I went down to the Minneapolis version of Drinking Liberally tonight to see blogging superhero Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of Daily Kos fame. While I have been a fan of his blog since the early days I have always found him to be a fairly dry, tho insightful, writer so I was quite pleased to find that in person he is a more dynamic and jovial person than I was expecting. He spoke for a while before answering questions and he seems like a real fighter, something the party could use a lot more of.
I spoke briefly to REW from Power LIberal who is to be commended for putting the event together but best of all I got to meet PZ Myers who writes Pharyngula, one of the best science blogs around. Anyone with an interest in evolution and the ridiculous debates surrounding it should check out his site on a regular basis. His take on evolution/creationism is very much like mine but his posts are longer. And better written. And better researched. And have concrete examples. And cool pictures. Tho in my defense I think my research subject of choice can eat his research subject of choice.
Markos spoke for a few minutes and then answered questions for a while and I was lucky enough to get to ask the last one which was along the lines of "yes the public is finally on the same page as the Democrats on the issue of the Iraq war but what are we going to do when W and company start demagoging the threat of a nuclear armed Iran?" He had a perfectly legitimate answer (that Dems just need to have the courage of their convictions and the votes would follow) but didn't say anything specifically about Iran. This reenforced a real concern I have had lately and that is that I don't hear Democrats talk very seriously about foreign policy. Saying we will get out of Iraq and not be as inept as W is not going to get us very far. A guy standing next to me and wearing a Ford Bell button told me I need to vote for Bell because he definitely will not take military action against Iran. Another said we won't have to talk about Iran because as soon as W starts talking about military action voters disillusioned by Iraq will flock to the Democrats. An attack on Iran is a terrible idea, but shit, just saying we won't attack isn't a policy! And not talking about it isn't an election strategy. Kevin Drum has been saying for several weeks now that Democrats better be ready with a constructive plan when Rove turns the 2006 elections into a debate about Iran but I've seen little indication that we are.
Markos has said in the past that the important thing is winning elections and you don't do that by sounding like a policy wonk (otherwise John Kerry would be in the early stages of running to succeed a term limited President Gore) and that is certainly true. But if Democrats want to be seen as more than just the default alternative to an incompetent Republican party they need to present a compelling vision of how they will deal with a hostile and difficult world. When I was at my senate district convention a few weeks ago no one, not senate candidates, not house candidates, had anything to say about foreign policy beyond getting out of Iraq and the occasional line about "fair trade." This worries me and I hope it worries some of the higher ups in the party.