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Making Sense On Lieberman And The "Netroots"

In his debut piece at The Examiner, Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger makes some excellent points about the Democratic "netroots" and the Lieberman race and about the Democratic party in general.

So when such bloggers as Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, Chris Bowers, Jerome Armstrong and Jane Hamsher preen that they have pushed "Rape Gurney Joe" (Hamsher's sobriquet) off the island, there's only one problem: They think they are winning in doing so.

Now parties have been getting weaker over the last few decades, and there's a long and interesting discussion to have about that secular trend.

But right now, the interesting question is this one: Why are the leading progressive blogs pushing so hard for something that will objectively set back their ostensible goal -- Democratic victory in '06 and '08?

When people do that, I tend to assume, not that they are stupid, but that there is another goal that may not be obvious to me.

And in this case, the goal is simple; they want to control the Democratic Party. The fact that a Democratic Party they can control will be a far weaker party hasn't dawned on them yet. They are arrogant enough to believe that the people who live in flyover country are just ignorant, and that once they see the shining path they will fall in behind their betters. There is an argument to be made for mobilizing the discouraged nonvoters; but the candidates who have actually done that have been populists like Jesse Ventura -- people whose politics are significantly different than Hamsher's.

But to be honest, even if the public doesn't fall in behind the leadership, and the party loses every election, there will be great consulting gigs and staff jobs. And there's a part of me that believes that's the real issue.

Read the whole thing. Marc Danziger's blogging can be found at Winds of Change.

This is cross-posted at Wizbang Politics.

Comments (35)

It's stupid if the Democrat... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

It's stupid if the Democratic goal is to win whatever the cost. Having principles and losing is hardly a great option, but winning with President Bush's best buddy on board is ridiculous. Lieberman deserves to lose his job. "Rape Gurney" is harsh, but the guy did say that people who can't get abortions in his state can and should hop in a cab and go to the next state over, if medical professionals don't feel like performing abortions.

And he has said that criticizing the President undermines the nation as a whole. Why would any liberal in his liberal state vote for him? Better to lose than win poorly.

Hmmm.*shrug* I'm c... (Below threshold)


*shrug* I'm curious to see how that all works out.

Lorie - I wouldn't be calli... (Below threshold)

Lorie - I wouldn't be calling anyone stupid or "clueless" anymore - especially after your last NYT bash, in which you were completely wrong. BTW, as far as I can tell, you haven't even bothered to correct your own post!

jp2 seems to be lorie's sta... (Below threshold)

jp2 seems to be lorie's stalker.
Does he ever have anything on-topic to say?

I thouth jp2 was stalking K... (Below threshold)

I thouth jp2 was stalking Kim Priestap. But whatever.

I'm a stalker of mis-inform... (Below threshold)

I'm a stalker of mis-information. Especially people who "cut and run," ie throw slander around and then run away without backing it up. (Ask Paul, Kim, JT or any of my Senators)

You too should always try and fight for truth, justice and the American way.

Maybe jp2 is reading and cr... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

Maybe jp2 is reading and criticizing one or more of Wizbang's authors (fairly or otherwise--I haven't been keeping track).

Where do you get off, jp2? What do you think this is, a blog?! With comment threads?!

jp2SeemALittleCreepy,... (Below threshold)
John Irving:


Not that I've seen, no.

Any idiot can make an off-t... (Below threshold)

Any idiot can make an off-topic comment, and usually does.

The post's point is well made: the nutroots don't really care so much about winning as about being ideologically pure. It's an "old left" thing from the halcyon days of Uncle Joe and the Cold War.

That's the "rank and file" moonbats, of course. The big cats like Kos and Armstrong are in it for the money.


I seem to remember a fair a... (Below threshold)

I seem to remember a fair amount of talk in 2004 about getting rid of some RINOs in the primaries by replacing them with other, more "Republican" candidates. Arlen Specter and a few others come to mind. No seemed to be wringing their hands at the time about this "objectively setting back their goals". Why is it that when Democrats support a non-incumbent candidate in a primary it is?

Only a Nixonian proponent o... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

Only a Nixonian proponent of rat-fu**ery would say something like that, Adjoran. Why would a liberal want the Democrats to win if they continue to let non-liberals like Lieberman play such prominent roles within the party? Furthermore he simply does not represent his constituents' views and he bitches and whines about having to fight a primary as though he is entitled to being a Senator.

