front-pagers who have managed to avoid taking part in the attacks on Hillary and for that I’m grateful. But the site has grown to the point where they simply can’t – or won’t monitor it.

As a result, our community has become little more than an echo chamber with an attitude that harkens back to the early days of Dubbya’s administration - yer either with us or yer a’gin us, heh! The attackers and disrupters are no better than Chris Matthews with their sexism, hate, lies, and obsession with bashing - all – things – Hillary

I can attest to the hostile work environment, even though I never did post at Kos all that much. Here's a sig I worked up from that time:

* OFB PROPHLACTIC Yes, I am paid by the Hillary campaign. Yes, I hope to get a job in Hillary's administration. Yes, I am a shill. Yes, I am a hack. Yes, I am a liar. Yes, I am a racist. Yes, I am a purist. Yes, I am a troll. Yes, I am ignorant. Yes, I hate Obama. Yes, I ignore all facts that don't square with my [lying|racist|purist|shilling|hackish|trollish] preconceptions of Obama. Yes, my reading comprehension is poor. Yes, I have a hidden agenda: I hope that the Democrats lose, and to that end I support [not Obama]. Yes, I could be older than you. Yes, I think all young people are stupid. Did I mention I'm a shill and a hack? Good. Anything else?

All dialog verbatim, as Stan Mack funnies used to say. Go out on the threads of Kos as a [non-Obama] supporter, and that's what you got. All of it good clean fun, of course, except for one thing: The smear of being a racist. The Obots took the most incendiary charge in American politics -- and one that legitimate progressives fought and gave their lives for in the Civil Rights era -- and used it for trivial purposes; to win a primary or too. They can keep their fiucking party, so far as I'm concerned. The sooner it and they go the way of the Whigs the better, so far as I'm concerned.

NOTE Oh, and another thing: The Obama supporters on Kos were wrong about everything. Wrong about Obama, wrong about Obama's role in the party, wrong about Obama's skills, wrong about Obama's policies, wrong about everything. And ever since their guy got dragged over the finish line by the collapse of Lehman in 2008. they've done nothing but make excuses for him.

Average: 5 (1 vote)


Submitted by Hugh on

It's been clear for years now that Daily Kos and Moulitsas were only ever about energizing progressive support for Democrats and not progressive causes. The wheels began coming off that puppy after the 2006 election followed by the axles and everything else after 2008. In 2013, kos is a hackneyed dinosaur filled with Democratic tribalists. Its betrayal of progressives, its subsequent war against them, the cynicism of Crashing the Gates are all ancient history.

Now the tribalists are falling out with each other. Supporters of the neoliberal Clinton feel unwelcome among the supporters of the neoliberal Obama. Can't say I'm surprised, can't say I care.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Ok, see, here's where I am having a GIGANTIC problem with the terms "neoliberal" and DLC. If the left ever has a prayer of getting the band back together, we are going to have to stop using these terms everytime someone does something we don't like. I guarantee you that there is no politician on the face of the earth who is going to do everything you like 100% of the time. It's just not possible. If you can't differentiate Obama from Clinton, there's no point in having a conversation. You have all in one shot dumped both of them in the same unsavory pot and stepped away from them. I don't believe they are the same at all.
Once again, I find myself on the outside of the group looking in at a bunch of people losing their minds for completely trivial reasons. It doesn't look that different to me than the people on the right who are convinced without any evidence whatsoever that Obama is a socialist. The notion is absurd.
But just because neoliberalism is a concept than no one on the left likes right now, for good reason, that doesn't mean that there are things that neoliberals embrace that are necessarily wrong. For instance, as much as people on the left may hate, hate, HATE!!! corporations with a white hot passion because of corporate "personhood", going too hard against the corporate model in general could be extremely destructive. What I see a lot of people on the left do is fail to distinguish between corporate stakeholders and shareholders. This is a mistake and it will prove to be very bad for us if we can't discuss this stuff reasonably and rationally without a bunch of closed minds yelling "neoliberal!" every two seconds.
If I were the lefty god, I would insist that you be extremely specific every time you used that word because I do not think that word means what you think it means if you think Obama and Clinton are identical. That would be a very big mistake since someone(s) thought there was enough of a difference in 2008 that they completely ruined her political career and installed the non plus ultra neoliberal of all time in the White House.
Just stop using the term, Ok? It's not sensible, the evidence doesn't bear you out and it's wasting everyone's time with pointless distractions.

