Byron York Applauds the Foresight of Byron York


My preview of YearlyKos focused on the internal churnings of the community, how it's become rather mundane. Byron York's take is about how the blog and the "conspiracy" around it grew so fast, and it's spot-on.

In the book, I wrote that the 2004 election might turn out to be a turning point for Democrats, the moment when activists began rebuilding the liberal movement. That has turned out to be true, and they are moving more quickly than the conservatives who are their model, in part because they don't have as far to come. When Republicans hit bottom after the 1964 presidential election, their candidate, Barry Goldwater, had lost by more than 22-percentage points; in 2004, John Kerry lost by three. That's not much so much distance to make up. "Some factors suggest that the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy might have better luck in 2008 than in the last election," I concluded. "By that time, the country might simply be tired of Republicans and ready to change leadership."

And now voters have changed the leadership of the legislative branch, and Democrats stand a good chance of capturing the White House next year. If they do, it will be because they were ready; the whole point of building the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy was to create a structure that would be in place to exploit the errors of the other side when they occurred. And Republicans have supplied the errors: Does anyone think that the Kossacks would have anywhere near the influence they wield today if the war in Iraq had gone well?

All true, although the fundamental disagreements between liberal bloggers and their party establishments are minor compared to the cleavage between the old liberal Republican elite and the Taftites/Goldwaterites/Reaganites. Liberal bloggers want their party to be "tougher"—beating up the mainstream media, impeaching Republicans, fighting back against Republican war hawks. But on economics they don't quibble much with the Democratic establishment. On foreign policy they're not even entirely anti-war: there's a lot of support for intervention in Darfur.

Side note: Three former Democratic presidential candidates are on the YKos steering committee. They are Gary Hart, Walter Mondale and George McGovern. Maybe Jimmy Carter would have signed on if they asked.