He’s not a philosopher. But, given the power he has been given by his readers (and thus by the mainstream media) he is trying to be.
So he does the very best he can.
He sees where the Democratic Party is rising fastest – in the Mountain West — and proposes the phrase "Libertarian Democrat" to describe this new type of Democrat. It’s an interesting label, appealing as it does to a group that has long been Republican (but less willing to admit it) and that might switch, if given the right push.
But I don’t think it fully describes what is happening on the ground. The movement launched by Kos, and others, is really broader than that. There are traditional liberals in it, there are interest-group liberals in it, there are old hippies and young in it.
What they have in common, I think, is a basic belief in something basic. I call them Open Source Democrats.
What Washington doesn’t get about these people (despite Kos’
constant harping on it) is the process by which the Netroots works.
It’s not Kos giving orders and people following. It’s Kos, and
literally thousands of others, throwing things against the wall and
seeing what sticks. It’s hundreds of thousands of people reading tens
of thousands of blogs and choosing, through a process of voting with
their mice, what resonates and what doesn’t.
The basis of this process is the Internet, and the Internet’s
values. It’s the same source as the open source movement. Open source
would not exist without the Internet, because the Internet provided the
infrastructure for the collaboration needed to get the work of people
The same thing is happening at sites like Kos’. Markos Moulitsas isn’t some latter-day Boss Tweed. If anything, he’s Pamela Harriman
(above, sorry Arianna) — he provides the salon, the connections, and the
funding needed to create a new kind of political party. The difference
is he’s doing it on a shoestring, on a server, while she did it with
parties, in a townhouse.
This difference is the key to understanding the new party. It’s a
difference that the MSM doesn’t get and the Washington party doesn’t
get. It’s a difference not even Arianna Huffington
gets, so obsessed is she with getting big names to "blog" even if the
"blog entry" is nothing more than a column, or an interview, with no
interactivity attached. That’s why Kos has been so much more
successful in generating really new ideas (not to mention funding) than
Huffington. He empowers and she dictates.
Open source is the same way. There are some projects which, like
HuffPo, are playing at being open source but aren’t really. They’re the
equivalent of Microsoft’s Shared Source initiative. Kos, by contrast, is the GPL — everyone contributes, and everyone benefits.
And if you’re looking for people to come over and make a majority with you, Kos, look at network neutrality. Look at any political issue involving the Internet. Notice something? Left and right blogistan are in sync. Both understand the open source process, deep in their bones, and support it.
Open source software is often called communist, and if praised at
all called "merely" a business model. But business models can be very,
very powerful. Business models are the basic engine of all economic
growth. What’s Coca-Cola but a business model? What’s Microsoft?
So Open Source Democrats are what they are, even if they don’t know it.