Submitted by lambert on

Search on "Bruce Dixon" [at this link] and you'll actually find him mentioned by name in a letter Obama wrote! Yes, from WIkipedia, and no doubt totally contested.

* * *

To the narrow issue, Was Hillary Clinton a member of the now defunct DLC? Apparently an official membership list wasn't available on the site (also defunct) A list maintained at DU (potential ick (and at Kos)) says that she was. The interesting NNDB site says she was, as do a ton of blog posts, not all of them seeming tendentious.

* * *

From the 30,000 foot view (in time, I suppose, not space) the "DLC" moniker looks more like a feud between Democratic operatives whose business model was online fundraising (that is, those who came up in the Dean campaign) and those who didn't have that model (famously, Hillary Clinton in 2008). There seems to be a good deal of, er, bitterness on the part of the Deaniacs, too, especially after their candidate beaten like a gong by possibly the most boring national politician ever, Dick Gephardt, in Iowa 2004. And beyond the financial aspects and the ego-damage the Deaniacs suffered, there is a generational aspect as well. (This carries right through to the present day, where support for Obama among Reagan's children in the technocracy is near universal; they form a key constituency.)

* * *

On the one hand, I really do view the 2008 primaries as a formative moment for me personally and for a small -- but growing -- number of critical thinkers about legacy party politics. On the other, it's important not to sink into being an in-group -- even if a group not big enough to qualify as a tribe!

* * *

It's human nature to substitute a moniker for analysis. And it makes sense! We can't be reasoning from first principle's all the time! However, at this point, again from the chilly heights 30,000 feet, the "DLC" moniker looks pretty useless analytically. We could view Obama as the personality construct which the Deaniac faction seized control of the party in 2008. But it didn't mean shit in terms of policy, did it? The Deaniac candidate turned out worse than Bush on any number of fronts. So all the yammering about how the DLC sucked on principle was just chatter.

Goldberry makes the point that "neo-liberal" has degenerated to a moniker as well. I agree, kinda, but I don't think that has to be so. On the one hand, it seems to me quite clear that one could have made a rational and defensible decision to vote for Clinton in 2008 on the grounds of (a) concrete material benefits (b) direction of the party and against Obama based on the vile and thieving campaign that he ran. I remain proud of my choice in 2008, and point (b) looms ever larger as we come to understand the corruption of the Obama administration.

On the other hand, it also seems clear that all the candidates shared -- would not be allowed to be candidates if they did not share -- the Washington Consensus. Their views differed on some points -- marginal is not insignificant! -- but in general spectrum of permitted views (The Overton Window) was narrow as compared to the scope of the problems the country faces.) The Washington Consensus has been operating for a long time, AFAIK, and it transcends parties.

Finally, 2016 is a long way off, but we seem to be arguing about it already, don't we :-) I'm with Goldberry that the old monikers don't matter. But we also have to understand our history. And yet we also have to imagine a future that may -- that must -- change more radically than the policy options that are available to us today.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'm going to write a short comment below, until I get a chance to write a diary on the "policy pronouncements" of the DLC, Third Way, NDN, No Labels, etc.

But, for clarification: "you'll actually find him mentioned by name in a letter Obama wrote!" Who are you referring to, that was mentioned by name? Sorry, I'm confused, even though I followed the link.



Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'll leave this up to the folks who were "in the trenches" at the time, to settle.

I'll be posting a short blog later today (or tomorrow) with thoughts on the various blogs, and how they function as an arm of the DNC, etc.

Mr. Alexa has challenged me to "get out of my comfort zone," and take on commenters at various "Dem establishment" blogs.

I hope to start "reporting" on this endeavor, in my new little "column."



DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

The writers strike post was an important moment in blogosphere. People at Kos knew that something was seriously amiss as that post went to the top of the recommend list and stayed there for hours. It was a great moment and cause such a stir that it went on CNN.

ek hornbeck's picture
Submitted by ek hornbeck on

The issue is not Hillary, or even Obama so much. Take a look that the most recent flame wars between Obama supporters over personal credulity (The Nephew) and Gun Safety (RBKA).

The biggest mistake is giving the impression that you and your posse, provided it is sufficiently large and persistent, can automatically banish (and silence) proponents of positions with which you disagree without administrative intervention.

This illusionary authority encourages all the very worst Lord of the Flies bullying behavior except from the naturally belligerent (and I'll be charitable and pretend they're not as numerous as they actually are).

