Markos “Kos” Moulitsas has his first Newsweek column out today. Kos went with the surprising route, choosing a topic that broadened his reach to moderate voters and demonstrated his command of the issues and his willingness to listen to all sides.
Instead, he did what Kos does best. Actually, all that Kos does: he attacked George W. Bush. His advice to Democrats? Run against the guy whose name isn’t going to be on the ballot. The same strategy of negativity and partisan idiocy that failed in 2004. In a climate where people are sick to death of the idiotic partisan in-fighting in Washington, the advice of Kos is to give them some more.
It’s the same old partisan hackery that makes The Daily Kos unreadable for anyone who doesn’t already drink the Kool-Aid. There’s no substance, no unifying theme, no desire beyond the mere desire for political power. The end that matters is winning elections. What’s the theory of government? Kos’ “libertarian progressive” meme was so intellectual inherent that most bong-addled freshman poli-sci students could see right through it.
Kos’ argument: that advocating a smaller government means that you hate government. Of course, his thesis is incoherent: since when has George W. Bush been an anti-government ideologue? Many prominent conservatives dislike him precisely because under his watch government has grown dramatically. His argument is that Democrats love government. Which is a great message, except it goes against the mainstream of American politics. His message of Democrats being the party of Big Government plays right into GOP hands. There’s no reason why competent government must mean more government, and given the incompetence of the Democratic field and the Democratic Congress, what Kos is pushing isn’t selling very well.
Compare Kos’ mount of anti-Bush red meat to Karl Rove’s inaugural column. Rove’s column spends more time talking about how a Republican challenger can define himself against Hillary than merely bashing the Democrats. Rove is also a political flack, to be sure, but at least he’s a political flack who knows that the way to win in politics isn’t just to bash the other side. In contrast, Kos comes off as the petulant kid who thinks he’s a political wunderkind but doesn’t have the skills to prove it.
Kos just comes off as another hyperpartisan hack, an attack dog for hire that’s brilliant at preaching to the choir, but doesn’t know how to be persuasive. He’s emblematic of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party these days: reflexively partisan, ideologically adrift, and increasingly extreme. Markos Moulitsas thinks he’s some kind of left-wing Karl Rove, but in comparison with the real thing, he’s just another shrill amateur.