Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

The Las Vegas airport provides free wireless.  Awesome.  

Yearly Kos was a significant historical milestone.  Every person there was a leader, articulate, smart, and substantive.  I have three observations.

1) The surprise to me was how normal it all felt, in the sense that we were all there to do work and discuss substance.  It didn't feel like the first Yearly Kos, it felt more like a continuation of a project we all began years ago.  

2) We have a culture of liberalism.  I know that sounds 'soft', but the laughing liberally folk and the comedians at the event mixed perfectly with the bloggers because we are a movement.  Every significant political movement rests on cultural foundations, and I think that the punk ethos and the development of the ironic collegiate comedy style of the 1970s has coalesced into a cultural base for what we're doing.  It's a clear counter to the 'real America' meme of Mudcat Saunders faux-heartland schtick and the liberal NYT Hollywood elitists.  We are neither of them, and we have mainstream cultural roots that are as powerful as our political ideas.

3) MyDD has a real and wonderful community of thoughtful and experienced political actors.  I wish more of you would consider commenting, and I'm going to think hard about how to make it more pleasant for you to participate online the same way we did at the amazing MyDD caucus.  For starters, I'm going to try hanging out more in the comment threads, and I'm going to make a stronger effort to use the rating system.

Ok, so I know I said I have three observations, but Chris is the numbers guy, so here's a fourth.

4) Every political convention I've been to is full of weirdos.  That was not true of Yearly Kos.  People there were normal and connected to a mainstream American lifestyle that is missing from the elite press corps, the 'K-Stree Centrists' of the Democratic establishment, and the weird and insular state machines that control political all over the country.

I know it's kind of a cliche to say that everyone can and should be a leader.  In the case of this convention, it wasn't a cliche.  Everyone there was doing something innovative and unique to take power for the ordinary American who is left out of our political system and public discourse.  There were only a thousand of us there, but as I was reminded on one panel, that's fewer people than were at the Constitutional Convention.  

Anyway, thank you for being part of this community.  I owe you a great deal for your brilliance and constant criticism.  Literally nothing I do in politics would be possible without you.  

If you weren't at Yearly Kos, LinkTV and PoliticsTV has some good video and there should be flickr streams all over the place (neutron, can you email me your flickr url?).

Tags: Yearly Kos (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

I wish more of you would consider commenting

Ok, fine! You sucked a lurker in. I even made an account!

I'm sure there are more of you out there like me.. that being you browse through here, Kos, other leftoblogs, but never really contribute -- rather, we graze on the grassroots..

Stop grazing.. JOIN IN!

by ixos 2006-06-12 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

I have to say, reading this, coupled with watching videos from Yearly Kos, did inspire me to join in with the commenting more often.  I feel like I should get the idea what the readers think here, and look forward to being more involved!

by John Nicosia 2006-06-12 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Thanks for coming aboard.  Blog commenting is pretty addictive, so be careful... :)

I'm commenting from the Chicago airport, which also has wifi.  Do all airports now have wifi or something?

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Same here. I've been a blog reader for years. I suppose it's time to start speaking out!

by cjw79 2006-06-12 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

alright, alright you've got me as well.  from lurking in the shadows for months to trying a timid comment.......

by taylor 2006-06-12 10:01PM | 0 recs
i'm so jealous

that i missed ykos.

i'm going to take some time tonight and watch the videos.  congrats on a very successful gathering!

by annatopia 2006-06-12 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: i'm so jealous

Well me too. But what you are doing in Texas is hugely important.

Congratulations

by Bruce Webb 2006-06-12 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: i'm so jealous

I met David Harris.  He's a supercool guy.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Matt, it was a pleasure to meet you and every single person there.  I am exhausted but energized.  While the panels and an speeches were great, the real strength of Yearly Kos was what happened in the hallways, parties and by the pool.  We know each other so much better now and that will be such an advantage moving forward.

We weren't a day into it when people starting talking about looking forward to the next one and getting more people there.  I for one would leap at the chance to spend another four days with this amazing community.

by juls 2006-06-12 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

There were only a thousand of us there, but as I was reminded on one panel, that's fewer people than were at the Constitutional Convention.

fewer?



