We are engrossed in an important debate: reforming our healthcare. As we move forward the question of "how we conduct that debate" has become a major source of debate, which is good, because the ends to a means should not be taken lightly.
A while back we were asking ourselves the question: Should we welcome bloggers here who are paid by another blog? I think the time has come for us to revisit the question.
It gave me some pause, though I never really voiced it. And here is why. It leads to things like this.
When you've got another blogger who does things in a very different way trying to influence this blog, it opens up a big can of crap. What happens when the seller doesn't like the buyer? Or vice versa?
In our case, we have a seller who uses some pretty nasty tactics. Yes, I'm talking about Jane Hamsher just so there's no confusion. She's not above things like name-calling.
She's not above casting aspersions on those who don't share her view of things -- which is apparently that the president is hellbent on selling us out on health care. Anyone who disagrees with this take must be a paid shill for the insurance companies.
She's been buying and selling the Rec List for some time now. Now, I want to draw a distinction between Hamsher and the people she employs. Some of them are all right. However their work sometimes crosses the line into that which isn't that helpful.
Too often, rumors and innuendo are used to whip up the site into a fine frothing fury that serves little purpose. If we're fueled by misinformation, rudeness and a disregard for the knowable facts, what exactly separates us from those who creech about death panels and pulling grandma's plug? I'd like a little more daylight between us and the Teabaggers, personally.
Now, I myself have stirred things up here in a similar way, and the results were so frightening to me that I vowed never to do it again. For one thing, it's all to easy to inspire self-defeating hatred. For another, it should be morally repugnant to us.
To put it another way, in a room full of political junkies, one should never shout "Fire!"
So I'm not trying to second-guess the work of people like nyceve and slinkerwink, who do hard and often diligent work. But I am questioning whether or not we want the Hamsher/FDL influence at Daily Kos to continue. It's our own recommends and mojo that fuel this scheme. We have to ask ourselves what we've gotten in return for buying in.
Have we seen more progress on the health care battle? Have more Senators and Representatives flipped as a result of our efforts? Since we decided to accommodate FDL's influence have we, at the very least, grown more close together so we can better function as a unit? I would argue that we haven't.
Instead we've got a blogger paymaster snarking at us from another Web site. As for me, I've had enough and I'm not supporting it anymore. This place is emotionally charged enough without outside help. Nerves are raw enough without some leftier-than-thou agitator stepping on them and laughing at us.
I believe Daily Kos should belong to Kossacks. Not influence peddlers who try to buy and sell this site and exploit our influence. Whether they tell us this is what they're doing or not, I think a pay-for-play system leads to demagogues like Hamsher thinking she can dictate the terms of our political discussions here. No one person has that right. All we can do is put in our two cents, like I'm doing here.
I've been watching this unfold for a while now. I am a Kossack. I love this place. It's the only place I blog and the only place I want to blog. I know I'll anger a few in offering this opinion, but it comes from a place of wanting us to do better. And of course, you know I'm not being paid to say this. This is my view. For free. If you don't like it, please return unused portion for full refund.