Now sensitive souls may shy from the least controversy, but in most cases I find courtesy merely another club for the unscrupulous. My preferred mode of moderation is unlimited hide rates for no reason at all- you soon identify the bullies who are mostly inarticulate anyway.

Every suspension is administrative, mine was.

ek hornbeck's picture
Submitted by ek hornbeck on

Not Obama's nephew, a Buffy Orpington sympathy scam.

Yes, lots of unjustified hide rates and hurt fee-fees. Non-bots wisely stayed out of the circle.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Slightly off topic, but following up on the response I had to Hugh above, let's not kid ourselves about what DailyKos is. It is an enormous focus group. Every now and then a topic will get a lot of attention on the board and that's the way the operatives and psychometricians figure out what makes lefty types tick. They refine it. They get to know what your trigger words are. They know how to push your buttons so that your emotions circumvent your rational mind. That's why the racist meme was so effective in 2008. It's the worst thing you could call a liberal. We react viscerally to that accusation. It's only the very sane among us who don't flinch from it and even those of us who know we aren't racist spend every waking second defending ourselves. If you try to point out what they sneaky ones are up to, you get banned.
DailyKos also love bombs. If you express the preferred thoughts, you get mojo, you get recommended, you become popular. People like you. They want to hang out with you and be your friend. You become a trusted user. You get status. The whole place is rigged to make sure you stay, that you are rewarded for being cooperative and expressing the meme of the day and that they threat of losing your entire online community is real and frightening. No one wants to be exiled. It extends to other blogs as well. I'm sure that Digby is on a short leash as is anyone who signs on to the advertising arm of Kos.
It's easier to see how this works if you grew up in a religious cult so I had an edge and my shock and horror of being banished from DailyKos lasted about 30 seconds. Then I laughed and started my own blog. I may be a tiny speck of dust in the Oort belt but I am free to say what I like.
But in general, if you hang out in DailyKos or affiliated "blessed" blogs, you will start to short circuit your thought processes. You will start to use buzzwords to explain politically what's going on and that's just where they want you. You don't think about what "neoliberalism" or DLC really mean or how they may have evolved or how to grade the degree to which individuals adhere to a certain philosophy. You are trained to associate a word with a person, the connotation of that word to those persons and that you will be rewarded with good feelings if you do it right and bad feelings if you do it wrong. I realize that neoliberalism means a great deal to some people but I never could understand why. It never did make a lick of sense that so much emphasis is placed on this one word when people rarely fit into black and white categories. But you can be sure that lefty attitudes about the DLC and corporations and Iran and "war hawk" and other buzzwords come from careful seed planting and harvesting on places like DailyKos.
I would avoid any blog that uses a rating system.

Submitted by lambert on

Never thought of DK that way, but of course you're correct.

* * *

I agree totally on the Kos ratings system; it's encourages all kinds of game playing and is very unhealthy for a community, though I suppose it's good training for party politics.

I did install starts for posts... Because I wanted people to be able to uprate. But there's really no way to downrate.

ek hornbeck's picture
Submitted by ek hornbeck on

But I would argue that without the threat of actual sanction (non-Administrative banishment), what you describe are social interactions of a type that are difficult to avoid.

Of course you want your friends to agree with you and seek them out on certain levels based on that agreement (love bombing). More reprehensibly there is considerable pressure to side with your group in the exclusion of the uncool, who sits at your lunch table and who gets told to move along?

My point would be that free thinkers by the time they are adults are somewhat inured to those slings and arrows. I personally don't much care about outside approval, nice to have but you can't let it color your logic. Even heinous insults (racism) may be ignored if one has sufficient strength of character and conviction.

Getting stoned to death like Tessie Hutchinson is another matter entirely as is putatively empowering the Lottery Villagers.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

It never ceases to surprise me that the Obamatistas can find a new, higher level of shrill defensiveness every time their Lesser of Two Evils does something obvious to shows he's a conservative, corporatist hack.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

"Democratic Party activist" life, so to speak. So, although I have a couple of higher priorities, than rehashing their significant (and enduring) influence on Democratic Party policies, I will throw together a long comment (or short diary) outlining their role in transforming the Democratic Party into a corporatist party (primarily beholden to business).

But, I promise that I'm not going to 'get into the weeds' on the old wars between Obama and Clinton supporters. I wasn't around the blogosphere during that time, and I believe that it would be counterproductive.