Keep it short. DemocraticShortList.com

by Rob in Vermont 2006-06-12 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

By 'fewer' I meant 'more'.

That was Parachutec who said that, btw.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Conventions full of what?

Weirdos?

Keep this in mind as people are groaning about the circulation of the "tin foil hat" pictures.

(Bonus points, by the way, for identifying the, er, "gentleman" in the photo.)

by Kagro X 2006-06-12 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Conventions full of what?
    Is that Joe Waldholtz, husband of former one-term Congresslady Enid Greene Waldholtz?
    That's my best guess.
by Zack from the SFV 2006-06-12 12:01PM | 0 recs
Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!

That's the guy.

by Kagro X 2006-06-13 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Awesome Matt.  I really liked what you had to say at the Youth Outreach presentation.  I felt there was some unfair Dean bashing going on.  My thoughts are that he's in a really tough spot - he's half in and half out of DC.  

Schumer and Emmanuel are giving him shit and no doubt those people don't want younger voters.  

Don't get me wrong, I think Paul Yandura is right also about us (glbt) getting a lot of talk and not much else, but if Dean fulfills on his promises from the National Stonewall Convention then we should all be in a better place.  

Also, thanks for stickin up for us Matt.  You're a great guy.

Oh, and btw, whatever the rest of you might think, I am NOT a "special interest."  

by dayspring 2006-06-12 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Hey thanks.  Youth voting is not an investment problem, it is a strategic problem.  The lack of investment is an outgrowth of that.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Heh, some of the more righty reports I've seen say YearlyKos was boring (only the speakers talked politics, everyone else was just nice and polite) and uh, boring.

by MNPundit 2006-06-12 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Totally boring.  We did things like talk about policy and politics.  No frothing, like not even a little.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Awright, count me in on commenting more.  I'm often over at dKos, and "lurk" on over here occasionally.  

I'll become more active here; of course, when time allows.  

I'd like to attend the next dKos, but that $$ on hand to do so will be the decision maker.  However, what would be cool would be 6-month regional conventions.  Like a Northwest, Midwest, or S. Cal Primer - for example.  Just a thought.

Sure would have liked to attended this one, though.  From all the accounts posted over at dKos, it looked like much fun and fabulous knowledge being passed around.  Very cool.

by smugbug 2006-06-12 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Regional is right.  I hope we move that direction.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

I am wanting to attend the next YearlyKos.  I hope the organizers get more help.

by stumpy 2006-06-12 12:06PM | 0 recs
Quality

I promise to comment on everything! (Especially stuff I know nothing about.)

by Nezua Limon Xoloquinta Jonez 2006-06-12 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Quality

Good.  And I promise to keep writing poorly sourced thoughtless screeds.

:)

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism
We also posted a couple of video dispatches from YearlyKos up on YouTube:
Power of the Blogosphere and Putting Faces to Screen names.
by clockwerks 2006-06-12 12:51PM | 0 recs
yes I agree.

and (i'm sure there is a lot of cross pollination and all), but for those that didn't check it out at the time... I have picture streams of ykos. So that those that were there "only in spirit" could enjoy it as well.

It's too bad I didn't get any pictures of the Aquacaucus.

Stoller! Let's talk about that thing, i'm going to whip together a "how we failed with DiFi" thing when I catch up on work and e-mail and everything else.

-C.

by neutron 2006-06-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: yes I agree.

Let's do it, neutron.  

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Maybe these conventions are important just so people can actually see each other once in a while but beyond that NOTHING has changed on the ground. In fact it's gotten worse as far as I can see. Soon the BIG Telcoms will be sealing off the Internet and turning it into just another Corp. owned francise to stuff the same endless crap in our faces and have the nerve to call it choice and (sic) freedom. So enjoy the moment but don't get to excited just yet. Sorry to have to be the turd in the punchbowl folks.

by Blutodog 2006-06-12 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism


Sorry to have to be the turd in the punchbowl folks.

That's fine.. we need people to keep us grounded I think.

However, I think that right now we're kind of in a calm before the storm.  Think long-term.  What I think YearlyKos accomplished was a massive reinforcement of the community fostered by our side of the blogosphere.  This can only translate into better results later on, as we continue to build on what we have.

