From Las Vegas, a question about California

War Room reports from YearlyKos.

Published June 8, 2006 6:33PM (EDT)

War Room has established its outpost at YearlyKos in Las Vegas, and we'll be reporting in on events here -- and elsewhere -- for the next couple of days. The Riviera isn't exactly Bellagio, but we're pretty sure it's the only hotel in Sin City where seeing Joe Wilson in an elevator counts as a call-home-and-tell-Mom celebrity sighting.

Before the weekend is out, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Mark Warner and just about everyone else whose name isn't Hillary Rodham Clinton will make their plays for bloggy support here. It's quiet just now; the netroots who have arrived already are ensconced in seminars where they're trying to figure out how to become pundits and "turn online activism into tangible offline action," which may or may not be the same thing. The mainstream press reporters here  and there will be a lot of them  are wandering out, grumbling about having to blog about bloggers talking about blogging.

We haven't heard anyone here argue that the Bush administration timed the Zarqawi announcement to knock YearlyKos off the front pages, but we'll be looking forward to that. As for more forward-looking analysis, we'll be listening to hear Democrats who fly in here try to articulate how near misses like Francine Busby's loss in California this week are somehow going to become victories in November and beyond.

On that point, we're still reeling from something we read on the flight into town this morning. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney, stopping in San Diego on the way to Las Vegas himself, reports that Ken Mehlman had 160 campaign workers making 164,000 telephone calls in the run-up to Brian Bilbray's victory Tuesday night. "Democrats," Nagourney writes, "said the Democratic National Committee had no similar effort on the ground here."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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