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Markos 'Kos' Moulitsas on Obama, Twittering, Fighting the Blue Dogs, and the Major Changes Coming

The founder of the popular Daily Kos site discusses the growing power of the online netroots, and their upending of political gatekeepers.

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If you want to get more particular, like blogs, that may be a different story, but I think the broader netroots -- and to me it's one big interconnected ecosystem -- has become integral. It's going to be the key way, moving forward, that people use to communicate. Especially as newspapers are dying, or going online only, and our modes of information are increasingly digital as opposed to analog.

DH: Did you expect this financial mess, and how do you expect it to affect the other issues that are important, like health care, climate change, immigration?

MM: Well, it's been happening for a while. I know during the Bush years there was a pretense that the economy was going strong. But it was clear that it was an economy that benefited an elite, but really, there was little trickle down.

So really, as far as I can remember, this entire decade, it's been tough for people I've been around. I've had the luck of having success with Daily Kos, but I've seen my social circles and my friends -- they've all struggled. So I've never been under this illusion that things were great and now suddenly, BOOM! -- they're bad.

But of course now we're facing a sort of economic Armageddon. Am I surprised? I'd like to say "yeah," but after eight years of George Bush, nothing surprises me anymore. Disappoints me, but doesn't surprise me.

How does that affect the key agenda? I had a theory in 2008 that the bailouts -- the $700 billion that [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson and Bush asked for were an attempt to bankrupt the country before Barack Obama could enter the White House. Of course, Obama embraced that and double-downed on that, so my theory went out the window!

It seemed like a great theory at the time, but now I don't know anymore. We just saw recently that [Sen.] Arlen Specter [who has now joined the Democratic Party] is trying to use the economy as an excuse to flip-flop on EFCA. And we're seeing Republicans ratchet up this whole, "We can't chew gum and walk at the same time, " rhetoric, that Obama's doing too much and that the only thing he can focus on is the economy.

And of course during economic tough times there is always that rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Every time people are losing their jobs they're looking for a scapegoat. I'm hoping this time it's not so bad -- I'm not sensing a huge anti-immigrant backlash, because I think people are really blaming the AIGs and the bankers and Wall Street for the current problems. I don't think anybody really thinks that banks aren't lending because of illegal immigrants.

So I'm hopeful that the backlash doesn't materialize. But there is obviously moral and political reasons to push comprehensive immigration reform, and by all indications it seems the administration's going to push it. How far, remains to be seen.

Immigration and Populism

DH: Have you personally changed your position on immigration?

MM: I'm an immigrant, so I'm very liberal. Not in the political sense, but I think immigration should be embraced. I wrote today that immigration is embedded in the DNA of our country, and I believe that very strongly.

Culturally, we are a joining of all these immigrant cultures from time immemorial, and so this notion that immigration threatens the fabric of our country I think it actually is the fabric of our country. Is the country gonna look different in 2050? Yes, but I think the country looks different now than it did 50 years ago. We are a country that's constantly changing and that's essentially a strength.