And as far as Net Neutrality goes, you have me there.  I'm scared, and Biden and Carper are on my short to-do list tomorrow.

by ixos 2006-06-12 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

If we lose this medium where and how do we take the fight? The Repugs and their allies want to turn America into "the Truman Show" writ large and so far from what I can see they just might get away with it for  a very long time. They are becoming in their own way more and more like the Chinese and the Russians in respect to how they want to control all the INFO high ground and smash down anyone or any group that tries to organize against them. I watched how Nixon crushed the anti-war movement in the late 60's through  the use of agent provoceutars and spies and a lot of what these people are doing has built on that attempt. This time though it's much better organized, financed and thought out. They aren't making many mistakes and they have great depth in their reserves. One other thing is different this time as well. I sense that for whomever is behind this slow take over it doesn't really matter which Rethug is on top. Bu$h if he fails is somewhat irrevelant to this "Shadow Gov't" they'll just find another "useful idiot."

by Blutodog 2006-06-13 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Culture of Strong Liberalism

You mentioned this in response to one of my comments at the brunch on Sunday, and I totally agree.  There's great value in liberals and progressives having FUN.  Let's keep laughing and mocking and self-deprecating our way to victory.

by dday 2006-06-12 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Culture of Strong Liberalism

No.  No fun.  EVER.  Do you hear me?

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously though

Sleep, first we need sleep.

by juls 2006-06-12 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously though

Start blogging on something you know really well.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

I hope our criticism is always constructive.  

To amplify one of Matt's points.  Everyone I talked to at YearlyKos had an interesting story and had been doing something creative to make democracy real, making a better country and stopping war.  That is important.

There was a whiff of overconfidence at YearlyKos.  I do think some folks, present company excluded of course, underestimate the opposition.  Low poll ratings are one thing, winning elections is another.  On the big issues I don't think we have changed the country much -- yet.  We are building a movement and that takes time.  This is real -- really slow perhaps by some standards, but lasting change is usually this way.

Along the way lets have some fun. YearlyKos was a lot of fun.  Some folks worked VERY hard to make it happen.    

by howardpark 2006-06-12 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Low poll ratings are one thing, winning elections is another.

2006 isn't our election yet.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-12 03:49PM | 0 recs
A delicious irony!

We have a culture of liberalism.  I know that sounds 'soft'...

It is 'soft'. But that's not what's ironical.

It's the fact that so many of the YKos throng, cream of the liberal sphere, also made LAS their gateway.

Given that the airport is named for one of the most illiberal US Senators from outside of the Confederacy.

And topical as well as ironical, given that his two most (in)famous contributions to the US Code were in the fields of repression of civil liberties and exclusion of undesirable aliens.

(The Senate RCV on the override of Truman's veto of the McCarran Act (the Internal Security Act of 1950) showed all of ten brave souls (all Dems yay, Dems! - prepared to withstand the wrath of McCarran (and his better known partner-in-fearmongering, Joe McCarthy) and vote against.

Apart from Hubert Humphrey (still with his liberal halo fairly much intact from his performance at the 48 Convention), the rest of the ten, so far as their names mean anything to me, did not thrive in the Senate.

Legislative bravery is so rarely rewarded...

by skeptic06 2006-06-12 03:54PM | 0 recs
Roll call votes...

...from Washington to Clinton are all detailed in the Voteview software, available free to download here.

(An essential tool for those with any interest in the history of US politics - a load of egg-sucking grandmothers I'm talking to...)

by skeptic06 2006-06-12 04:05PM | 0 recs
Commenting

It's not easy to make frequent comments because discussions are always so fast paced. After a full day of class/work, I end up reading 18 hours worth of posts at a time. Usually my thoughts are represented by the time I read.

by Matt42 2006-06-12 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

If you can do that, and that's as close to a regional for us up here in the NW, then I'll go to that.  Turn it into a West Coast thang, maybe.

As a matter of fact, I'll be in San Diego next month for the Comic-Con.  

by smugbug 2006-06-12 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Working on local politics here in Texas has drawn me away from MyDD more than I like.

I haven't posted a diary since February.

I will try to be more visible (if people are interested in what I have to say!)

by v2aggie2 2006-06-12 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

why a 2?

