I just arrived at the YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas and it's already clear that Mark Warner is the runaway winner of this pre-Iowa caucus (partly because many of the other front-runners are no-shows). But money no doubt helped his cause: I'm hearing that Warner, being shepherded by Jerome Armstrong, the MyDD blogger and co-author with Kos himself of Crashing the Gate, has spent over $100,000 courting the netroots here in Vegas. He spent $75,000 alone to host all the convention-goers at the Stratosphere tower for a party, which included two huge ice sculptures (one of a computer with Daily Kos On the screen), and where Kosmopolitans and Kos-Martinis were served. According to Ana Marie Cox, "As they say on MTV, it was off the chain." Warner spent all of Friday night meeting and greeting every single blogger he could get to.
As Warner told me, "when I arrived at the party and saw the large ice sculpture in the room, I thought 'oh my God -- I must see the receipts.' But no one would think twice if this were a party for donors or elected local officials. Well, it's time we took the netroots seriously. This is a community that needs to be taken seriously, and represents the democratization of the public square of America."