Talking with Moulitsas, like reading his blog, is a singularly withering experience. He speaks in twenty-minute chunks, so you don't need to ask questions so much as provision buckets to catch the flood. When I nodded to agree with a point he made, he looked mildly disappointed; his conversation tends to circle back over itself, probing, seeking resistance. Moulitsas is not a naturally commanding presence—he's 5'6, slender, with a high-pitched voice and a rounded face that puts you vaguely in mind of an animated frog....So that's the secret to getting the big traffic numbers in political blogging, then? Be an asshole? What fascinates me here is the revelation that Kos is "more interesting in person than he is on his blog." There's the other Kos blog, the blog that might have been: the funny, quirky, revealing personal blog that is capable of self-doubt, capable of standing outside the political forces it talks about. But doing politics requires focus and self-editing -- on a blog or anywhere else. If you feel an aversion to politics.... well, you should.
Moulitsas is touchy, far too self-assured, and easily provoked. But he's more interesting in person than he is on his blog, more thoughtful and funny and even a little bit more capable of self-criticism. He laughs, he makes fun of himself, he says absurd things and then takes them back, and then thinks again and doesn't—he actually enjoys himself. He told me a long story about egging on a blogger named Chris Bowers, who posts at MyDD.com, the same site where Moulitsas got his start. “I keep telling him, Chris, you've got to be an asshole, you're too soft for politics, the only way is to be an asshole, and you know what?” Moulitsas grins triumphantly. “He did. He's a lot tougher now.”
December 23, 2005
Says Kos -- Markos Moulitsas Zuniga -- in a big feature story in Washington Monthly.