The second annual YKos convention (for "yearly Kos") convened by the lake in Chicago today. Fourteen hundred people more pumped up than you’d find anywhere outside of a Holy Roller gathering have come together from all over the country, thrilled that Bill O’Reilly and William Kristol have elevated their blogosphere to the latest Dire Threat to Life as We Know It. After registration and a scattering of breakout sessions we came together tonight for the first Keynotes session.
A 25 year old hip-hop standup comedian warmed us up by leading us in a silent moment mourning the death of mainstream media (MSM) and then riffed on what makes it run: "The MSM tells you they’re just doing their job by giving people what they’re interested in seeing.. Well, people are interested in seeing 20 year old chicks mud-wrestling naked, but it’s not news. It IS NOT NEWS"
Then Senator Dick Durbin came on two huge video screens ("I meant to be there to welcome you to my own city myself, but Im trapped here in DC and on my way to Iraq and Afghanistan in the morning") to salute the blogmeisters for dramatically changing the Democratic Party and America for the better. He said there’s a long list this unruly crowd can take credit for:: ending John Bolton’s tenure at the UN, turbo-charging the Plame affair and the firing of U.S. Attorneys into powerful issues, even winning control of the Senate. He made a big pitch for the Fair Elections Act to get the scurvy money out of politic, urging folks to http://www.fairelections.com/.
Then came the main act. DNC Chair Howard Dean strolled onto the stage to a standing O. He’s right on top of his game. He:
--slammed Republican opposition to reforms to make voting more accessible to all Americans. "Voting is the fundamental practice of Democracy, and the more people vote the better it is for American… and, incidentally, the Democratic Party. The Republican Party likes to talk about its values, but apparently democracy isn’t one of them, given their suppression of voters and their unwillingness to guarantee voting rights." He urged the bloggers to rally their follower to lean on their reps to pass H811 to get valid elections by 2008 elections, because "2010 might be too late."He was roaring now, fist pounding, eyes blazing as he closed. And the crowd …went… crazy.
--admitted that "even I didn’t appreciate how important the Internet was after the last election…I LOVED the YouTube Presidential debate. For the first time it got the campaign conversation fully out there in the messy middle of the public, right there with real Americans, where it belongs. What a surprise that the Republicans don’t want to do it."
--Called the Ds the party of the future, while the Republicans are the party of the past. "It’s pretty easy to see:: just look who they’re running for president and who we’re running for president."
--asserted that the Internett will spread so much information and associated autonomy that it will force countries like China and Iran towards democracy.. "It means that we CAN win the battle for a Democratic world, which will not happen with invasions of country like Iraq and Iran." And at home? "With the Internet we’re beginning the 2-way campaign. Now we dialogue with the people whose vote we want, asking for their input and really listening to them, not using this as a cheap gimmick. This will remind us that we don’t own the power…it is loaned to us every two
-- praised what the DEMOCRATIC Congress has done in six months, offering la list that, when we thought about it, wasn’t too bad. And on Iraq? "We will continue to push a vote on Iraq withdrawal again and again and again and again, giving the Republicans endless chances to carry out the clear mandate of the American people, until they do so.
--welcomed the new attention the Evangelical movement is giving to world hunger and oppression and climate change. "Let’s pay attention and let’s gather with those we can agree with on those things we can agree on."
--focused on younger folks: "We are paying the price today for not reaching out to young people in the 1980s during the Reagan presidency, because the way people vote the first 3 times will predict how they vote for the rest of their lives. Our neglect explains why John Roberts is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court today."
--praised impatience. " It’s an important quality: nevertheless, lets remind the young AND OURSELVES how many grinding years of struggle it took the Civil Rights movement to succeed. It took them many years, and our youth to know that this is not a one day or one election cycle struggle, but a process we’ll be involved in for the rest of our lives!"