October 30, 2006

THE NETROOTS ARE ALREADY assigning blame for a Lamont defeat: “The American people know this. They know that Democratic Senators are moral lepers, weaklings, and that is the only reason we aren’t further ahead when the Republicans screw everything up. The Democratic Senate leaders will sell us out at every opportunity, be it torture, Iraq, Alito, Lieberman, the Bankruptcy Bill, or stopping war with Iran. They aren’t poll-driven, they aren’t fear-driven, and they aren’t driven by strategic differences. They are simply driven to beat us down, their voters, by any means necessary. That’s why they cheered Joe. . . . We can win this fight, as the polls are tightening. But it would be a whole lot easier without that knife in our back.”

UPDATE: TigerHawk emails:

The Matt Stoller piece you linked is the traditional rant among defeated true believers. Although I was but a toddler at the time, my recollection of the history is that Barry Goldwater’s supporters had much the same reaction in 1964. On the one hand, they spent a lot of years in the desert after that. On the other hand, it inspired them to build a dominant political force 15 years later. The question is, will today’s lefty activists accommodate themselves to the compromises necessary to do that, as conservatives did?

Well, they haven’t lost yet, though calling Democratic Senators “moral lepers” and “weaklings” just before a big election on which the balance of power rests is probably unconstructive. . . . But I think that the Netroots blogosphere will probably make the kind of necessary political compromise that TigerHawk describes harder to achieve. When you’ve got an empowered and connected network of boss-haters it’s much more difficult to pull that sort of thing off.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader James Somer emails:

I had to laugh at the rant you linked to assigning blame for Lamont’s expected loss in Connecticut. I live in Connecticut’s Farmington Valley, which up here is what passes for a Republican redoubt. You wouldn’t believe how many yards I’ve seen in my town this fall that have a “Sticking With Joe” sign right next to a sign for the GOP incumbent congresswoman, Nancy Johnson. Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for Senate, Schlesinger, may not even hit double-digits on election day. The Netroots wanted to punish Lieberman so they saw to it that he was booted in the primary. But in so doing, they drove up Lieberman’s popularity with Republicans and independents who are dubious of such ideological hatchet jobs. Even worse (or better, if you’re Karl Rove) the Angry Left’s savaging of the moderate Lieberman also gave Connecticut’s three endangered GOP congresspersons cover, as it created a confusing, three-way Senate race in a state where a very popular, moderate Republican governor (Jodi Rell) was already running at the top of the ticket. In a year where Democrats should be insisting on a black-and-white referendum between Republicans and Democrats, the netroots filled Connecticut’s politics with many shades of gray.

I’ve never understood how targeting Lieberman squares with the goal of getting a Democratic majority.