Michael J. Smith's report from the Daily Kos convention in Las Vegas...
The Kosniks, as I found when I first arrived, are not bad people. On the contrary, they are smart, engaging, well-meaning, and energetic, and a good many of 'em are, well, attractive. But after three days, I'd had enough of them, and then some. Couldn't wait to get to the airport -- and in this day and age, that says something.Here's a test: go to Daily Kos on any single day, and check out how much of the content is dedicated to getting someone elected as opposed to winning on some political initiative of importance.
The Kosniks are cultists, and there is, ultimately, nothing more tiresome. They've invested so much, emotionally, in the Democratic Party that it's made them rather shallow and monotonous. All their thinking, all their energy, is bent toward getting people like Massa and Sestak -- and ultimately, Warner or Hillary Clinton -- into office. As the song says:One, two, three, what're we fighting for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn...No doubt they all started with a vision, a generous, humane vision. But the instrument they chose to realize their vision has turned them into its instruments instead.
I see the problem here as being one shared by liberal Democrats in general. They have no theory of how capitalism has evolved into its current crisis-situation, and so they like capitalism when it grants them a profit, and they dislike it (or something similar which they misidentify, like "the system") when it does something obviously bad like give us President Bush. Every position they take is an ad hoc, knee-jerk, response to the latest headline. Getting Democrats elected becomes more important to the most committed of the bunch than changing the political landscape. They are part of the reason American politics is in the mess it is in.