It's hard to believe, but it was ten years ago today that I joined DailyKos. Ten years? It does not seem like that long ago that we were following the rise of and fall (and rise again) of Howard Dean. And it was Howard Dean that brought me here, tangentially, and I believe that was true for many others. That was the first presidential campaign in which the internet was a major factor, and this site benefited tremendously from that movement. Or was it that the movement benefited tremendously from this site? Either way, I think to understand DailyKos, it helps to understand that moment in history. An explosion of frustration at the timidity of Democratic politicians who were still shell-shocked from Dukakis's epic collapse in 1988. It was as if a spell had been cast over liberal-land. To succeed as a Democrat, you had to accept Republican frames. I believe the purpose of this site was to break that spell.
And pooties. Musn't forget the pooties.
Some personal thoughts on the last ten years after the orange swishy.
So has DailyKos succeeded? Although I think we can at times be a little too self-congratulatory, it's impossible to deny this site's impact. It may also be impossible to truly gauge that impact, as we're dealing with a lot of intangibles, but when you consider the money we've raised for progressive candidates, the issues we've promoted into the mainstream, the information we've disseminated, and just the sheer number of visitors, it's clear this site has made a very real difference in the world. Today it feels different than it did ten years ago. Even though Obama often does cede those Republican frames, it seems more like misguidedness than fear. That's his unfortunate style, the "Middleman." But as frustrating as it can be, he didn't campaign as a Republican:
We do have to give some credit to Gore, who chose to run a populist campaign (although, I think his choice of Lieberman showed some jitteriness). Had there been a resource like DailyKos in 2000, I think it would have helped Gore earn a wide enough margin to overcome the shenanigans in Florida.
It's not as bad as it used to be. We're making progress, we're slowly changing the conversation. I think perhaps the greatest role this site plays is that we enable progressive candidates. Politicians are like performers in some sense. They crave an audience, they want to feel appreciated. And because we have this enormous, vocal, and active online community, it really does allow for the Elizabeth Warren's out there.
I credit the success of DailyKos to a little bit of luck, good timing, technological fortuitousness (without Scoop, would this ever have happened?), but mostly to Markos's aggressive management and moderating. There have been several times over the past ten years when I have seen this site on the verge of degrading into chaotic nonsense, and Markos did a great job of keeping the community focused and on topic, often by purging its noisiest members. There have been banishments that I thought technically unfair, but some of those unfair banishments I was very pleased about.
Personally, this site has served as an endless source of entertainment, or at the very least, a worthy distraction. I just went back and looked at all the diaries I've written and found it to be an interesting ten-year journal of thoughts and ideas I never would have bothered to otherwise document. Where did I come up with stuff? But I've found my desire to post waning the last couple of years. The site has become so very large, and there is so much excellent talent contributing, it's rare that I have something to say that hasn't already been said. So I think on this momentous ten year anniversary, I'm just going to make it official and retire from posting. OK, it's not quite GBCW. I'll still be reading and commenting. And I will be blogging at my site, zaiquiri.com. There may still be some rare exceptions, especially in 2016, when I may not be able to resist jumping into the fray. (Perhaps the most fun I've had on this site was arguing with people on whether or not Al Gore would run. I won a LOT of bets.) But for the most part, I'm hanging it up.
Out of the 286 diaries I've posted, these are a few of the greatest hits:
Peggy Noonan is a Freaking Genius
Republican Apology greeting cards
The Rosetta Stone for Diary Titles
Polls Show Unfair Weighting to Obama
Mitt Romney's first 50 tweets as president
Here's to another ten years (even if I'm just lurking).