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Yearly Kos

Going to my brother’s wedding was way more important than schmoozing with the liberal blogosphere, politicians and think-tank doodadders at YearlyKos in Las Vegas. One of my brother’s friends at the wedding actually joked how Tim deep-sixed my opportunity to go to YK because of the wedding scheduling, hahaha. Like I could have afforded to go to Vegas (and the wedding) anyway…

However, it looked like an interesting affair, even if you don’t agree on all things Kossack.

While we were getting dressed for my brother’s wedding on Saturday, Kate and I flipped on CSPAN and they were covering part of the Yearly Kos convention live (with lots of technical difficulties; the network terminated the coverage after a while). I don’t recall what the panel was specifically about — it was some generic how-the-blogosphere-affects-politics kind of matter, but what caught my attention were the scarily inarticulate questioners getting up there during the Q&As;, rambling on almost incoherently, not able to form a question.

They sort of reminded me of all the super-geeks I went to school with at Stuyvesant HS (and that was a school full of them — I was merely a run-of-the-mill geek) — full of enthusiasm, but just a few pancakes short of a stack socially. That’s not to say that these folks aren’t brilliant behind the keyboard when blogging about the same ideas, but a conference like this makes it clear that the successful “faces” of the blogosphere will remain the extroverts — the ones comfortable in front of cameras and large groups, for better or worse.

Terrance Heath of Republic of T was standing in line during Howard Dean’s appearance at YK during the Q&A;, and he didn’t get a chance to ask Dean about his insane appearance on Crazy Pat’s 700 Club, and the DNC’s lame framing of gay issues. Terrance did, however, record Dean’s speech and podfisked it, point by point. Check it out.

He also posted this on his blog.

I’m not asking the Democrats or anyone to make same-sex marriage their top priority. I’ve got it through my head that it’s just not going to matter that much to most people. What I want is to hear that Democrats aren’t going to run from the issue, that they aren’t going to dismiss it as “not important,” and that they’re going to equivocate when it comes to equality. When and where it comes up, I want to hear that they’re going to to say plainly that discrimination is wrong, period, and has no place in our laws or constitution.

What I hear from the progressive netroots is pretty much that if Democrats have to put our issues on the back burner, and reach out to more conservative voters, in order to get back into power, we should understand that, and help them win so that they can move those issues forward later. I keep asking how they’re going to do that and stay in power if they have a new, more conservative, conservative constituency that won’t let them do that and stay in power. I keep asking how this doesn’t add up to a more conservative Democratic party.

The answer that I get from the netrootsy types is that it’s “our job” to shift public opinion so that it’s “safe” for Democratic leaders to stand up on those issues. Well, if we’re out and we’re educating our friends, family, and communities about our issues and how they affect our lives, we’re already doing our job. It took me this long to figure out what the netrootsy types were saying: from now on progress on our issues is our job and nobody else’s.

Amen, brother. There you have it folks – it’s our job to make it safe for the spineless Dems to say discrimination is wrong. Jeebus H. Christ on a cracker. No, the problem is that we’re doing our job, and we need allies, who have the numbers to change minds, to speak up.

Perhaps the “progressive netroots” haven’t been paying attention, but the last time I looked, marriage amendments are passing left and right, permanently affecting thousands of taxpayers in those states who happen to be gay. We can’t shift cultural numbers to stop the bleeding without help from heavy hitting allies willing to call out the discrimination and campaign for fairness with a better frame. We can affect change on a personal basis, but not when we’re up against an organized effort to spread fear and hate and disinformation.

We need leadership from the party, not a bunch of scared, self-serving political assclowns. But I guess we better get back to work on “our job” of shifting public opinions since we’re on our own, right?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding