Markos Moulitsas, the influential founder of the lefty website DailyKos, used to love Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. Starting back in December 2004, when Moulitsas first praised Tester, then a farmer-turned-state-legislator, as a Democrat who "naturally speaks the language of rural America," the DailyKos has portrayed Tester as the cutting edge of a movement by which once deep-red western states would become swing states and then, perhaps, permanently blue.
In June 2006, Moulitsas was rhapsodic when Tester won the Democratic primary to challenge then-Sen. Conrad Burns. "What a great night," Moulitsas wrote. "Not only did the best Democrat win, but so did Conrad Burns' worst nightmare. Say hello to the next Senator from the great state of Montana." Electing Tester and other favored progressives would create "a whole new ballgame in Washington DC," Moulitsas added. "Let's do everything we can to make it happen."
Moulitsas certainly did his part, promoting the Tester campaign -- "This is the future face of the Democratic Party," he swooned -- and contributing $1,500 to Tester in October 2006. When Tester defeated Burns, part of a Democratic wave that took over the Senate and House that year, Moulitsas was ecstatic.
Now that's all a bitter memory. On Capitol Hill, Democrats are using the lame-duck session to try to ram through some key unfinished parts of their agenda. Among them is the DREAM Act immigration bill, a favorite of Moulitsas'. And on Friday, Jon Tester, once the darling of DailyKos, announced that he will vote against it.
Moulitsas' reaction was swift and furious. "Jon Tester to vote against DREAM," Moulitsas tweeted Friday night. "Good luck getting re-elected, a--hole." Moulitsas began re-tweeting negative comments about Tester -- one said, "Sen. Tester's active misrepresentation of DREAM act isn't just burning his bridges, it's going at them with a blowtorch." And then Moulitsas added his own final remark: "Anyone who votes to punish innocent kids is a de facto a--hole."
The DREAM Act isn't the only cause of the breach; just a couple of days before, Tester voted to extend all the Bush tax cuts. But there's no doubt the love affair is over. When Tester runs for re-election in 2012, he'll have to do it without some of his most passionate supporters from 2006.