Maryscott O’Connor is a blogging angel. In my battle against the Cult of Kos I never expected anyone to come to my aid. I never expected anyone to blog about my battle there. Which made me all the more amazed to discover yesterday that she’d written a powerful post, Something is Rotten in Blogmark at My Left Wing not only defending me and my Kos diary, but formulating my ideas much more persuasively and cogently than I had. She, of course, has been an intimate member of the Kos community and I haven’t. She knows much more about Kos than I. That’s why I was so pleased and amazed to read how well she framed and echoed my own thoughts:
The diary in question is civil, respectful and well-thought out. There is nothing offensive about it. There are no accusations, no undocumented claims. It is a sensible approach to the issue, which WILL NOT GO AWAY simply because some people don’t think Markos should be held to the standards that he WILL, ultimately, BE held to.
I’m sorry, but if you run a political website and if you have clout that results in lots of people following your lead and sending donations, if your endorsement translates to positive cash flow and footwork for candidates or causes by a large contingent of your website’s membership, then you MUST be transparent. You MUST, or you begin to lose credibility — or, put another way, there begins to be the “appearance of impropriety,” no matter how benign and blameless you may actually BE…
It’s not going to go away. The questions will continue to be asked. And, in my view, the worst possible approach is to respond to the questions with the kind of ludicrous defensiveness and childish displays in the aforementioned diary (at one point people were adding scatological and absurdly offensive tags to the diary itself).
This is what happens when you crash the gates. All of a sudden, you’re not just a pajama-clad kid in his parents’ basement; once you’ve demonstrated your power and influence, people start demanding accountability and transparency. They want to know, for instance, that you aren’t pushing a candidate MERELY because you (or your friends) have been paid by that candidate to do so. It LOOKS bad if you haven’t made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that this isn’t the case…
Which brings me back to the diary that inspired this: do people actually think that loudly and viciously attacking the questioners will make the questions go away? Is DKos supposed to remain a Doubt Free Bubble, where the big bad world and its realities are to be ignored when they do not fit a certain Fairy Tale outlook we wish to maintain about our “home?”
…I want to be able to open up someone’s well-written diary that brings up issues which make me uncomfortable, makes others uncomfortable — and read a levelheaded discussion thereof; perhaps passionate but still rational. I want to be able to declare myself a full-fledged member of the community of Daily Kos without having to QUALIFY that declaration.
I want to stop cringing in embarrassment — for DKos, for myself –every time I read a discussion of a hot button topic where the diarist falls into the minority opinion.
I blog about Israeli-Palestinian peace and I’ve become accustomed to far worse levels of vitriol than the DKos gnats hurled at me in my diary. Nevertheless, I would’ve thought that the progressive community wouldn’t feel the need to eat its young as some at DKos apparently feel the need to do. Why can’t progressives openly discuss tough issues about how we function in the world? Why can’t we question our behavior and try to do better? Why do people like me have to take shit because we’re trying to prevent problems from happening down the line to political bloggers who aren’t transparent enough about their political liaisons?
I only feel badly about one thing. Maryscott did a brave thing in taking on Kos’ acolytes. But she took some horrible shit for it. The insults flung at her where apparently as bad or worse than what they tossed my way. While I know she didn’t do this for me (but rather for the ideas I was trying to raise) I still feel badly that she went through the ringer in a far worse way than I.
I have received some really hateful bilge at this blog for my views. But I can’t remember anyone rising to my defense in as stirring a way before. I am deeply grateful to her both for her defense and for setting my (and her) ideas before a much wider audience than I could’ve done through this blog and my diary at DKos.
Among other choice things, Armando wrote at DKos that I am a “troll.” Undoubtedly he and his fellow thought police think I’m a Republican or at least Democratic fellow-traveler out to do their dirty work for them. They resent what I wrote as an attack on Kos and the left in general (neither of which it is or was meant to be). In fact, one commenter here thought I’d be proud that Mickey Kaus linked to my Cult of Kos post. All I can say is if the cretins who vandalized my tags, troll rated my diary comment and told me to blow my diary out my ass had thought better of their asinine behavior then I wouldn’t have written my post complaining of it, Maryscott wouldn’t have read it and written her own post, and Mickey Kaus would’ve found something else to pick on Kos about. They have only themselves to blame. Sometimes in life if you treat someone like shit you’ll be made to pay for it. This is one of those times. Not that Armando and his merry band of Kosites will see it that way. No doubt they feel infinitely comfortable in their smug self-righteousness. As Kos’ enforcers, they must feel they’re doing the greater good for the cause when in fact they’re injuring it.
Dan Sniderman says
This is one of the reasons why the Right and the Republicans control almost every single apparatus of power in this country. They march in lockstep – won’t criticize even the most extreme offenders (Ann Coulter and the like) – but the Left and the Democrats constantly attack their own at the slightest provocation.
Sad to see to so many behaving like the Lieberman they so despise…
learned hound says
I’m sorry that your diary started a frenzy and that so few people stuck up for you. If I had someplace where I could have defended you, I would have. It’s really quite simple: people who have integrity understand what they have to do to maintain it. They don’t cut corners. They don’t hide the facts. They keep it simple and truthful. On one level, I’m astonished that your diary and subsequent posts caused such huge fallout. Any objective reading of what you wrote makes it clear that you’re not asking anything new of others. You’re just asking that we all conform to a standard we all supposedly agree on in theory. May you have the strength to continue.
Jack Hamilton says
Well Sir while I doubt there would be even one issue that I would agree with you on I believe you to be a man of integrity and honor you just some how got off in the wrong direction in your life. You remind me of a very good friend of mine that is a lawyer that I love to talk with but is badly misguided when it comes to politics and the direction and policy of our nation. I have read Mary Scotts blog for several months now and I believe her to be like you a person of honor and integrity as well just so far off the left spectrum that she will be faced with constant political disappointment because America is not aligned with the far left. I do believe that we have some common ground I like you believe that political blogs should be transparent and should reveal any income derived from politicians. I also think if you get the attention your blog and Mary Scots will do as well as Kos I think a lot of his hits are people like me that want to gaze at the train wreck. I am more than sure Kos will eventually implode I believe that the powers that be do not have your or Mary Scotts sincere values honesty and common decency. It is really a colony of cowards that fear real debate of issues in my opinion because they know that they cannot win in the public arena. I will continue to read your post because though wrong you are honest and I could imagine we could find some common ground in restoring civility to the political world.
This is one of the primary reasons I avoid Daily Kos. Most of the posts and comments devolve into a fight, with insults being hurled irresponsibly. Your post was measured, and thoughtful. I can’t understand why supposedly reasonable, mature adults would behave this way and attack you.
Mary Scott O’Connor’s post, which I read at MLW, was equally appropriate in her defense of you. Still, there was a level of nastiness I don’t usually see at MLW. And I agree with Dan Sniderman’s comment. The Right does manage to keep everyone in lock-step and on point.
Richard Silverstein says
The nasty ones prob. read her diary at DKos (she’d cross-posted her own blog post there) & migrated over to MLW to leave their turds at her doorstep.
Jack Hamilton says
One other thing when the smoke clears it will be people like you and Mary Scott that will emerge with credibility.
Richard Silverstein says
Thank you, my friend (if I may call you that). I appreciate that though we may disagree about politics we still recognize we are both human beings.
I get a lot of ‘dirt’ dropped at my doorstep here in comment threads from conservatives so I can’t tell you how pleasing it is to meet an honorable person of that persuasion.