s skippy the bush kangaroo: maybe we should just pay closer attention to the high-profile bloggers in our midst...

skippy the bush kangaroo

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

maybe we should just pay closer attention to the high-profile bloggers in our midst...

i've been thinking this over a little: i really should have seen the transformation in markos moulitsas' behavior coming months before election day. i don't know markos personally -- hell, i've never even met him -- so what follows is based entirely on conjecture drawn from personal experience. i could be flat out wrong about this, but here goes...

markos reminds me of a few of the union stewards i knew years ago when i worked for a paper bag manufacturer. these folks took their steward responsibilities seriously. most of my co-workers couldn't be bothered to attend any of the meetings (i'll admit, i skipped more than a few myself), but whenever the company porked them out of a little money that was rightly theirs, the first person they went complaining to was their union steward -- and most of the time, the porked employees were compensated in a timely manner. these stewards knew that the bag plant knew what its own rules were, and they knew the rules as well. they played sort of an enforcer role in that sense. and they played it very well.

however, when a lower-level management job opened up, the first person the company would usually tap was also a union steward. and not only would they accept the position, their personality would change dramatically. they were still enforcers, but now their focus was on getting the employees to toe the rulebook line. they began acting as if their time as stewards never happened, now that they were on their way to becoming part of the establishment. i ended up developing a distrust of unions based on that alone, one i still haven't quite shaken off: these stewards were just supervisors waiting to get the call. the rest of us served mainly as tools for their supervisory training.

now i see this same dynamic applies among political activists, too. markos is as much of an activist as he ever was, but more and more he engages in his activism on behalf of the democratic leadership, not the democratic voters. he was an insider waiting to get inside all along.

i don't blame him for being that way. to each his own. i blame myself for not picking up on this a lot sooner. maybe i could have rung a bell or something...


posted by Jim Yeager at 8:42 AM |


As far as the union stewards going into management, could it have been that the personality types and drive that led them to be stewards also made them attractive to management?

As for Markos, I would suggest that this was going to happen eventually. As Democratic leadership works harder to please the lefty bloggers, they'll naturally turn to them to give them jobs and personal favors like interviews and meetings.

This was a great post, by the way.
commented by Blogger K T Cat, 5:53 AM PDT  
Thank you.

You may be right about personality types. I don't really know -- that would require more speculation on my part, because I'm not driven by a need to wield influence over other people. But I will say that, at least on the blue-collar level I know so well, the main reason management is management and labor is labor is because the latter's unofficial motto is "Git 'r done" whereas the former's unspoken credo is "Keep 'em busy." The ones who figure this out tend to gravitate toward the management ranks.

I've concluded that these people figure that sucking prick is better than getting butt-fucked because it's less physically painful. Given the choice, I'd rather deal with getting butt-fucked. At least I know where my bosses' pricks have been...
commented by Blogger Mimus Pauly, 6:59 AM PDT  
Apt analogy. This makes a lot of sense, and the next question is what direction will the "great blob of the progressives" go? Will they follow the kos slug slime trail? Or will they head off in a different direction?

On another smaller note, I started a web ring for progressive healthcare bloggers. Click on the button on my blog to join. There are way too many very conservative healthcare bloggers out there who are more than happy to close the doors to as many as they can regarding healthcare coverage and access. It's time that the progressive gather steam and take a more active stance.

Skippy - would you consider putting the web ring button on your site?
Or giving me some advice as to where I could successfully get it displayed?

commented by Anonymous N=1, 7:09 AM PDT  

I've done both. When I managed, the hardest thing to do was find leaders. We always needed team leaders and project managers. You could never have enough. Anyone what showed an aptitude was courted, trained, and helped into a management position.

I think you're being a little too hard on both sides here. Without these people, there are significant limits on the complexity of the jobs that you can do. Anarchists didn't build the Golden Gate Bridge, you know.

Having said that, I'd love to see an artist's conception of what it would have looked like. :-)
commented by Blogger K T Cat, 7:51 AM PDT  
I like Markos. The only reason my dKos UID is 242 is because I slept in the day they switched to Scoop, I was a regular long before that. But I don't visit now more than every three weeks or so. Like Yogi Berra said about a once hot nightclub "Nobody goes there anymore, it is too crowded"

But it was clear right from the beginning that Markos wanted to be a player. I vividly remember the post when he triumphantly announced that Terry McAuliffe returned his call. dailyKos and by extention Markos had made an impression. And I was happy for Kos, on the day he got that call he had Crashed the Gate.

Markos always wanted to be a political operative working to elect Democrats within the confines of the Democratic Party. His political positions were always anti-war and progressive but his motivations were not activist in the traditional sense of bomb throwing from the outside, while he may have urged Crashing the Gate all he ever wanted is a seat at the table. This was abundantly clear by 2002 at latest. Now he has got a seat and good for him. But this is nothing new, back in the day it was not even anything he was hiding.

Markos is right in his dream position, his blogging hobby not only provides him a living but has made him a Brand Name and given him a position at the table of Democratic Party leadership. He not only has a seat at the table, via his early support for Dean actually has moved the table position.

