GBCW

When I first found MyDD in the post-electoral haze of 2004 (or maybe it was before the election - 3 years is a long time), it was a breath of fresh air. Blogs were still new, but MyDD had already proven itself as a place for incisive political analysis. Sure, it didn't get as many views as an Eschaton or as many posts as Daily Kos, but discussion here was always reasonable. The topics of discussion were diverse and interesting, and no one had a 'right' or a 'wrong' point of view. In a sense, My Due Diligence really was the place to be to have a debate about the Democratic Party and politics in general. Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller may have just been making a name for themselves here, but along with Scott Shields and eventually Jonathan Singer, they built a sterling reputation for MyDD.

A lot of things have changed since then, though. Bowers and Stoller left, although that's not why I'm leaving MyDD for good. I think the diversity the front page has now - Todd Beeton, Shai Sachs, Mike Connery, Jared Roebuck, and the rest of the new crew  - is fantastic. But what has changed is the community. It used to be that the recommended list would oftentimes have obscure but interesting topics up for discussion. And while there were some tensions - a lot of folks here didn't like Gary Boatwright, for example - the tone was largely respectful. Nowadays, the community is poisoned against each other. Shills for both the Edwards and the Obama camps dominate this website, the discourse, the recommended list - everything. It has changed MyDD from a place for good discussion to one of cheap insults and neverending accusations of hackery. The only posts that get any real attention have to do with the 2008 race (see today's front-page posts about Clinton and Obama). MyDD is no longer a political blog that has open debate. It has become Astroturf Central for supporters of John Edwards and Barack Obama to shit on each other day and night and to see who can occupy the majority of the recommended list.

In closing, I may come back after primary season, once one set of shills or another (or both) have their candidate(s) drop out of the primary. But instead of having people who can genuinely respect each other despite disagreements, all that will be left are a bunch of bitter, angry people. I have always enjoyed being an active participant at this blog, but after the past 6-9 months, I'm more sick of this place than I ever was the past 2.5 years before.

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An analysis of the 2008 Democratic primary polls

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

[Author's note: This is a hell of a long post...apologies beforehand!]

I have long espoused the views that polls in the Democratic presidential primary are not as important as the media (and the blogosphere, to some degree) makes it out to be. Nevertheless, we now stand barely 6 months from the Iowa caucuses (unless they are moved up earlier), so I figured it would be a good time to take a look at what the national polls are telling us about the race for the Democratic presidential nomination at this point in time. It was around this time in the 2004 election cycle that Howard Dean began his meteoric ascent in the national polls, which then remained largely unchanged until John Kerry's victory in Iowa. That being said, the dynamics around the race in 2008 are quite a bit different. I'll summarize the differences to keep in mind, then turn to discussing the national polling that has been done to date - and what it means for the candidates so far.

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Obama and MySpace: Why the blogosphere got it wrong

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

The blogosphere is abuzz today with the news that Barack Obama's presidential campaign took control of its MySpace domain after initially working with the previous holder of that user ID, Joe Anthony, for no cost. Here's a sampling of the reaction at some of the major liberal blogs. After turning down what they viewed as the high cost - $39,000 - for the rights to control of the site, the Obama campaign, working with MySpace, was granted full control without having to pay Anthony.

The general reaction from the leading blogs - Daily Kos, MyDD, and Eschaton - seem to indicate that they believe the Obama campaign screwed Anthony over big time. I do agree that the Obama campaign could have handled the issue more tactfully. That being said, the blogosphere criticism seems to show an underlying lack of understanding about the functioning of social networking websites such as MySpace. Follow me beneath the fold for analysis...

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Experience is not a prerequisite for being president

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Experience seems to be a fairly big buzz word when it comes to selecting nominees for president, especially on the Democratic side as of late. It's one of the chief reasons that Senator John Kerry was our presidential nominee in 2004 - he had long-time governmental experience (20 years as of then) that gave him the supposed national security background needed to take on Bush. Howard Dean was criticized for not having it, and then-Senator John Edwards was just finishing up his first term in electoral office of any kind during the 2004 race. In 2008, experience in national politics is something that the top tier of Democratic candidates - Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, and Edwards - all lack. Though not many in the netroots (or the opinion polls, either) endorse the second tier - consisting of Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Christopher Dodd, and Senator Joe Biden - have far more experience, and this is sometimes cited as a reason for supporting them.

So, to get an idea of whether experience is a useful barometer, I took a look back at all of the past presidents in America's history. Below the fold is a list of presidents, from most years of experience in an important elected statewide position (e.g. governor) or an important federal position (e.g. ambassador, Congressperson, etc.):

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Trivializing the MyDD Rec List

Maybe it's fated to be like this the rest of primary season, but it's a damn shame that it's come to this. The MyDD recommended list, to me, used to epitomize the best an online community had to offer. The diaries were almost always well-written, detailed, thoughtful, and full of analysis. Sure, many of them didn't get many comments, but they didn't need to. Reading them would be plenty enough.

