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What Does It Mean When Kos Accepts Clinton

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"We may decide she's not our first choice, but she's not a bad choice." - Markos Moulitsas, August 4, 2007

It was a surprising thing for Markos, the founder of DailyKos the most widely read political blog, to say. He made that statement just before the candidate forum at YearlyKos in Chicago where Hillary Clinton gave her take on lobbyists. First, by insisting that the money she takes from them doesn't effect her vote- which is the equivalent of saying voters are stupid. And then by defending lobbyists- "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like or not, represent real Americans," she said. "They represent nurses, social workers and, yes, they represent corporations and they employ a lot of people."

OK. Hillary Clinton is the Democrat for lobbyists. At least we know where she stands on that one.

She's also the Democrat who blames the failure in Iraq on the Iraqis, stating that our troops did their job but the Iraqis didn't take advantage of what we had done for them. As if the situation in Iraq can be blamed on anyone other than the people that got us into this war.

I realize Hillary has changed her position significantly on Iraq, if not on the Iraqis. She finally regrets her vote for war (yes, it was a vote for war). But the Netroots is supposed to be about standing for something. This movement, this rejection of politics as usual, rejection of politics by the corporations for the corporations, is supposed to be about something. I recognize we're about healthcare and we're about not being George Bush, and we're about the environment and a woman's right to choose. But we don't need a movement for those things. The Democrats already had the DLC for those positions. The Netroots, the new activists, came from a rejection of Democratic triangulation. Progressives were tired of being talked down to and taken for granted and tired of the way business is done in Washington, namely, by business, and the lobbying groups bought and paid for by business.

I also recognize that Markos is not suddenly supporting Clinton, just saying the Netroots might come around to her. He wrote a strong post criticizing Hillary as recently as October 8.

A prominent blogger once told me that the Netroots was immune to flattery. He was either lying to me or he was lying to himself. Nobody is immune to flattery. It's not a bad thing when Hillary Clinton shows up at a blogger candidate forum, but it doesn't mean that much. Especially if she's going to stand on stage and defend lobbyists.

As Hillary solidifies her lead (though it's a long way from over, remember Howard Dean at this time in 2003) leaders of the Netroots are beginning to position themselves not as for Hillary, but as not against Hillary. Back in February Hillary seemed an unacceptable candidate for Markos. Now, some bloggers, worry perhaps that a Hillary victory will leave the Netroots powerless. Others, like Markos, might just believe it's important to support the Democrat, whoever she is. I've met Markos. He's a nice guy with a lot of integrity. He's also a Democrat to the core and is likely to strongly support whoever wins the nomination. But Hillary is a bad choice. The primaries aren't over and there's no reason to move in that direction.

The other day Patrick Buchanan stated that "A Giuliani victory means right retains power but loses its soul." Progressives need to recognize the same thing about Hillary Clinton.

- Stephen Elliott

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