Was my comment that bad?

by v2aggie2 2006-06-12 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

MMMM. Turds in the punchbowl. What lovely self-identification from a commenter above.

As far as "no weirdos" at YearlyKos, don't be so sure! I was just thinking about showing up next year.

by Nezua Limon Xoloquinta Jonez 2006-06-13 03:23AM | 0 recs
A Cultural of Typos

Matt, I know you're tired and blogging from the airport, but you really should try to at least get the headline right.

I have no desire to be a Grammar Nazi. That's no fun. I'm a writer/editor by trade, so I catch a lot of mistakes - certainly in my own writing - and I don't bring it up, because this is an informal stage.

But language matters. Accuracy matters. If this was the first glaring mistake I'd seen in a headline here, I would keep my mouth shut, but it isn't. It just sends a lousy message when a piece is riddled with typos. Even worse when it begins with one. I consider MyDD to be one of the "Heavyweights" of the lefty blogoshpere. But heavyweights need to have certain standards.

I'm not criticising this mistake necessarily, but the poor editing in general on MyDD. And of course, you only criticise the ones you care about, right?

by bkharmony 2006-06-13 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: A Culture of Typos

If this was the first glaring mistake I'd seen in a headline here, I would keep my mouth shut, but it isn't.

If you're going to use "would" then it's subjunctive mood. That means your sentence should begin, "If this were..."

N.B., I'm hardly perfect as a writer and I couldn't resist having a little fun. Please take it in that vein. I happen to agree with what you said.

by KB 2006-06-13 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: A Culture of Typos

I'm terrible with subjunctive mood. Like I said, this is informal, and I appreciate that. Believe me, I have a hard time just dashing off a quick comment. I tend to proof it over and over...

Too often, I find myself using passive voice as well. ;)

I just think the biggies - especially in a headline - make the site look amateur. We, the netroots, are for real.

by bkharmony 2006-06-13 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism

Matt, This is my first post on any blogsite.  From lurker to poster in one easy Yearly Kos convention.  I am a blog virgin no longer and we have "preppie little you" to thank for that.

You may remember me as the guy that told you how "fucking funny" you were as you were heading to the Jack Carter suite on Friday night. As a local Las Vegan I hope you and all the Kosaks enjoyed yourself in Vegas, and we hope you'll come back next year.  As the President of the Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus, I was privildedged to host the LGBT caucus on Thursday morning and it was just a primer of what was to come over the next four days.

On a personal note I enjoyed your presentations to the convention.  In fact, I immensly enjoyed  all the panels and presentations at the convention.  I have not been with a group of such smart, articulate, passionate, and committed activists since my days volunteering for Werner.  

But the biggest impression I got from attending the convention was that this really really looked like the beginning of a Progressive Community Movement.  Something that did not occur to me until I attended a few panels was the degree to which many of you, though you had been communicating together for some time, did not know one another.  But during the heady days of the first Yearly Kos convention, I suspect a Movement has coallesed.

Keep up the fight,

Dan

 

by Buzzcut 2006-06-13 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously though

that's legit.  I would mention 2 things:

1) it's tough to crystallize what happened out there--it will process for awhile.  it's easier to say what it wasn't.  and it was not the unveiling of a "grand plan"--that does not make sense given who we are.  many attendees vet and presenters vet their thoughts on the blogs on a fairly regular basis, right?  so, it's not like they've been saving up for yearly kos.  but we met other people in the movement and it was fortifying.  we exchanged ideas and incubated projects.  there's a comfort in knowing that you really like the people out there, chatting with you on the net.

diaries on poli sites are usually analysis...of outside events.  it's not analysis of what happens to you.  so, this will be a little slower in coming.

2) really, what matt is saying is that what we are doing now is working--and now we need more of it.  we need to fill in the spaces of what is not covered and what is not said, so it can be given an audience.  then find who the right audience is by contacting "blog leaders" and the like.

the dfa did a workshop about translating the online to action (did not attend, so can't brief), and there is another project being worked on right now (started at the conference) but will not be unveiled until finished--hopefully within the next month or so.

but, in the meantime, throw yourself into it with a fervor, and with the knowledge that it is working.

by alivingston 2006-06-14 01:48AM | 0 recs
by ginotte 2006-10-13 03:01AM | 0 recs

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