Listen up: The Daily Kos may be the rising blog among the underdog Democrats in the 2004 campaign–the Instapundit on the left side of the political blogosphere. But it is more than a forum of partisan comments and links. “The Daily Kos is a budding movement,” says the man behind the curtain: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. He is raising money on the blog for the Democratic party–about $20,000 so far. And he rejoices in the interest that the blog and its treasury have provoked from party chairman Terry McAuliffe. He sounds more like a pol than a pundit. To my ear, he wants to be a player even more than his counterpart Glenn Reynolds. Markos (the Kos in the blog title comes from his nickname in the military) is 32–a decade younger than Instapundit Reynolds, and an equally unlikely arbiter of political opinion. He calls himself “tri-cultural.” He was born in Chicago and raised in El Salvador. His Greek father is one of his three declared heroes–alongside the farmworkers’ Cesar Chavez and Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, who was assassinated at Mass by a right-wing death squad in 1980. Markos served three years in the United States Army during the first Gulf War. He got his law degree at Boston University and now practices technology law in San Francisco. Blogging is an unpaid sideline. He meant just to indulge his taste for inside baseball with Democratic junkies. But the default of commercial journalism–which would rather dish about Kobe Bryant and Arnold Schwartzenegger–has opened up a forum for a broader conversation. He has fewer than half of Instapundit’s readers but his numbers are growing. “The left has a more dynamic blog culture,” he observed cheerfully. The excitement on the Daily Kos‘ comment pages attaches to Howard Dean, but the Kos himself says any Democrat will do next year. The bloggers have already won, in any event, he claims, by establishing the idea that “if you can’t manage netroots, you can’t win” a campaign. The California recall campaign is not a leading indicator for 2004, but rather a manifestation of “democracy run amok.” The Kos will vote against the recall of Governor Davis–and for the elevation, just in case, of Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamente. Get your political fix by listening here.