Moderately conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an op-ed Sunday (available at TimesSelect for those interested) without much good things to say about the uber-liberal blog Daily Kos. Brooks didn’t have much positive things to say about its proprietor, or its automaton devotees either. Brooks began:
“They say that the great leaders are gone and politics has become the realm of the small-minded. But in the land of the Lilliputians, the Keyboard Kingpin must be accorded full respect.
“The Keyboard Kingpin, aka Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, sits at his computer, fires up his Web site, Daily Kos, and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way. And in this way the Kingpin has made himself a mighty force in his own mind, and every knee shall bow.”
Brooks astutely pointed out an extraordinary hypocrisy concerning Zuniga. On the one hand, Markos has made it very clear that he detests the Democratic establishment, and all politicians that aren’t extremely left-wing. For instance, Zuniga is quite anti-Hillary Clinton, is opposed to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and is actively supporting Ned Lamont to beat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.
Yet, as Brooks pointed out, regardless of your politics, if you bow to Zuniga, you can easily curry his favor:
“But the centrist Democrat Mark Warner has also hired [Zuniga’s co-author and one-time business partner Jerome] Armstrong as a consultant, and the Kingpin has graciously exempted Warner from the seventh circle of Kos hell. Warner is frequently celebrated on Daily Kos as something akin to the second coming of F.D.R.
"And so it is in the realm of the Kingpin. Those who offer respect get respected.”
Brooks then pointed out another marvelous hypocrisy. One of Zuniga’s huge issues at Daily Kos is political corruption. A favorite target of his is former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. And, Markos loves a conspiracy theory much more than a Gershwin tune. Yet, Zuniga apparently can abide such activity, as well as advocate covering it up, when it occurs in his own house:
“Chris Suellentrop, who writes the Opinionator column on TimesSelect, posted an item on June 16 noting the strange correlation between Armstrong contracts and Kos endorsements. He further reported that the S.E.C. has filed court documents alleging that in 2000 Armstrong touted a dubious software stock on a Web site in exchange for secret payments. Armstrong was accused of building Internet buzz to make money for himself.”
Rather than forcing Armstrong to confess to his misdeeds and/or immediately separate ties with him much as Zuniga has demanded President Bush do with Karl Rove, Zuniga, according to Brooks, orchestrated a cover-up of his own:
“In a private letter to hundreds of his fellow progressive bloggers, the Kingpin declared he would 'go on the offensive' in a 'couple of months,' but in the meantime, a code of omerta was in order. 'It would make my life easier if we can confine the story,' he wrote. 'If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen.’''
Isn’t that special? Of course, as many of you know, not everybody followed Zuniga’s marching orders. Someone sent this e-mail message to The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle, who then posted it at TNR’s website. So, what did Zuniga do? According to Brooks, he excommunicated the magazine by advocating to his members that they cancel their subscriptions.
In the end, according to Brooks, Zuniga is not what he professes:
As are all of the politicians he and his ilk revere.
“But the truth is that the new boss is little different from the old boss -- only smaller. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats bow and scrape. He has managed to spread the gospel of Kossism far and wide, which is not really about ideas and philosophy. 'I'm just all about winning,' he has said.”