YearlyKos Convention 2006 Keynote Address by Markos Moulitsas
Moulitsas addresses the power of the blogosphere in his keynote address at the YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas, NV. Video coverage by Link TV.
"But people-power is a wonderful thing. Everyone can be a leader. Everyone can be a strong voice. Everyone can make a difference. There has been far too much talent, far too much passion, far too much intelligence in this country marginalized by the establishment currently stinking up Washington D.C. And now, that talent has an outlet. It can no longer be marginalized." - Markos Moulitsas, founder of Kos Media
Link TV coverage of YearlyKos 2006 is made possible by the support of Surdna Foundation, Leland Fikes Foundation and Care2.com.
Markos Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, America's largest online political community. His publications include the acclaimed Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics and Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era.
He is a frequent guest on cable news and shows like "Meet the Press" and "Real Time with Bill Maher," a weekly columnist for The Hill, and a former Newsweek contributing columnist.
Hello, my name is Markos Moulitsas. I run a site called Daily Kos.It's one thing to talk about people-powered politics. It's another to see it in action.And these have been heady days for the people-powered movement.We're only four years old, from the early days when bloggers like Atrios andJerome Armstrong at MyDD inspired bloggers like me and countless others tostop railing at Fox News and our so-called-"liberal" pundits, and start publishing those rants on the web.And we've come a long way since then.We were born in 2002, and sort of gingerly set out into this brave new world.None of us expected to be more than a lonely voice shouting into the wilderness.But liberal blogs grew rapidly, proving there was a desperate need forstrong progressive voices in this country. That was 2002.2003 was the year of Howard Dean, where an unknown governor from a small,remote, and usually forgotten state was propelled to front-runner statuson the strength of netroots activism and people power.That is my son.Aristotle, who, I hope this doesn't mean he's becoming a Republican.Upset about my message about People Power.That was 2002, we began in 2002. 2003 was the year of Howard Dean,2004 ... well, let's forget 2004.In 2005, we helped Dean become DNC chairman, and we helped Paul Hackettprove that a strong, unapologetic, progressive voice could compete in theblood red conservative districts.And now it's 2006, and it looks like we've arrived.Look at this conference! It's the epitome of people-power. It was organized by volunteers,without impetus from a traditional "leader". We now have the abilityto support leaders wherever they may be. Leaders that would never have achance in the traditional world of establishment politics or media. LikeLeaders like Gina Cooper, who was a one-woman force of nature in making this conference happen.Who was Gina Cooper? A former teacher from Tennessee?And how did that make her qualified to plan something of this magnitude?Of course it didn't. No more so than I was "qualified" to write about politics.No more so than an organic farmer named Jon Testerfrom nowhere Montana is "qualified" to be a United States Senator.But people-power is a wonderful thing. Everyone can be a leader.Everyone can be a strong voice. Everyone can make a difference.There has been far too much talent, far too much passion, far too much intelligencein this country marginalized by the establishment currently stinking up Washington D.C.And now, that talent has an outlet. It can no longer be marginalized.And so we have YearlyKos thanks to the efforts of Gina and her incrediblearmy of volunteers. Gina where are you?And all the YearlyKos volunteers, please stand up and be recognized.And look at each other. Look left and right. There have been so many effortsto marginalize us by the media and political elite because we had the temerity tofeel passionate about politics. How dare us riff raff demand a voice in our democracy?So they marginalize us. They say we're extremists. We're politically naive. We're young.It's great that so much of the DC political press is here, since now they have tomake sense of all the gray hairs in the audience.The average age of a Daily Kos reader is 45. We're not that young.Young at heart, perhaps, but we've lived. Some of us are newer to politics than others,but we have a shared body of experience that is mind-boggling.Unlike the out-of-touch establishment in D.C., we actually know what it's like tolive day-to-day in George Bush's America. Chris Matthews may say that onlythe kooks hate George W. Bush, but we, like the rest of the country, knew better.We come from every corner of this nation. We are blue collar and white collar.We are liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats.The blogosphere may be the only place where people from all corners of theparty's ideological spectrum can get together and fight over the details, beforewe come together on Election Day to fight for our Big Tent Party.Popular movements are rarely as practical as ours.There's no doubt we're turning the political world upside down.Jon Tester won his Montana Senate primary against a well-heeled,well-connected, well-known DLC rising star John Morrison.Despite having half the money Morrison did, the race wasn't even close.Just today we get news of a new poll out of Connecticut. A month ago,Quinnipiac University had the Senate Democratic race at 65 percent Joe Lieberman, 19 percent Ned Lamont.Today's poll? Lieberman's lead has shrunk to 55-40 amongst likely Democratic primary voters.Lieberman is going to lose.And the media. Let's not forget the media.We no longer have to listen and read just what the old media gatekeepersforced upon us. We can now choose amongst ourselves what information to consume.The old media are no longer the gatekeepers.How many of you remember Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents dinner?How many of you actually saw it live?While some may call you "losers", I call you "visionaries".You were there! You were there to see Colbert say, live,"The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the presstype those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spellcheck and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife.Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one aboutthe intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to theadministration. You know - fiction!"The White House press corps didn't think that was funny. The same peoplewho a year ago couldn't stop laughing at Bush's jokes about missing weaponsof mass destructions scrubbed all references to Colbert in their writeups of that evening's events.In the past, Colbert's viciously ironic remarks would've been scrubbed from the record.But this is the age of people-powered media.The event was immediately posted all over the web. On the following Sundayand Monday, there were 3 million downloads from YouTube. 300,000downloads from Crooks and Liars. The C-SPAN site was down Sunday morningas I tried to access the video. And when it was posted on iTunes, itquickly became the #1 album on the site.The DC media elite were outraged.Richard Cohen wrote a pathetic column in the Washington Post, and I wish Iwas making this up or exaggerating, literally telling us that his elementaryschool teacher used to say he was funny, so he knew funny, and thus StephenColbert wasn't funny.And in that alternative reality in DC, Colbert probably wasn't funny. It's likeopposite day in Washington. There is no global warming! Tax cuts shrink thedeficit! Republicans are for smaller government! Hillary and Bill's sexlife is relevant to the fate of the nation!Telling the truth, if the truth hurts, is a "gaffe". So you can't say the obviousthat capturing Saddam will not make us safer -because reality and Washington D.C. do not mix.And that's why we're crashing the gate. That's why people-power is taking the nation by storm.Because the media elite failed us. The political elite - from both parties -failed us. Republicans because they can't govern, and Democrats becausethey can't get elected. Our leaders failed us. Our issue groups failed us. So now its our turn.It's our turn to inject some good ol' fashioned common sense into WashingtonD.C. It's our responsibility to demand accountability and reform from theDemocratic Party and allied organizations that claim to represent our interests.And if they refuse to reform, if they refuse to be more accountable,if they refuse to join this people-powered movement as it seeks to move our country forward ...well then, they'll be relegated to the dustbin of history.Technology allows each and every one of us to be a leader, and allows usto support our new leaders wherever they may emerge.This is our movement. We have to take hold of it and ride it to victory.And we will. Thank you very much.