Sunday, July 09, 2006

What The Rabid Ham Hock Says.

Nim gives the dishonest pro-Lieberman pundits what-for:
As you are so fond of explaining to the rabid pre-teens on the internets what is really good for them, let me explain what's good for all of you: NOT calling the exercise of democracy "fascism" or "purging." Some people with websites do not hold the reins of governmental power. They do not direct party funds. They don't run the military. They have, in other words, no actual power. What they have are opinions and some facts. Sort of like yourselves. When they advocate the election of Ned Lamont, the only ability they have to effect this is to convince people that he is a worthy candidate. Worthy of votes, donations, and word of mouth to Connecticut voters. The voters of Connecticut will decide whether they agree. This is the point you seem to be missing. If enough voters in Connecticut decide that their views will be better represented by Ned Lamont than by Joe Lieberman, he should be elected. Right? This is how democracy works. If you disagree, you are just as free as Markos, or Jane Hamsher, or Atrios, to make your argument why Joe Lieberman is the better choice.

Let me suggest, however, that "Joe follows his conscience" and "Joe is bipartisan" may not be compelling reasons for a voter who does not agree with Mr. Lieberman on the substance of his beliefs. And when you attack the rabid lambs of the blogofascisphere, you're insulting and denigrating not the purported kingmakers of the internet, but the people who read and contribute to these sites. This is the second mistake you've been making. Markos, Atrios and the rest do not have monopolies on truth any more than you do, and their audiences are quite aware of this. What the popular bloggers provide is not the shining light of truth, but fora. They're basically glorified party hosts, and if the party ends, or the host starts acting like an ass, the party will go elsewhere. But it won't go away. It could even end up back on your doorsteps, if you had opinions and information that were of interest.


Stop focusing on the messengers, and focus on the message. If you believe that Ned Lamont's campaign is misguided, and the voters of Connecticut should have fewer choices on election day, explain why on the substance of the candidates' positions. I'm glad Joe Lieberman has a conscience (which I sincerely believe he does), and that he is willing to break with his party when he does not agree with them. If, however, Joe's conscience causes him to cast votes that make his constituents unhappy, he runs an electoral risk. See the difference? Joe is not being challenged because he has a conscience and does not toe the party line, he is being challenged despite those traits. Because he breaks with the party on issues of importance to lots of people and lots of voters.

"Lieberman deserves support, because he votes against your beliefs and interests." That's basically what you're saying. Think about it.
This is perfectly spot-on. The only thing that I would add would be to point out that there are races where the party establishment is backing a challenger against an incumbent. Progressive Dem Akaka in Hawaii has been targeted with a centrist challenger, and moderate Republican Chafee in Rhode Island has been targeted with a conservative challenger. And yet none of the pundits who bemoan the "purging" of Lieberman for insufficient purity have any problem with it when it comes from the actual party power structure.

I guess as long as the challenger is to the right of the incumbent, everything is as it should be.


karmic_jay said...

That was a great post by Nim and your points are well taken too. I remember the Pat Toomey and Specter primary. And the complete silence of these same pundits over it. As you said if it's to the right it's never an issue.

Kris Schultz said...

BTW - I've written more about the Akaka race, too, on my humble little blog: - if you wanna read more about the Akaka/Case race in Hawai'i.