Which is not to say your general observations on union stewards were wrong, in my experience they are right, they just don't apply to Markos. In his case he was a Steward that was not promoted to management but by the union itself, he hasn't become the equivalent of a Supervisor, instead he is a Union Representative with a seat at Council. Which doesn't mean he isn't distanced from line workers, he has just transitioned to a different role.
commented by Blogger Bruce Webb, 7:53 AM PDT  
So, basically, you're saying he was bought off with authority?
commented by Blogger Carl, 8:37 AM PDT  
markos has proven himself to be just another self-interested suck-up as far as i am concerned (along with numerous other bloggers who i won't bother to name here). i am so thoroughly disgusted with the entire so-called democratic party that after having been a "member" for over thirty years, i'm throwing aside the yoke and re-registering as an independent.

the november 2006 election was apparently a complete joke -- on the voters. having awoken to that being the case, proven over and over since november 2006, i refuse to continue to associate with their little game.

pelosi, reid, obama, h. clinton and all the rest can go blow chunks along with their republican counterparts. they're all cut from the same cloth, and the sooner "the rest of us" understand that ... well, we'll understand and act accordingly, whatever that might be. personally, i'm looking at australia as an option out of this nightmare.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:15 AM PDT  
i have a slightly different view of markos and the focus he offers on his site... he obviously enjoys contests and follows odds and percentages obsessively... you're probably all also aware that he publishes a number of sports blogs and is an avid sports fan... if you follow the tenor of his posts, they're almost always about a political contest somewhere, usually accompanied by a lot of statistics consisting mostly of polling data... it's been my view for a long time that markos is a frustrated bookmaker who would be quite at home working in vegas and running a sports book operation... just a thought...
commented by Blogger profmarcus, 10:36 AM PDT  
Well, I've observed that for the most part people get more conservative as they get older. This is usually because they have more to lose, or the realization that you have more than you thought you did to lose.

Markos might have come to the realization that while we have lost quite a bit over the past few years, we have a helluva lot more important things to lose, things that can be fought for either at the table or in the streets. He chose the one that is less likely to spill as much innocent blood (a group which his growing family belongs to).

My 2ยข.
commented by Blogger Blogtopus, 10:38 AM PDT  
damn, if this post wasn't already on my blog, i'd link to it.

very astute observations, mimus.
commented by Blogger skippy, 10:55 AM PDT  
Personally? I don't pay any attention to kos anymore. Why should any of us? dKos stats have him slipping into third behind HuffPo and C&L on Alexa.

The King is long since dead,
Long live the undisputed Queen of Blogtopia...

(Yep... Some roo on this Blog coined that phrase!)
commented by Blogger Connecticut Man 1, 1:54 PM PDT  
"Nobody goes there anymore, it is too crowded"

the perfect discription of Daily Kos.

Kos was a small time political consultant, Daily Kos originated as a loss leader and grew to its present status.

I don't go there anymore and I dont' recommend it, but he has contributed something splendid to American discourse. He played a great role in the battle against The Path to 9/11 and many other things.

It is more important to reward Booman Tribune, The Agonist and others who are doing important work rather than rag on Kos.
commented by Blogger Alice, 6:04 PM PDT  
alice is right, especially in her pick of booman and agonist.

i'd add crooks & liars, and, if you can get the mood, firedoglake, and of course my buddy msoc's my left wing.

plus, be sure to patronize all the winners of golden monkefister award (see my right hand side bar).
commented by Blogger skippy, 11:15 PM PDT  
I have said many times that what Markos has done for blogtopia is incredible, and I always will say that. It's just that in recent months, some of his opinions have put me off, in much the same way the stewards-turned-supervisors I referred to did. I don't read his site as much as I used to, but I still link to it. I'm not going to de-link him just because he keeps doing and saying things I don't agree with.

Unless he says something like he's for the Iraq war -- then I'll drop him from my blogroll stat.

Bruce Webb's analogy is better than mine. But I wasn't too thrilled with some of my union reps, either...
commented by Blogger Mimus Pauly, 6:00 AM PDT  
it's an interesting analogy (and as a union lawyer i am familiar with the effective labor leader becoming an asshole when promoted to management phenomenon). i'm not sure if it is completely accurate in the case of kos though.

this is similar to what someone said above, but my impression is that markos always wanted to be a player in the democratic machine. he made no bones about it. though left of center, he was never particularly progressive. and he quickly displayed the tendency to drop liberal causes for the sake of the political party.

despite all that, kos somehow got the reputation of being a leftist. maybe it was because that's what the wingnuts call him, but it was never accurate. i think liberals still were taken in by it. but again, i don't think kos has changed at all, and he has always been pretty up front with where he stood and what he thought was important. a lot of disillusion with kos seems to have more to do with people discovering the kos that was all along rather than a reaction to any sort of transformation. people want him to be something else, but he's not. he never was.

kos is actually quite a good site if an election is coming up and you want constant up-to-date analysis of the polls. but it's not a good place for policy discussion. the game of politics always takes precedence over the policies themselves there. i think that just reflects kos' personality. he's an imperfect leader of the progressive cause because he's not a progressive himself. it's just through an accident of history that he ended up being the face of left blogitopia

at least that's how i see it.
commented by Blogger upyernoz, 7:58 AM PDT  
Markos said he was a progressive in the first post he wrote at dailykos. Maybe he was at the time. I certainly thought he was, for a while. Instead, he's proven that he's a party man first and a progressive later -- if at all. I say if that's what he wants, more power to him.

Why that's what he wanted, I can't say. I don't see the appeal...
commented by Blogger Mimus Pauly, 9:45 AM PDT  

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