Gordo’s link to Dana’s post about Clinton, Clark, and Daily Kos is a good reminder that although the Netroots’ view of themselves is still the most detached from reality, the right-wing blogosphere’s isn’t far behind. Dana writes,
I never did think that Senator Clinton would do particularly well among the hard left nutroots: while Republicans tend to assume that she’s a hard leftist in disguise (and yes, I include myself in that), her public statements and positions show a tendency to position herself for some sort of centrist campaign for the general election, more than a leftist one for the primaries. I guess that she saw how Senator Kerry was labelled (correctly) as way too far to the left, noting President Bush’s quip that Edward Kennedy was the conservative senator from Massachusetts.
But for our friends on the hard left, her ideological purity is simply in question.
Kos has repeatedly stated he’s not a liberal purist, but a Democratic partisan. Daily Kos has many hard leftists, and many traditional conservatives whose distaste for the modern Republican Party has caused them to plunge to the hard left, but also many moderates. Kos himself has revealed himself to be someone who’s uninterested in any agenda item, and who focuses just on winning.
Before they officially declined to run, Warner and Feingold were Daily Kos’s favorite Presidential candidates. Feingold is the most left-wing person who’d have a chance to win the primary, but Warner is a blue dog whose politics is to Clinton’s right. But they’re also the two people who are the most inspiring and most willing to tackle Republicans, which to the Netroots is what counts.
To see that in action, look no further than Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman’s politics are moderate to conservative, just like the politics of many centrist Democrats. He’s not an iota to the right of Harry Reid. But he’s also enthusiastically pro-Bush while Reid is a diehard Democratic partisan, and therefore Kos raves about Reid while ranting about Lieberman.
The blogs that do engage in liberal purism, for lack of a better word, aren’t part of the Netroots. They tend to focus on the liberal agenda rather than on the Democratic Party. PZ focuses on science policy and religion. Amanda and the Feministing posters focus on feminism and abortion. Pam focuses on gay rights. Ezra focuses on labor and economic policy. Bora focuses on science and ideological frameworks. Lindsay is a generalist but still has a strong focus on the agenda.
None of these liberals is a fringe leftist, but nonetheless, they’re what everyone thinks Daily Kos is: a collection of principled liberals who want to pull the electorate hard to the left.
Kos has little patience for any issue that isn’t part of the party line. He’s repeatedly attacked pro-choice politics for insufficient partisanship, and said that it’s okay for the Democratic leadership to toss out abortion from the list of core issues. He’s against union and environmental politics. At Yearly Kos, he implied that all issues except health care, education, domestic spying, and getting out of Iraq are unimportant.
That line of attack pegs him as even further to the right of Mark Warner and Hillary Clinton in functional terms. Warner opposed getting out of Iraq at least as late as the summer of ’06, but is firmly pro-choice, at least in words; I don’t know what his record on judicial nominations was. In the highly doubtful case there’s even one issue Clinton won’t sacrifice on the altar of power, it’s abortion rights.