July 21, 2006

Dinosaur Rock:
I've really been saddened, in fact, by how often, when I drill down into anti-Lamonter motivations, I find their ideological and electoral motivations mere sandrock obscuring a core rage at this affront to tradition and orderly succession. I didn't believe this even a few months ago, but I've been forced to conclude that what scares folks about Lamont is that he represents an assault on privilege -- Joe Lieberman's, to be sure, but also theirs, no matter what sector of politics they currently represent.

In some ways, Lieberman is the canary in their coal mine, and if his sanctimonious song stops, so too may all of theirs. They never reacted this way to the Club for Growth primaries, or the Unions' promise to work against Melissa Bean, or NARAL's threats to primary Casey, because they were comfortable with the role and global motivations of those groups -- they were part of the structure, and they sought only to make it work better for them, not substantively challenge its mechanisms. The bloggers, however, are different, more unpredictable, less obviously invested in the perpetuation of this fine political system we have. And so they represent not a challenge to Joe Lieberman, but a challenge to the establishment as a whole. And that's why the establishment as a whole is howling.
--Ezra Klein

In fact, I bet if you look at ten or twenty of the most important political battles in the history of Western democracies, you'll find that most of them occurred within the same party, rather than in the actual battle for power itself. I'm reminded of what the Establishment forty years ago was saying when Eugene McCarthy had the audacity to challenge a sitting President for his party's nomination, in defiance of whatever conventional wisdom at the time said about how someone gets elected to that office. McCarthy was also a fairly undistinguished politician, like Lamont little more than a cipher, and his "followers" were motivated more by a desire to defeat LBJ than to bless the Republic with their candidate's ascension to power. LBJ didn't take the threat seriously until it was too late, and his career ended forthwith.

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