If a gay-married tax-hiker somehow became the Republican candidate for your state, would you vote for him/her? Sheesh.

mantis, you can always coun... (Below threshold)

mantis, you can always count on conservatives who vote Republican to dispense the best advice for the Democratic party. Howard Dean is undoubtedly taking notes.

Matt says Lieberman doesn't... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Matt says Lieberman doesn't represent his constituents' views? What? Then why have they been re-electing him over and over again? "Constituents" are not just the nutroots or even just the Democrats in the state. They are the citizens of the entire state. That is what Senators are supposed to do -- represent the interests of the citizens of their state. Not just the fringe activists or even just the people of their party. If the Dems don't want Lieberman, but the citizens/voters do, then why shouldn't he run as an Independent to give them the opportunity to vote for him. If they don't want him then he will not be re-elected.

As for jp2, anytime he/she changes the subject then it is obvious to me who has won the debate -- even if only by default. I think that is pretty obvious to most everyone, except the clueless. As for the NYT post, I did not update it myself only because Kevin beat me to it and did it before I even saw the followup stories. (I had never heard of Greenwald, or whatever his name is, before and don't regularly read the blogs that posted the info. Most of them were ones I had never heard of before and could not name now.) I did comment at Kevin's post as soon as I saw it to thank him for updating mine. I thought that was sufficient, but have since added a duplicate update to my post to help the clueless who didn't get it the first time around.

Now jp, about Lieberman and the state of the Democrat party...that was the subject of the post after all, not me calling anyone stupid or clueless, which I did not do in in this post -- until this comment, that is. I don't recall calling anyone stupid in any posts, ever, but since there have been plenty of valid reasons to have done so over my past two years of blogging, I would not be completely surprised if I had.

Lorie - how can we get corr... (Below threshold)

Lorie - how can we get corrections then, if you won't do it yourself? I really don't feel like personally emailing you every time you get a story wrong. (Your box might get full. [wink])

But you did a good bit of name calling on your post re: The Times. And you refuse to correct your error. So I'm taking to a public forum since you haven't corrected it. It's not about losing a debate - it's about ending mis-information, which you have put out to your readers, including me. If you would rather I email you with this kind of stuff, I will.

As for this specific debate - this says it all:

"the nutroots don't really care so much about winning as about being ideologically pure."

That's exactly right - re: netroots. Liberals, as far as my experience goes, stay true to their values. They don't care about winning as much as they probably should. Lieberman hasn't voted with liberal values, so he is being hunted by the netroots.

Republican netroots, as far as my experience goes, care a lot about winning. More than they should. And therefore, they win more, because they are amazing at playing the people, playing politics and especially playing the media. But this - by no means at all - equals better leadership. (Just look at this congress/administration)

It's really quite simple - the left netroots likes liberal politicians. It also likes winning. Most actions reflect the balance of those two positions. I really disagree with Lorie that it's some giant conspiricy to take over the party.

Hmmm.As I personal... (Below threshold)


As I personally would love to see about a half-dozen RINOs pushed out of office I can't say that I really have a position on this.

jp2, Thank you for ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Thank you for pointing out that the liberal values have changed. The modern liberals have nothing in common with the old liberals like Truman and JFK. The modern liberals are secular "extremists" and that 's why the hate Lieberman.

Lorie, the guy has attracte... (Below threshold)

Lorie, the guy has attracted the nickname "Rape Gurney Joe" since the last time he was elected. And Dubya's kiss of death after the SOTU reflects if only symbolically the way Lieberman has executed his office. Whereas most other Democratic hawks have retreated from their original support for the war, Lieberman instead accuses critics of the administration of helping the terrorists.

I don't want to debate the substance of Joe's views. I was pointing out that a majority of people in his state oppose the war, and a majority of people in his state are pro-choice. Nobody is calling for him to be deposed; they're trying to get the message out to potential primary voters that Joe's values are contrary to those of the Democratic Party, as they presently are. Lamont is a very moderate Democrat, so it's not like they're trying to get Kucinich's twin brother on the ticket. They just want someone who isn't going to cozy up to another administration that they perceive to have failed.