Nowadays, though, the recommended list is populated with garbage, things that might warrant a comment in an open thread, but nothing more. The biggest offenders of this are Edwards supporters, who seem to have this impulsive need to recommend any diary written by a pro-Edwards supporter - diaries that often contain a couple of sentences, a link, and is absolutely devoid of any thoughtful analysis in the least. Take the recommended list right now. There's this diary that has a link to Colbert and several paragraphs ripped from what was showed. This diary has 3 sentences and a link. On the other hand, there's a diary that is much more well-written and well thought-out than most of the efforts put out by the usual suspects.

I am happy to read and/or recommend pieces like those, but stop populating the recommended list here with news items that are more fit for Breaking Blue than for diaries. It's a disservice to the silent majority of the community that wants to see diaries on the recommended list that deserve it over a group of hardcore supporters who will recommend anything about their candidate. Diaries like this - ones that put some thought and detail into them - these are pieces I enjoy reading. But right now, I feel like the quality of the pieces being recommended by this community, for the most part, are diluting what used to be a bastion of some of the best-written pieces in the blogosphere.

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To Edwards and Obama supporters: Shut up!

One of the fascinating things at MyDD (as well as at Daily Kos) is how virulent a particular group of supporters of Barack Obama and John Edwards can't help themselves when the other candidate is brought up. Even the mere mention of the other candidate seems to devolve into a pathetic little flame war that is probably indicative of what will happen in the future. There's a diary on the recommended list about how Obama is allegedly insinuating that Edwards is effeminite, in a manner more subtle than Ann Coulter. I think it's rather ridiculous, and I'm surprised that so many people feel compelled to agree with such a hyperbolic assessment.

Although I'm an Obama supporter, I'd like to tell both sides that they need to shut up and focus on the common opponent - namely, Hillary Clinton.

I don't care about how little Edwards may have accomplished while he was in office or how Obama is supposedly running too much of an insider's campaign. All everyone here is doing is taking away much-needed attention from the Clinton campaign and instead focusing it on the little minutiae of the Edwards and Obama campaigns. In the netroots, Hillary Clinton is an irrelevancy in the monthly polls. But the netroots is but a fraction of the Democratic primary voting populace, and she is not irrelevant in the polls that have come out to date. And because of that, it's important that the netroots focuses on taking down Clinton.

In the end, if the nominee isn't Clinton, I would put forth that everyone - both Edwards and Obama supporters - would agree that either one would be a much better nominee. So stop fussing over little things that no one else cares about, and focus on the campaign that honestly deserves our ire.

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Much ado about Robert Gibbs and Obama

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

In the past couple of days, there's been a verbal war of words between the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the comments made by David Geffen, a media mogul in Los Angeles who held a fundraiser for Obama. What it essentially boils down to is this: the Clinton campaign has been waiting to take a shot at Obama, and they chose an idiotic issue to make their first move about. Clinton comes out looking quite thin-skinned, and Obama only gave one line to it the comment - one that makes sense to anyone who thinks about it:


"It's not clear to me why I'd be apologizing for someone else's remark"

As pontificatorput it yesterday, Obama appears to have quite the rapid response team.

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2008: What do the candidates believe in?

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Earlier this week, I wrote a diary that evaluated each of the declared 2008 Democratic candidates by the logo employed by their website. As one can hardly encapsulate what a campaign is about merely from a visual display, I think it's time to delve into that issues that each candidate discusses - and what it may mean for the general election. Below the fold, I'll evaluate the issues section of the following candidates:

* Senator Joe Biden

  • Senator Hillary Clinton
  • Senator Chris Dodd
  • Former Senator John Edwards
  • Former Senator Mike Gravel
  • Representative Dennis Kucinich
  • Senator Barack Obama
  • Governor Bill Richardson
  • Former Governor Tom Vilsack

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2008: What's in a logo?

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Over at Daily Kos' Diary Rescue last night, a rescued diary about each individual candidate's website made me think about the Internet aspect of each Democratic campaign. Tonight, I'd just like to get everyone's thoughts on what they think of each campaign's logo to date. Below the fold, I'll post each individual campaign's logo, and I'd like to solicit everyone's thoughts as to what they think about them. This is usually an aspect of any political campaign that tends to be overlooked, but in 2008, I think there's one candidate who takes full advantage of a logo's simplicity to create a powerful symbol.

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Evaluating The House's first full week

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Today marks the end of the first full week that the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress has been in business. Given that, I think it'd be a good idea to evaluate just how Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been performing during their first week on the job. One has to keep in mind that the House and the Senate operate quite differently, so it's understandable that the House has been able to get more matters voted on in a quicker period of time, particularly since we are pushing through an agenda that is broadly supported by a vast majority of the American people. The Senate, though, prides itself on its style of deliberation, so it was a given that much of the legislation would not be passed right off.

Today, I'll be taking a look at how the House has been doing. Below the fold, there's an outline of what the House Democrats aimed to achieve in the first 100 hours of the new Congress:

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Diaries

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