Political Fighting in the Blogosphere

We've stayed clear of the controversy surrounding Markos of Daily Kos in the hopes that it would all die down. Yesterday, John Kerry's blog removed Daily Kos from it's blogroll. We hope this is temporary. Some conservatives are now calling contributions from Kos' readers "dirty money." That's absurd. So, we're going to weigh in.

Matt Stoller, writing for Blogging of the President, has a comprehensive chronicle of events along with meaningful commentary on the implications of the controversy for the rights of political free speech.

Markos is a friend of our's. We've spent hours with him - and his wife. He even designed TalkLeft for us, gratis. We've watched him grow from trying to get a few hundred hits a day to getting a thousand hits by noon (another landmark) to where he is now: the largest and most widely read liberal political blogger in the blogosphere. He's earned every visitor to Daily Kos with his hard work, intelligence and uncanny grasp of all things related to politics and the internet. He grew up in war-torn El Salvador and served as an enlisted U.S. soldier in Gulf War I. He has a law degree. He is an incredibly talented pianist. He and his wife just had this beautiful baby. He's our friend.

We will make our position very clear: We wholeheartedly support Markos. He made a comment most people find objectionable and then retracted it and explained why he made it. To us, it should be the end of the story. Any attempt to inflate it or even to keep it alive has little to do with Markos, and everything to do with right-wing conservatives trying to make political hay out of it. This has become a right-wing ploy to debase the left. Don't let it happen. Don't let them win. This is no longer just about Markos or Daily Kos, but about the right wing's attempt to use its muscle to destroy one of the most potent, prominent liberal voices out here--and if they succeed, to then silence all of us.

We believe that this will go away, although as Matt Stoller says, it's bound to happen again on both sides of the political aisle, due to the nature of blogging on the Internet which creates a permanent record of every word we write. As for the "liberal bloggers" who have criticized Markos, we'd point out that most of them are not really liberals but centrist Democrats. Shame on them. We discount their criticism and suggest you do too. What's really at stake here is censorship and the right wing's attempt to make legitimate, mainstream liberal bloggers out to be extremists so that the Democratic candidates will fear being aligned with them and forego advertising on their blogs, causing them to raise less money and thereby reducing their chances of winning back the Presdidency and a majority of seats in Congress.

One more thing. We are not trashing Instapundit or including him as one of the right-wing conservatives we caution against above. Instapundit is more of a libertarian and he can be liberal on criminal justice issues--his bashing of the Rave Act is but one example. We also note his last comment about the controversy was one in which he said he was glad that Kos is continuing to blog. While we disagree with him on military and many political issues, we don't think he set out on a campaign to destroy Markos or Daily Kos, as other right-wing bloggers and some reporters clearly have done in the wake of his original posting about it.

The right wing's attempt to turn one small comment into a political wildfire that spreads through the blogsphere creating division, dissension and damage to the left must be stopped. Forget Markos' original comment and focus on the big picture - removing the extremist right from power, restoring balance to our government and protecting sacred institutions like our independent judiciary. Markos and Daily Kos are tremendous assets for the Democrats. They should embrace him, rather than distance themselves from him.

Update: Atrios makes some changes in blogging policy in response to the Daily Kos controversy.

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