Why this bothers anyone but Joe is beyond me.

TM, I am bothered a... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I am bothered a bit. Personally I am happy to see more implosion for the Dem party. Lamont is no moderate. Joe Lieberman is more or less an old liberal, at least in foreign policy. The modern liberals would hate Truman and JFK as much as they would have Lieberman. That is just an observation. BTW, please feel free to defeat Lieberman. I don't have much in common with him on domestical policies. Yet he is one of a few decent Dem politicans left. If you want to the Dem party become a Kos land, please feel free to do it.

Control? What do you mean?<... (Below threshold)

Control? What do you mean?

Wrestling control of the Democratic Party from AIPAC is a good thing is it not?

"Thank you for pointing out... (Below threshold)

"Thank you for pointing out that the liberal values have changed."

I know! Haven't they?

Conservatives must win because they stick to their values. After all, the budget is balanced, government spending is low, our foreign policy is totally un-invasive and the government stays out of the personal lives of Americans.

The following is a response... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

The following is a response to an off-topic comment. I apologize in advance.

jp2 wrote "Lorie - how can we get corrections then, if you won't do it yourself? I really don't feel like personally emailing you every time you get a story wrong. (Your box might get full. [wink])"

JP - I should not even be answering this here because I am assisting you in your effort to change the subject from the topic of the post, so this is the last time I will address it, but did you even bother to read Kevin's update to my post? Did you follow the link he posted from my original post to his where I commented? I can't write it out in crayon for everyone who will not take the time to read what has been written and posted here. There are not that many hours in a day.

You ask how can we get corrections? You and the rest of the readers of Wizbang got a correction as soon as someone at Wizbang saw the followup story. I am sorry that it was not me that saw it first but my email inbox is full almost always and I can't read every email as soon as it pops into the inbox. Sometimes it takes me a few days to get through them. It might surprise you to know that I have a life that does not allow me to be connected to the keyboard 24/7.

Kevin posted the correction because he saw the story before I did. As soon as I read his correction I thanked him for posting it, in his comments thread. After he updated the post I thought it was unnecessary to write the same thing he had already written since he had already done a good job of it. If it bothers you that I did not repeat verbatim what he had already written and I had already publicly thanked him for writing, then that is a problem you will just have to live with.

Sorry to the readers who actually wanted to comment on the topic of the post.

Lorie,Had you posted... (Below threshold)

Had you posted verbatim (or even come close) what Kevin wrote, jp2 and company would instead say that you were his sock puppet or hold it up as proof that Wizbang is just Kevin's right wing echo chamber.
Nothing you could do, except perhaps sepuku, would satisfy them.

I guess it's offcial. jp2... (Below threshold)

I guess it's offcial. jp2 can't read. Or comprehend. No wonder he's easily manipulated by the left. I always wondered how they recruited their sheep. But there you have it.

I think jp2 is going to can... (Below threshold)

I think jp2 is going to cancel his subscription to Wizbang if Kevin, whose posts he admittedly ignores, doesn't run things the way he wants.

That last post might make l... (Below threshold)

That last post might make less sense now that jp2's most recent post was deleted, strangely.

As I wrote above, I did not... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

As I wrote above, I did not plan to post anything else off topic, but others have so I have deleted a post, which I think is only the first or second I have ever deleted since being at Wizbang. I probably would have kept it, but it was a long one. Please try to keep on topic. If not on topic, at least somewhere in the general vicinity. Thanks.

I get tired of the trolls w... (Below threshold)

I get tired of the trolls with attention deficit disorder.

I can't even respond to you... (Below threshold)

I can't even respond to your long off-topic post?

Now that's what I call a "cut and run!"

Hmmmm.Oh for Chris... (Below threshold)


Oh for Christ's sake!

Take the frigging thing to email will you? I frankly don't give a damn about your little snit-fit.

Just stop crapping all over this discussion because it's distracting.

ed, I'm sure there's a RINO... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

ed, I'm sure there's a RINO we'd take for Lieberman. Can you still trade Senators like baseball cards? Or was that only in that one TV show I just made up?

