The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Midterm political convention

June 9, 2006

Many prominent bloggers on the left side of the blogosphere are meeting this weekend in Las Vegas for the first annual “YearlyKos” convention. There are certainly multiple panels that sound interesting, though I have no idea how meaningful this convention will prove to be.

From a social science point of view, it clearly seems like a political blog-related event worth watching.

A few hours ago, for example, the convention featured a panel on the “CIA Leak Investigation,” which included these participants: former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Washington Post columnist-blogger Dan Froomkin, Firedoglake‘s Jane Hamsher, former CIA agent and State Department official Larry C. Johnson, journalist Murray Waas of the National Journal and other bloggers.

skippy the bush kangaroo has live-blogged this panel in at least 7 parts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the panel revealed any new facts, liberal bias or not.

A science panel this morning featured journalist Chris Mooney and General Wesley Clark, which was meeting the same time as an electoral reform panel. Krist Novoselic, political memoirist best known as a member of Nirvana was on that panel. Anyone else wonder if the audience thought, “Here we are now, entertain us”?

Some other potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidates are on the schedule. During the Valerie Plame-related panel, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico was on a panel on sustainable energy. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will be on an education panel Saturday morning.

However, the convention isn’t exactly a who’s who of Washington or Democratic insiders. Many, many bloggers are featured, though it does include a number of important figures who figure prominently in debates on the political left: framing guru George Lakoff, litigator Glenn Greenwald, political gadfly Arianna Huffington, media critic and Professor Jay Rosen, reporter Matt Bai, and writer Peter Daou.

Film maker Robert Greenwald, Senator Harry Reid and DNC chair Howard Dean are going to appear via streaming video. I’ve seen blogs with photos of other politicians and Senator Barbara Boxer is also apparently in attendance.

By the way, you can ostensibly watch the convention thanks to Air America.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.