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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Attending the YearlyKos Convention, Report II

Guest Commentary by Bill Ritter

I wish to thank Doug Paul Davis and the People’s Vanguard of Davis for allowing me to report last Sunday from Chicago and again today on the phenomenally successful YearlyKos Convention, which took place August 1 through August 5.

As I mentioned last week, attending the YearlyKos Convention in Chicago was a real eye opener for me. For four days, fifteen hundred bloggers, political activists and journalists traveling from all over the country learned from each other and exchanged ideas about the Netroots, a national on-line internet community which is dedicated to returning democracy to the people and spawning the “Dawn of a New Politics” for America.

The YearlyKos Convention is the annual gathering of bloggers who use the blog founded by Markos Moulitsas as a way to fight back against the Republican right-wingers, conservative/right-wing talk radio and the Republican propaganda network—Fox News, who have dominated politics in our country for the past 25 years.

It was simply a thrill to be amongst so many progressive citizens committed to taking our country back and repairing the damage of the Bush/Cheney administration.

I have also posted several photos (which will be posted later today) from the convention including a picture of the main stage and the media stage where over one hundred electronic and print media reporters and journalists from across America sat as well as one of me with Charlie & Jan Brown who along with their congressional campaign staff attended the convention too.

Finally, I wish to share with Davis Vanguard readers what the conservative and Republican leaning Chicago Tribune editorialized to their readers on Monday, August 6:


“We might as well admit it up front: The first time we heard of the liberal blogging network known as Daily Kos was when Bill O’Reilly discussed it on his show. Next thing we know, hundreds of ‘Kossacks’ are hunched over their laptops at McCormick Place South, and seven Democratic presidential candidates are lined up to take their questions. Very impressive.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Chairman Howard Dean and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also RSVP’d to YearlyKos, a three day convention for liberal writer-activists. The event drew so much Democratic star power (and so much press) that it didn’t feel like too much of a stretch for the Washington Post to declare it the ‘Democrats’ Other Convention.’, once the personal Web log of native Chicagoan Markos Moulitsas, has evolved into ‘the flagship netroots liberal/progressive/Democratic Web site,’ in other words of a member who blogs under the name “paradox.” That particular entry, posted to welcome and inform curious O’Reilly viewers who are net-savvy enough to find the site, labors to explain what ‘netroots’ are all about. Suffice it to say that Hillary Clinton is the group’s third-favorite presidential candidate, thanks to her relatively hawkish stand on Iraq.

Though they couldn’t find time for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council’s conference earlier in the week, Hillary, Barack and the gang went all-out for YearlyKos, wagering that the bloggers can do for the left what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh have done for the right.

The Republican candidates, meanwhile, are still harrumphing about the format of last month’s CNN/You-Tube debate, in which Democrats responded to videotaped questions submitted by viewers—including one about global warming posed by a digitally enhanced snowman. A similar debate for Republicans looking iffy, with several candidates offering their regrets due to “scheduling conflicts’ while muttering about the erosion of dignity in campaign forums.

‘I don’t know that it makes sense to have people running for president answering questions posed by snowmen,’ former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sniffed.

The Republican National Committee is similarly dismissive of YearlyKos, calling it a ‘panderfest to liberal partisans,’ maybe it is. But in 2007, freedom of the press belongs to anyone who owns a laptop. The YouTube debate drew 2.6 million television viewers and 45.5 million Web page viewers. Candidates who want to harness the power of the new media are going to have to muster up some respect for snowmen—and for bloggers.”