In the high-stakes game of national political punditry, those who rely constantly on the merely conventional soon look like a contestant dressed as a giant Wisconsin cheese who just got frozen out by the smiling devil Monty Hall. They choose the big box, the first curtain, and win nothing but some parting gifts and a seat in the studio audience. Today's cheesehead is Jonathan Chait and yeah, that's the deep voice of announcer Jay Stewart describing the fun, wacky play-at-home version of the show he'll be taking with him: sadly, the New Republic blogger chose door number one - which opened to reveal the hackneyed, lazy lie that the "netroots" wing of the Democratic Party is filled with nothing but bomb-throwing, flag-burning, hate-mongers.
Posits Chait on the Lamont-Lieberman showdown in Connecticut: "...the sticking point for me is whether Lieberman is truly an outlier--a figure whose embrace of Bush and inability to muster outrage at mismanagement of the war set him apart from other moderates--or whether he's merely the first in a series of moderate Democrats to be targeted by the activist left."
Yes, it's not as crazy as some of the so-called centrists: your Marshall Whitman, your David Brooks. Here's some of the Moose's Bull:
The left knows no limit to their hatred of Lieberman. It is deep. It is irrational. And it has the potential to damage the Democratic Party for many years to come. Truth will not deter the left wing practitioners of swiftboating. Just as their right wing brethren sought to make a coward out of a war hero, the left wingers seek to make a right winger out of a long-standing liberal.
Chait is clearly under the thrall of the "crazy bloggers" wisdom. He's been honking on Bobo too damned much. Any real reporting (a little-used tactic called the "interview" might be useful) would reveal the wide range of opinion in the so-called Soviet netroots. Nobody marches in lockstep.
You see, the netroots' activism in Connecticut isn't about a radical leftist agenda (hell, the annointed leader of the bloggers is Markos Moulitsas, an ex-soldier who has no problem supporting Jim Webb in Virginia and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania). It's about access and power, and anti-incumbent fatigue, not a flavor of liberalism. And it's about the damned war - a way now opposed by two-thirds of Americans, and that percentage has to be higher in Connecticut. That's why the latest poll shows Lamont has jumped ahead of Lieberman among likely voters, 51 to 47 percent. Lieberman is not an "outlier" - he's a tired incumbent whose support for a despised President is sinking his numbers among members of his own party.
Larry Sabato nails it; he was quoted by Josh Gerstein in the New York Sun, at the end of a good article about how alarmed centrist Democrats (read, the connected consultant class) are desperately trying to counter the vicious attacks of the wild-eyed lefties of the so-called netroots:
The bloggers' distaste for the DLC is not strictly ideological. "I tend to think it's as much about elitism as about political philosophy," a professor at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato, said. "They view the DLC as a bunch of insiders from Georgetown who try to control the party and it's nomination.
See, that was door number two, Jonathan. And door number two had the trip to Acapulco and the new dinette. Not door number one.