Though I don’t read him regularly, I’ve been a longtime fan of Jonathan Chait and consider him to be one of the people intercepting my brainwaves for their own writing. That’s fine, as I easily have enough brain power for everyone; I just wish I received some sort of acknowledgement. Another of those people is Digby, who I agree with completely regarding Chait’s very bad column on the whole Lieberman thing.
In essence, Chait is saying that although Republicans are bad guys, we shouldn’t allow the liberal rabble to pick the people they think should represent us. And as usual, I agree with everything that Digby has to say on the subject. Chait seems to have fallen victim to the whole Rovian spin which says that liberals are held to different standards than everyone else, and that liberals who are pushing popular policies should just shut-up because the politics doesn’t favor our position.
And I also agree that this is largely the fault of the DLC “third-way politics” thing that was so popular in the 90’s. It may have won short-term victories for individual politicians, but it really screwed with the party. It’s much easier for one man to thread a political needle, particularly when he has the presidential bully pulpit to speak from; and even he had things tough. It’s a lot harder when you’ve got hundreds of politicians trying to thread needles of their own, while also being attacked for not having a unified message. Clinton was considered a waffler on his own; and it’s impossible to navigate “waffle politics” in multiple campaigns across America. We need a strong, unified message; and now Chait and the Beltway types are attacking us for that too.
One point that I think Digby ignored was Chait’s absurd idea that liberals are to blame for Lieberman’s childish attitude towards primaries. I'm sorry, but if everyone's playing by the rules and a kid is upset that he lost and takes his ball and leaves; we don't blame the people who followed the rules. We blame the jerk for being a sore loser.
There is no difference here. Lieberman might be wanting to take his votes home with him, but that's not our fault. That’s his. Nobody is even suggesting that Lieberman is doing this because he thinks that he has a better shot at winning as an independent than Lamont has as a Democrat. He just wants to win, or to at least screw with the liberals for playing by the rules and defeating him.
And we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be held hostage because he’s upset that he can’t win. It may give us a short-term victory in the Senate; but it certainly will continue to hold us hostage for years to come. I know of few liberals who would prefer to lose political victories for ideological purity. But a Lieberman win is not a political victory for us either. His tactics are of someone who takes his Democratic status for granted, and rather than behave rationally; he lashes out at his own people. This is not someone we need. The centrists can continue to blame us for their losses, but it will only serve to deepen their losses.
Oh, and for anyone wondering why I keep giving Lieberman playground analogies, it was due to the Bagnews’ revelation of Lieberman’s true mental age and how he’s a kid trapped in an adult’s body. It was spot-on psychology and I just wish I had thought of it first. Playground analogies work best for him because that really is where he’s at.