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July 07, 2005


I think you're wrong to imply the success of DailyKos is simply due to Markos's rhetoric. The key to that site is the collaborative aspect of it. Anyone can post not just comments but longer essays (diaries), and there's a collaborative filtering system in place which allows everyone to vote on which diaries are best. The best ones get highlighted in the "Recommended Diaries" section and end up getting read by a lot of people (the ones in the Recommended section typically get at least 100 comments or so from other readers). Imagine the kick you'd get out of it if you got 100 comments on one of your blog posts (no offense to you personally- anyone other than the top handfull of bloggers would get a big kick out of it). Landing a diary in the Recommended section is a big thrill and a big motivator for people to write interesting stuff. So there is always lots and lots of new content on the site (there's a new diary by someone every few minutes), and while of course a lot of it is neither interesting nor well-written, some of it is, and the system for choosing the Recommended diaries does a decent job of highlighting that stuff. I don't dispute that some of the stuff on that site does not represent the best of the left wing, of course.

While it's difficult to be privy to the government's plans, the Bush Administration's efforts in Iraq seem to leave very little resources left for any other serious endeavors. While he might not have intentionally "let our enemy roam free", his allocation of effort is effectively a shirking of duty.

You must be unfamiliar with the Christian Reconstructionist movement (RJ Rushdoony, Gary North, et al) who wish to do away with the Constitution and institute their idea of "Biblical Law." A review of these peoples' beliefs makes the comparison with the Taliban not so strained as you believe.

if you read the Daily Kos post that Brendan refers to in his excellent article, you'll see that Kos is referring specifically to the main people in charge of the Republican party. The Christian Reconstructionist movement that you refer to, in all likelihood, is a fringe group. Indeed, does this particular "movement" control the Republican party referred to by Kos? No. To say that the Christian Reconstructionist movement represents the whole of conservative thinking or the current Republican leadership would be like saying the Communist party in America represents the thoughts of liberals and the Democrats in this country.

Anyway, Brendan's analysis is correct. Kos' comparison of the Republican leadership to the Taliban is outrageous. Under the Taliban, priceless centuries-old statues were demolished, people were executed in some instances by having walls dropped on them, civil liberties were severely curtailed), and women were treated deplorably (for example, you remove any of your veil and you could be whipped). Kos comparing these actions those of Republicans is insulting and continues the gradual degradation of political discourse in America.

Finally, if one looks closely at the comparisons made by Kos between the Taliban and the Republican leadership, his analysis falls apart. For example, his statement that the "American Taliban" (aka the Republican leadership)is hostile to working women is utterly ridiculous. Has Kos heard of "Condaleeza Rice"? And while Kos is making gross overgeneralization about conservatives, one could easily do the same for liberals. For instance, Kos says that for "schools", liberals advocate leaving religion to parents while the "American Taliban" advocate religious indoctrination. However, one could easily (and foolhardedly) state that liberals do a little indoctrinating of their own in our schools and universities, namely brainwashing students with political correctness and liberal ideals.

nyhan, you have a great blog, but there's nothing wrong with pointing out that people with undue influence in the republican party want women subservient in a manner reminiscent of the taliban. there's something wrong with not pointing it out in the name of "decency."

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