A Hard Day's Blogging.
Many have wondered - whats it like being a leading left-wing blogger? How is it possible to both be both venomous AND sheeplike. Does David Brooks even know what sheep are? Are there strange Australian sheep, evolved to be as poisonous as everything else on on that continent? Would they need to get fangs, or would the venom just drip, like in a komodo...
PAY ATTENTION! This isn't about what you want to think about, its about what I want you to think about!
So let me demonstrate how tough it really can be.
Yesterday, I was just finishing up a post about how awesome Lieberman's new campaign strategy was. I mean, we've been asking our Democratic leadership to fight back with the same tools the right wing always uses on us - gross personal smears, outright lies, using their weaknesses to attack us, strong message framing - and there is Lieberman, doing it! Its like a dream come true. Well, except in my dream he's using it against the right wing, instead of against other democrats, but thats really a small quibble. You've got to crawl before you walk, right?
So I'm about to hit "publish", but suddenly there's an IM chirping at me. Could be him? It is! Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the Kingpin himself! Or as I like to call him, "DailyKos".
"Don't publish that! That is off message! We come to bury Lieberman, not praise him"
Damn! How does he always know when I'm about to publish something? I mean, I'm grateful that he cares enough to correct me, but his powers are spooky.
"But DailyKos, isn't this a positive step forward for our party? Its like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove had a baby, and he joined the Lieberman team."
It wasn't long before DailyKos cleared it all up for me. "We do not like Lieberman. He is too strong an independent voice in the Democratic Party. We want our people in place, people like George Lamont, who will remember who their boss is. Me."
"I don't know", I responded, "that ad Lieberman did with the bear from 1992 or whenever really made me think about just how vast the Lamont conspiracy must be. I mean, has that bear even been in politics in the past decade? That's some scary long range thinking. And whats with the bandaged leg? Political metaphors are always so confusing. Hey.... how the heck do bears even get into politics? They can't even speak! Still, Lieberman is one tough hombre to go to the mat with a bear and wi..."
"PAY ATTENTION! This isn't about what you want to think about, its about what I want you to think about!"
"Sorry, sir, what?"
"Sorry DailyKos, sir."
I was crestfallen. I had really let him down. Hey almost never made me call him by his puerile nickname. I usually remembered to do it on my own.
"Look, let me explain something about my childhood. I was in El Salvador in the late '70s during the civil war and I saw government as a life-and-death situation. There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists. The concept of government is important. I remember bullets flying in the marketplace and watching on television as government soldiers executed guerrillas. I also remembers watching footage of the Solidarity movement in Poland. I was 9, and I asked my father what that was all about. My father, a furniture salesman, said, "It's just politics." I said, "Tell me all about it." "
I was moved that DailyKos would reveal this to me. But it was chilling. What does it mean?
"What does it mean, DailyKos, sir?"
"God dammit! Were you still thinking about bears in politics? Because I couldn't be more plain. I said Government is important. Obviously I love goverment. But when my dad said "It's just politics", I said "tell me about it.""
Oh, this was so much tougher than him simply telling me what to think. "Erm... so you were asking your dad to explain how politics was being played out through such violent means, and why he felt it would make so little difference that he put a diminuitive "just" to describe the political process in the country?"
"NO! It clearly means I hate politics. I love government, and hate politics. How much clearer could a story be?!"
I was more crestfallen. This was not going well. "But.. but... but... you support all those candidates and encourage them to write directly to the public on your site and raise money for long shots and stuff? How can you hate politics?"
There was a long pause. Daily Kos has a lot of internal rage, and I know at moments like this its better just to let him work it out. He was probably lashing out at a major media figure on his blog until he calmed down enough to deal with me. But finally, "My friend, I'm sorry. It was wrong of me to expect you to understand so much."
Oh, thank God! He was going to be nice to me.
He continued, "Supporting alternative candidates against party insiders IS an expression of hate against politics. It's complicated to follow, I know. Few people really get that ... Brooks, Siegel, Zengerle ... and frankly, they are all scrotum lickers."
I was almost weeping. "Please, tell me what you want me to do."
"Just kill that piece about Lieberman. Why don't you write a hit piece on Lee Siegel? That's always fun, right?"
"It is, DailyKos, sir. Maybe I'll send him some e-mails, too."
"Good, good. Thank you for your hard work. Oh and remember, we never had this conversation."
It will never see the light of day, I thought, and closed the IM.
So, there you see just how much work it really is. But its worth it. I got some great inspiration there for my last insightful blog entry "Lee Siegel Can Lick My Scrotum".