Jewish World Review June 13, 2006/ 17 Sivan, 5766

Wesley Pruden

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Whatever happened to the blowhard? | LAS VEGAS — "Breaker, breaker, good buddy. What's your handle?"

No, wait. That was CB radio, the motormouth fad of a previous century. Now we're in the new high-tech millennium and the good buddies are into blogging.

Once upon a time you could find the blowhard who never shuts up at the end of the bar at your neighborhood tavern, declaiming on everything he doesn't know anything about. Now he's either sitting in front of the computer screen in his pajamas or huddled clothed in the corner at Starbucks, hunched over his laptop punching in rants like he has ants in his pants.

A lot of the good buddies imagine the final solution to everything from the heartbreak of psoriasis to the war in Iraq lies in despising George W. Bush more than the guy at the next keyboard. Nearly a thousand of the good buddies are finally drifting away after a week here on the scout for free snacks, political celebrities and something bad about not only George W., but Republicans in general, conservatives in particular and Christians in specificity. Above all they rave about the mainstream media, the "MSM," with no recognition that without the MSM they would have nothing to rave about. This is the MSM the blowhard at the end of the bar called "them lyin' newspapers."

The blogfest was organized by the Web site Daily Kos, the conceit of one Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the No. 1 Web dispensary of vitriol, vituperation and abuse of George W. The party attracted a handful of Democratic pols, from Harry Reid, the party leader in the Senate, to Howard Dean, the shriekmaster general of the government-in-waiting and the beau ideal of the gathering, and on to Mark Warner, Wesley Clark, and two governors, Tom Vilsack of Iowa and Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Some were invited and some just showed up, looking for a snack. For nearly a week the going-to-seed Riviera Hotel and Casino became Kosistan. The gathering was nominally called "inclusive," but a Republican, a conservative or a Christian could have lost his head here as easily as in any other i-stans.

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Kos and his camp followers believe they are the future of the Democratic Party, but Kosistan is so far out in the solar system, somewhere beyond Pluto, that Hillary Clinton is regarded as the ruling goddess of the vast right-wing media conspiracy. She was not wanted here and would have endured citizen's arrest if she had dared show up. Mark Warner probably was invited, because he was introduced by Kos himself at a club called the Stratosphere. "We'll evaluate candidates over the next year or so and watch very carefully," Kos said, "but I've got to say, this is a heck of a first date."

Most of the politicians begging a first date set up snack bars, and the Warner refreshment stand was one of the most popular, dispensing drinks like the "Kostini," concocted of gin, triple sec and olive juice. Never before had a presidential wannabe set out to deliberately poison prospective voters.

Hated though the MSM may be, the bloggers obviously yearn to move up from the pajama game. Maureen Dowd, the dowager queen of the New York Times op-ed page, was mobbed by bloggers who wanted to have their pictures taken with her. She happily obliged. You learn to take fame where you find it. There were learned panel discussions, some more learned than others, presided over by the likes of Arianna Huffington, giving out with hot national security tips. A deputy press secretary in the Clinton White House lectured the bloggers about the collared shirt, clean underwear and leather shoes they'll need if they want to be taken seriously in the adult world.

Rants and raves only go so far, and Kos and his followers are finally figuring out that you have to win elections before you get to govern. But they're so contemptuous of most of America that it's difficult to see how they can move beyond Howard Dean and the urge to scream. But Las Vegas is where you keep the dream alive with the long shot. You can see the dreamers every morning when the sun peeps over the Muddy Mountains, trolling Las Vegas Boulevard to beg for gas money to get out of town.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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