Eyeing Obama Era, DailyKos Launches Blog to Press Congress

Prominent writers for DailyKos, the country's top liberal blog, are launching a new site to scrutinize and pressure the Democratic Congress.

This week, as most politicos focus on appointments in the incoming Obama administration, DailyKos bloggers began a "soft launch" for Congress Matters, which promises a "community-based political watch party" for Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"It'll be a place where we'll try to explain Congressional rules and procedure so that the netroots community gets a better handle on it and can become more effective advocates for their priorities," said David Waldman, an attorney and former Congressional aide who blogs on the front page of DailyKos under the name Kagro X.

While netroots activists often call Congress, Waldman explained, "the reality is that by the time a bill gets to the floor, it's almost too late to have any real impact by calling." The new blog will tap DailyKos' audience and brand, he told The Nation, with the aim of "getting people involved earlier in the process, teaching them about committee markups and the amendment process to eventually put them in a position where they can intervene at the critical points in the process -- the way lobbyists have learned to do."

Another Hill staffer turned blogger, Joan McCarter, penned an open letter to the Democratic Congressional leadership after the election, and posted it on DailyKos' coveted front page real estate. Even after election fever subsided, the site remains the eighth most popular blog in the country. (It beats techie favorites like the Google blog, better-funded news sites including CNN ticker, and even the traffic powerhouse ICanHasCheezburger, which posts pictures of cats.) McCarter pressed for Iraq withdrawal, economic renewal, health care reform and dismantling the unitary executive. "We've been in election land for so long on the blog that the community needs to regroup and change gears," she told The Nation.

The new blog arrives at at time when the traditional media is questioning the netroots' influence after the Democratic Senate Caucus embraced Joe Lieberman, and as some bloggers worry that Obama's initial appointments look more like a third Clinton term than bottom-up change.

This venture rebuffs Washington's penchant for measuring clout and the (understandable) urge to assess a new president. Instead, the Kossacks are bearing down further on legislative activism. In the end, it might even be a good route to influence, too.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.