My focus will not be not so much on the DLC, as its "replacement" organization, where most those folks migrated--No Labels.

I've got an interesting article to post about the formation of "No Labels." I will outline this is detail later, but thought that I'd mention that a prominent Dem fund raiser and Clintonite, Nancy Jacobson, co-founder of No Labels. BTW, Jacobson is Mark Penn's wife.

The public launch of No Labels was December 2010. And according to Wikipedia's DLC website: "On February 7, 2011, Politico reported that the DLC would dissolve, and would do so as early as the following week."[4]

Other members of No Labels are: Dem Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Dem Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Joe Lieberman, former Dem Senator Evan Bayh, Dem Senator Joe Manchin; Reps. Bob Inglis and Mike Castle; former Florida Governor (and now Democrat) Charlie Crist; Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado; David Brooks; Joe Scarborough; Mika Brzezinski; and David Gergen.[4][15][16][17]

Heck, here's one other paragraph out of the Wikipedia No Labels website:

Cofounders: The Washington Post said, "Although No Labels bills itself as a citizens' movement, its leaders are veterans of campaign politics."[28] No Labels was founded by veteran Democratic fundraiser[11] Nancy Jacobson and Republican political adviser Mark McKinnon. Other co-founders include former U.S. Comptroller David Walker; President of the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation Lisa Borders; CNN contributor John Avlon; former Representatives Tom Davis and Mickey Edwards; Brookings Institution scholar William Galston; political operative Kiki McLean; former Kentucky State Treasurer Jonathan Miller; former Chief of Staff to Senator Joe Lieberman, Clarine Nardi Riddle; and Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich. (The two folks in italics are long-time Clintonites.)

Today, it's "No Labels" that most impedes the progress of a "progressive or liberal agenda."

This is where I real focus should be: Exposing these folks.

There are a lot of folks here who are much more seasoned writers (and bloggers) than I. I hope that some of you will join me in getting the word out about this organization.

This is "where the fight should be."

Not amongst ourselves. :-)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Party and DFA in 2007.

So, no one can put a "guilt trip" on me for truth-telling, LOL!

BTW, thanks for the links to "Let's" diaries. Ironically, it has reminded me that Lady Lynn Forester de Rosthschild was one of the PUMAs that I saw on "Your World With Neil Cavuto."

Apparently, she's been very busy. According to Let's, she's also had a major hand in "No Labels," and in the temporarily defunct Americans Elect. And I know next to nothing about, so I appreciate the info on it.

Maybe I can persuade Let's "to republish" his diaries, when I post mine. He goes into detail in some directions, that my diary won't go.

At any rate, I hope folks follow the link that Lambert provided. Thanks, again, Lambert.


Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Let's' diaries--if he doesn't mind. The only reason I mentioned "republishing," was because I haven't asked (or obtained) his permission to quote him.

Heck, I'll be writing the diary in a "non-scrolling" box, so that shouldn't present a problem for me.

So, Let's, if you see this comment, and don't mind if I refer to, or copy and paste from your diaries, with the appropriate attribution--please let me know.

Otherwise, I'll just borrow Lambert's link. :-)


tom allen's picture
Submitted by tom allen on

I'd add to that the New Democrat Coalition in Congress.

The New Democrat Coalition was founded in 1997 by Representatives Cal Dooley (California), Jim Moran (Virginia) and Timothy J. Roemer (Indiana) as a congressional affiliate of the avowedly centrist Democratic Leadership Council, whose members, including former President Bill Clinton, call themselves "New Democrats."

Current Senators in the NDC: Feinstein, Carper, Nelson, Landrieu, Stabenow, Johnson and Cantwell.

Former Senators: Lincoln, Bayh, Clinton, Graham, Cleland, Miller, Breaux, Carnahan, Edwards, Kerrey, Bryan, Robb, Corzine and Kerry.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Third Way are all variations, or factions of the same ideology.

Don't know if you saw it the other day, but I posted a "blurb" from the NDN that mentioned that at one time, Markos was a NDN fellow, as was Mark Penn. (I believe that he probably is no longer a fellow at NDN, since it was mentioned in his Wikipedia bio--and no longer is.)

Thanks for your input.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

block, I'll need to do more research.

I don't think there's any doubt but what they're a pernicious "force." Their so-called philosophy is definitely anti-democratic, from all that I've read. I've found one very interesting piece from a Texas newspaper, written right after their first organizational meeting in Houston. These folks are scary. :-)