I don't live in Connecticut... (Below threshold)
John Pearley Huffman:

I don't live in Connecticut, but the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics does... and Joe Lieberman has done an excellent job of ensuring that that huge constituent (and lots of other defense contractors) have been kept busy and working.

Lieberman's record on social issues has been exceptionalliy liberal and he's combined it with a strong pro-defense record that accurately reflects (I believe) his state's self-interest. It's one thing for the Democrat "net roots" to throw Lieberman under the bus for supporting the Iraq war. It's another thing to expect anything other than a strong pro-military agenda to attract that state's voters considering its enormous investment in the military industrial complex.

Lamont is a long-shot to defeat Lieberman in the primary. But if he does manage that, he's going to have to convince his state's electorate that while he's against the war in Iraq he's still in favor of Sikorsky (based in Stratford) selling lots of Blackhawk helicopters and Electric Boat (located in Groton) building lots of nuclear submarines. In order to do that he may need his own "Sister Souljah" moment where he takes on the net roots and declares his independence from some of their more radical leftist notions of defense spending.

I don't think either the net roots or Lamont seem ready for the socially liberal but hawkish realities of Connecticut politics. At least not yet.

Connecticut is a perfect fit for Joe Lieberman's politics. But in the long run, it will probably find the net roots full agenda a bit too narrowly tailored.

JP Huffman: Thank you for b... (Below threshold)

JP Huffman: Thank you for bringing up Sikorsky and Electric Boat. While the nutroots, and maybe some faction of the CT Dem Party, may be upset with Lieberman, those two companies are a huge part of the CT economy, employing plenty of people who know quite well that either company could pack up and leave if the political climate in CT turned against them. Either could find cities and states more than happy to offer tax cuts galore to bring them--and their marvelous, tax generating jobs--to more military favoring locales.

Hmmmm.ed,... (Below threshold)


ed, I'm sure there's a RINO we'd take for Lieberman. Can you still trade Senators like baseball cards? Or was that only in that one TV show I just made up?

Well ... How about Chaffee? I think he's a Republican just to avoid having to go through a Democratic primary.

If not Chaffee I'm sure the GOP's got someone to trade.

We'll take Chaffee, but if ... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

We'll take Chaffee, but if you try to deal him in a package with Ted Stevens we're walking away from the table. =)

I don't think Ned Lamont will hurt military spending. I don't see why strategically withdrawing from Iraq (as even Repub pols seem to acknowledge is inevitable in some shape or form) means that Sikorsky will be doomed. Even so I hope voters in CT would prefer that defense contractors take a hit if the alternative means less helicopter pilots coming home in body bags. It's not like they're going to go broke. There are tons of helicopters still in use in S. Korea, Afghanistan, and wherever else the U.S. operates.

Markos, Atrios, Hamsher et al don't think they have this guy in their pocket. They just think that a fiscal moderate who opposes this war will be better for the United States, as well as voters in Connecticut. I don't think he will win (and I don't think he does either), but if he did I don't think he would then have to choose between a mutiny or becoming Kucinich's new best friend.

His new ad is funny: http://atrios.blogspot.com/2006_07_09_atrios_archive.html#115256430921660260

Totally Matt,I don... (Below threshold)
John Pearley Huffman:

Totally Matt,

I don't think anyone argues (even Lieberman or Bush) that the U.S. military presence in Iraq will contine forever at the current levels. The question is the nature of the U.S. commitment -- the when an how of when we leave. And the net roots want to leave immediately, no matter what the consequences. Though they'd be happiest if those consequences included humiliation and, ultimately, expulson for Bush.

While the current obsession of the net roots is Bush (even, I'd argue, more than the Iraq war), it's naive to believe that the left wing ideology they promote doesn't include a comprehensive view of the United States' place in the world that includes a reduced military presence and scope. No, Ned Lamont will not likely affect military spending on his own. But in a state like Connecticut, he can't afford to embrace such a world view unambiguously. My argument is that in order to win a general election, he'll have to demonstrate his independence from the left wing agenda not his loyalty to it.

Of course Sikorsky will continue to sell helicopters and Electric Boat submarines, the question is at what rate and regularity. The left wing agenda does in fact stretch beyond the immediate situation in Iraq and it's naive not to think so. And Lamont can't, I'm sure, run on the full scope of that agenda and achieve success in a general election.






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