Friday, May 05, 2006

LiveBlogging Markos and Jerome

Live from Malaprop's, one of the top independent book stores in America, come Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga to promote, discuss, and sign copies of Crashing the Gate.

My battery may get me through the whole event, so updates will be available as long as the power is on.

At 6:30pm 30 people have already gathered.  A store employee leaned over to me a moment ago to let me know he would be unplugging the computers and disabling the wireless connection.  Both Brainshrub and I let him know that it probably wasn't a good idea.

More at 7pm.

UPDATE 6:55pm - The crowd has swollen to fill the event space, and Markos, sporting a black velvet jacket, is chatting with bookshoppers. I met a woman who confessed she's never visited the site, but she heard from a friend at Democracy for America that it was not to be missed. This message is moving outside of the blogosphere into the shoeleather grassroots.

UPDATE 7:03pm - Wally Bowen of MAIN announces a town hall meeting with FCC board members in Asheville - the date of the meeting is undecided, but he urges everyone to visit the MAIN site.

He also announces legislation in Raleigh providing corporate entities such as BellSouth with freedom to utilize local "rights-of-way" in regard to phone lines, internet, etc.

Bowen introduces the pair to enthusiastic applause.

UPDATE 7:16 - Markos and Jerome have been up since 2am, when they rose to drive from Madison, WI to Milwaukee to catch their flight to Asheville.

Our main message is "decentralization", says Jerome.

Conservatives are hoping their book will fail. "Buy the book, make a conservative cry", says Markos.

Jim Dean, head of Democracy for America, is here, and Markos plugs the DFA grassroots training going on at UNCA this weekend (There's a few slots left if you want to come)

"We no longer need to defer to others to tell us" what we can "consume in the media", "what kind of activism we can do". "We're allowing real people who aren't beholden to those old interests" to run for public office.

UPDATE 7:20pm - Markos continues... relates how the mainstream media ignored or dismissed Stephen Colbert's performance last week while reporting that George W. Bush was hilarious. Without the blogosphere few would have seen the performance. More and moreso, we don't need the big media anymore "to tell us what we can and can not see".

UPDATE 7:26 - Markos says he'll be on Tim Russert's show next week and that, when asked "Why aren't Democrats winning?", he'll respond, "Because they're listening to you".

Discusses how bloggers are being marginalized in the big media - we're young or angry or loose cannons.

Into Question Time:
Why did you say you were pessimistic about Democrats' chances in '06?

Unless Democrats jettison the philosophy of the DC consultant class, voters won't feel they have a good choice at the polls. "It's so bizarrely ridiculous how corrupt this Republican Party is." Kos lists the multitude of scandals and incompetence of the Bush Republicans. He concludes that the DC Hookers scandal might actually mean the Republicans face some government rebuke.

Are you helping with Ned Lamont's campaign

We're not working with him, but I'm going up there in two weeks to appear in a commercial he's shooting.

UPDATE 7:34pm - "it's much more efficient to take over the existing party of the left" rather than trying to form a third party when so many third party supporters have disparate interests.

Jerome - "Progressives in very rural areas can start to find each other" using the internet.

What are your views on trends with Internet use (searches, regulations)?

Jerome discusses the legislation aroung "net neutrality" (Google it to learn more) in which telecoms are attempting to bring about a tiered system, much like cable television, with premium channels and basic service. Markos says that, with diligence, this will be a battle that the netroots will keep winning.

The DCCC's "revolving door" do we break that "cabal"?

This issue is probably the one with the least amount of traction. Jerome doesn't see much progress in changing the party power structure. Change is going to come from Democrats giving their money to campaigns that relect the change they'd like to see. If people make enough noise about it, that's where the change is ultimately going to come.

Are you being courted by DC insiders?

We're being ignored by the consultants. We "get phone calls all the time".

UPDATE 7:40 - Markos remarks that when he learned Beinart was going to write the review for Crashing the Gate, he was angry because Beinart has been an archenemy of grassroots efforts. The review was good though, and Markos thinks that's because Beinart saw that the themes of the book make sense and are working.

The book has been surprisingly influential. Most of it has been adopted as Conventional Wisdom.

Concerned about Ohio "fraud" and can you recommend one or two blogs?

Jerome passes on recommending blogs but goes on to discuss the voter suppression in Ohio. Markos encourages people to concern themselves more without low voter turnout than with voting fraud.

How do we need to fund "our side"?

UPDATE 7:47 - It's not as if the Democratic Party doesn't have enough money floating around. But change and infrastructure building has got to be a priority. As soon as we train people, they get snatched up by the private sector because they're making so little money.

Markos discusses how the Republican infrastructure encourages innovation, youth, and drawing the best and brightest to the Party. Democrats, on the other hand, treat our talent "like shit".

How are the Fighting Dems doing?

They're all first-time candidates. "They're laying waste to the notion that the Republican Party is better" for the soldiers. Military values encourage camaraderie while the Republican Party says "You're on your own".

Is there a candidate fatigue, as far as getting involved with the blogs?

Jerome- "I think you'll see more of it".

UPDATE 7:5 -
What's the future of the blogs look like?

Jerome talks about the meteoric rise of YouTube. More and more localblogs, very effective at taking internet tools to the grassroots. "Combating the propaganda of the right wing machine".

Markos - says he can't predict because everything changes so fast in the blogosphere. "We're promoting new voices that never would have had a chance". Over the next couple of years I'll be less involved with the blog and more involved in infrastructure building. "Incredible opportunities have opened up". "I'm not a leader. I've created a vehicle to create leaders." In three years people may never even know what "Kos" stands for. "I'm not going to fight for turf". "Where the water flows, I'll be riding that wave."

Any comments about Porter Goss' resignation?

This is not a "reshuffling of the deck", it's, um, hookers.

Worldwide energy crisis? Peak Oil?

We saw Al Gore's movie in California. I don't think you can approach any of these issues alone any more. Clearly the Republicans and many Democrats don't see it this way. They see symptoms but not causes.

Asheville Democrats don't feel good about Heath Shuler, can you talk about that?

Everywhere we go we run into one issue or another. What we believe is that the time for pulling out distinctions is in the Primary. Heath may not be the "best" progressive candidate, but he's better than Charles Taylor. Jerome talks about how a Democratic majority could affect the way Congress works. Conservative beliefs won't get any attention in a Democratic Congress.

Last Question - Impeachment?

"Any Republican who espouses any of these conservatives policies is destined to fail."

My battery is dying, thanks for reading!


jay said...

Good writeup Chief. Wish I was there!

Edgy Mama said...

Great job with the live blogfeed, Screwy.

Good, as always, to see you!

ash said...


syntax said...

nice work, screwy!

Uptown Ruler said...

rawr, wish i could of been there! least i get to read about it.


ctkeith said...

I very hopeful we'll bring wonderful news with us from the CT Democratic Convention for your visit May 21st Markos.

We found out this week the vote for the Demoratic nomination for Senator will be held Friday nite,May 19,at 7pm and are working hard to make sure we bring good news.

modpez said...

in addition to your many talents and strengths you must be one hell of an agile and fast typist.

Brainshrub said...

Great job!

It's almost like I was there. :)