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Townhouse is a closed by-invitation-only liberal listserv begun by blogger and Democratic campaign consultant Matt Stoller. Participants agree to keep their information exchanges confidential or risk being banned from the private Townhouse listserv.


Townhouse provides the online equivalent of a political backroom for Democratic Party-aligned advocates, consultants and lobbyists. On this closed listserv selected liberals -- including bloggers Glenn Greenwald, Markos Moulitsas and Atrios; film maker Robert Greenwald; leaders of liberal think tanks such as Robert Borosage of Campaign for America's Future; Wes Boyd, Tom Matzzie and other leaders of MoveOn; and other Democratic campaign and PR consultants -- can confidentially discuss and debate their issues, strategies and tactics.

An article on reports "Townhouse began after the disastrous 2004 election, when young Democratic activists began meeting on Sundays for beers at Townhouse Tavern, a subterranean watering hole in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. ... Here was the next generation of would-be D.C. power brokers, kids in their 20s and 30s who planned to mold the political future. At some point, Matt Stoller, the preppy enforcer of liberal blogging, helped organize the group into a formal e-mail list. ... Over time, the e-mail list and the Sunday afternoon boozefests grew. ... Through it all, Stoller controlled the membership. If you stayed in his graces, and met the group's qualifications, you got yourself a ticket to both the electronic and the alcoholic conversations. At all times, the whole enterprise was declared off the record, to be spoken of in hushed tones only with others who knew the proverbial secret handshake. ... the public introduction of Townhouse now presents the big-name bloggers and online activists with a transparency dilemma. On the one hand, bloggers like to talk of themselves as a democratic, grass-roots movement. (Moulitsas often conflates himself with the entire 'people-powered movement' in his blog posts.) On the other hand, the blogosphere boasts an emerging leadership elite, which is increasingly profiting on its insider status in both the Democratic Party and among one another."[1]

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  1. Tim Grieve, "Bloggers' double-super-secret smoky room," War Room/, June 22, 2006.

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