22 Dec 2005

Know the Enemy Department: Kos Profile

Profile of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga aka Kos:

Moulitsas was born in Chicago to a middle class, ethnically-Greek family from El Salvador (his uncle, an architect, had briefly been that country’s education minister). The family moved back to El Salvador when Moulitsas was four and was on the right-wing side of the Cold War proxy fight there. But as that war’s intrusions became unbearable—Moulitsas talks about stepping over dead bodies—the family returned to Chicago, where he grew up, in his own words, “a loudmouthed nerd.”

After high school, Moulitsas, then a Reagan Republican thanks largely to the White House’s support of the Salvadorean government, spent four years as an army artillery scout, mainly in Germany. He had begun to gravitate leftwards while in the military—its diversity had incubated in him a kind of nascent identity politics liberalism—and when he was discharged and enrolled at Northern Illinois University, he became active in campus politics, writing a column for the school paper and helping to lead the college’s Hispanic student group. After he graduated, he took another degree, from Boston University’s law school, and then, in 1998, moved out to San Francisco to try his luck in Silicon Valley. A couple of years later, now married, he moved again, to Berkeley, exasperated at the realization that he wasn’t going to make a fortune in the high-tech boom. “Maybe at some time, Silicon Valley really was this democratic ideal where the guy with the best idea made a billion dollars, but by the time I got there at least, it was just like anything else—a bunch of rich kids who knew each other running around and it all depended on who you knew,” Moulitsas told me. Unemployed, Moulitsas, started posting comments on a site called MyDD.com, the most insidery of the emerging liberal blogs. During late 2001 and early 2002, he developed a following, for the strength and clarity of his denunciations of the Bush administration. Moulitsas started his own blog, and, in the summer of 2002, Daily Kos opened for business.

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