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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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Within the progressive spectrum, you had economists disagreeing on whether this is good or whether this is bad. I'm not an economist, so I don't really know, but I appreciate that the debate is happening. I appreciate that people are talking about it.

I wish the administration were better at 1) explaining what they think they are doing, and 2) responding to the critics. I don't think that [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner has been particularly honest in some of his responses to some of the more valid criticisms.

Fighting the Conventional Wisdom

DH: Do you get skeptical when Wall Street gets so happy?

MM: Of course! These people don't have our best interests at heart!

The conventional wisdom among the power elite, in media and government, about reality -- the sky is blue -- this is conventional wisdom: after the stimulus bill passed, the conventional wisdom in D.C. is that the conservatives had won this great messaging battle. This huge battle, because they were united.

And nobody ever questioned Republican unity. In fact, we won in 2006 and 2008 by running ads that said Congressman X voted with George Bush 98.7 percent of the time. Unity is their problem, more so than it's their solution. But this was the conventional wisdom, and you saw it on the front page of the Washington Post and the New York Times and on TV, and everyone was bragging about what a great victory this was for Republicans because they had been united.

And I knew, last year, that this was going to happen. That the media was going to run with these bullshit, nonsensical story lines that had no basis in reality. We had seen it, in the debates. When Sarah Palin debated, you heard, "What a fantastic job! What Americans saw today is that she's folksy! And real!"

And then the instapolls would come out -- and this was a new development. The instapoll would come out and say Biden won 68 to 22 percent. And I noticed that this conventional wisdom forms. But it has no basis in reality.

And these polls were really a stark reminder last year that polling could be really effective in correcting that conventional wisdom and helping to form real conventional wisdom.

Daily Kos Polling

So I commissioned, at significant expense, a weekly poll looking at the ratings of the entire leadership of this country, in Congress and in the White House.

So you're getting numbers, going up and down, week by week. So everybody was talking about this great Republican victory. And I'm looking at the numbers, saying that wasn't the case. So I launched a counterattack.

But I started getting these poll numbers into the hands of D.C. reporters and media elites, and we're not seeing that story line anymore. Nobody else had those kind of numbers, so we were able to -- using an old-school method, telephone polling -- correct this bad information.

Because this polling, someday it's going to have Democrats falling and Republicans rising. It's inevitable, it's going to happen at some point. And when it does, I want to know that.

I don't want to create this artificial, conventional wisdom that Obama's Teflon if his numbers are tanking, because we need to identify the problems as they happen so we can correct our behavior. Republicans like to create these alternate realities, such as that being unified is this fantastic victory that's gonna lead them to great electoral success in 2010. And I'm glad they believe it!