If Kos’s original goal in blasting TNR for revealing information sent out on the Townhouse list was to limit controversy and unfavorable publicity, his strategy has failed. Besides all the talk in the blogosphere, this has now spread to the opinion pages of The New York Times. When I first read in Raw Story that David Brooks writing about the Kos vs. TNR dispute I expected a take from Brooks which I would disagree with. Reading the actual column I find Brooks generally has Kos pegged pretty well.
Much of the column repeated the background information which I previously discussed here and here. Brooks certainly goes too far in some comments. For example, I fail to see that Brooks made any case that Tom DeLay is Kos’s “moral doppelgänger.” Despite going too far in some comments, Brooks makes two points about Kos which are similar to those I have often made here. Brooks notes a pattern in receiving support from Kos:
The Kingpin’s first enemy was the Democratic Party establishment, and it pleased him to see Howard Dean take it on. When the Dean campaign hired the Kingpin and his co-author and onetime business partner Jerome Armstrong as paid campaign consultants, this was an appropriate sign of respect, and the Kingpin did lay his hand of blog approval upon the Dean campaign (while disclosing the connection).
When Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senate candidate in Ohio, hired Armstrong last year to help with his campaign, this was also a sign of respect. The Kingpin had instructed his Kossack cultists to support Brown’s Democratic primary rival, Paul Hackett. But the Kingpin switched sides and backed Brown over his former anointee.
The Kingpin often directs his wrath at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. But the centrist Democrat Mark Warner has also hired Armstrong as a consultant, and the Kingpin has graciously exempted Warner from the seventh circle of Kos hell. Warner is frequently celebrated on Daily Kos as something akin to the second coming of F.D.R.
And so it is in the realm of the Kingpin. Those who offer respect get respected.
We’ve often noted how little attention Kos has paid to ideas (with some notable exceptions such as here). Brooks notes this in the conclusion to his column:
But the truth is that the new boss is little different from the old boss — only smaller. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats bow and scrape. He has managed to spread the gospel of Kossism far and wide, which is not really about ideas and philosophy. “I’m just all about winning,” he has said.
And so the Kingpin has his relationships and his understandings and his networks and his compromises. In just a few short years he has achieved a level of self-importance it took those in the pre-blog political class decades to acquire.
He has challenged his enemy and become it.