July 25, 2006


Web, Lieberman and the Netroots (ARI MELBER, July 25, 2006, The Nation)

As progressive bloggers focus on ousting Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman from office for his alleged disloyalty to Democrats, in Virginia, another candidate who embodied the Republican cause has infiltrated the Democratic Party. But ironically, the bloggers support this former Reagan official.

Jim Webb, a Vietnam combat veteran who served as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, is not only the new darling of the national netroots in his challenge to Republican incumbent George Allen; he was recruited to run for office by Internet activists. Webb, an iconoclastic, progun, prochoice, antiwar, libertarian, economic populist from a rural military family, recently declared his membership in the Democratic Party. In a summer campaign season punctuated by talk of purges and ideological purity, online enthusiasm for Webb's candidacy tells a different story about blog activism, raising fundamental questions about the netroots' emerging electoral strategy.

Hardly a coincidence that Joe Lieberman is Jewish and Jim Webb celebrates clanishness.

Hatred-politics endanger Lieberman race (Morton Kondracke, 7/25/06, Whittier Daily News)

If former Greenwich Selectman Ned Lamont beats Lieberman in the Democratic primary, it will represent a signal victory for the MoveOn.org- Michael Moore-DailyKos left wing of the Democratic Party and for vicious name-calling as a political tactic.

The Democratic Party already is handicapped by the fact that its liberal base amounts to just 20 percent of the electorate, while the Republicans' conservative base is 33 percent, according to decades of polling. Both parties must appeal to the remaining 47 percent who describe themselves as "moderate"- which Democrats can't do if the left triumphs.

But the left is ascendant. MoveOn's preferred 2000 presidential candidate, Howard Dean, is now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the party's leaders in Congress, Sen. Harry Reid, Nev., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, give every evidence of being influenced by the left-leaning blogosphere's obsessive hatred of President Bush.

Reid and Pelosi press conferences are dominated by Bush-bashing and virtually empty of positive proposals. Even so, mainstream Democrats are under constant Weblog pressure to "take on" Bush and routinely get attacked for being too accommodating.

Lieberman is a target primarily because he supports the Iraq war, but also because he rejects Bush-hatred and often cooperates with Republicans, even though he votes with his party 80 percent of the time.

When fellow Senate Democrats Joseph Biden, Del.; Ken Salazar, Colo.; and Barbara Boxer; endorsed Lieberman, the liberal blog Democrats.com featured this warning:

"If they read progressive blogs at all - and by now one would assume they do - \ certainly know that the Democratic `base' hates Lieberman and will be furious at his defenders."

The blogger, Bob Fertik, asked, "So why are these senators kissing Lieberman's ass/ring?" He speculated that one reason was that Lieberman could help them raise money, "in particular conservative Jewish money" and noted that "ideologically, Lieberman practically owns the `Democratic sellout' brand," which he warned Biden and Salazar to avoid.

Even before the current Middle East conflict, Lieberman was subjected to anti-Semitic attacks on liberal blogs DailyKos and Huffington Post. One commentary declared, "Ned Lamont needs to beat Lieberman to a pulp in the debate and define what it means to be an American who is NOT beholden to the Israeli lobby."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 25, 2006 7:10 PM

I recently read, I can't remember where, that prior to the Presidential Convention in '72 both parties had almost identical positions and appeal to the religious in general and the "evangelical" base in particular. However in '72, while only 5% of Americans were agnostic or atheist, over 40% of the Democratic delegates were non-religious or anti-religious. It looks like they won't rest until they make another break with mainstream America. I suppose this time it'll be over Israel.

Posted by: Pepys at July 25, 2006 7:34 PM

It can't be done. Those people will not be able to get folk and not-folk under the same tent. Their core dispises the American people with a deep, consuming hatred, blaming us, rightly or wrongly, for all their discontents.

They have already determined to simply not talk about guns. It appears that they are going to similarly keep silent about Israel. What then, shall their platform then be, to talk about nothing? Guns, nothing; Israel, nothing; queers, nothing; quotas, nothing; school choice, nothing; baby-murder, nothing--a great plan, to say nothing and be thought folk-enemies and culture-traitors rather than to speak and remove all doubt.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 25, 2006 7:54 PM

Come now, Lou, surely proposing a "living" wage of $37/hour is something.

Posted by: Dreadnought at July 25, 2006 9:13 PM

Re: Jim Webb's article

I'm Scotch-Irish, not "Scots-Irish". Why should we Americans have to change what we have called ourselves for a long time just because some Scottish nationalists in Britain have decided they don't like the word "Scotch"?

Posted by: James Haney at July 25, 2006 9:26 PM

They like the word well enough when visiting the local pub.

Posted by: obc at July 25, 2006 9:41 PM

Except that in Scotland it's whisky, not Scotch.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 25, 2006 10:02 PM


This teetotaler stands corrected!

Posted by: obc at July 25, 2006 10:12 PM

It's really too bad Webb didn't read Fischer's "Albion's Seed" prior to editorializing, and, I would assume writing the book.
First, I'll take David Hackett Fischer's scholarly research in a NY minute over a former Sec.Navy's overblown self importance.
The so-called Scots/Irish immigrants of the late 18th/early 19th Centuries were mostly from the North of England and Southern lowlands of Scotland (not Scotchland)and those from the North of Ireland had mostly come from these areas.
Several of the "folkways" they brought with them was a suspicion of literacy, the blood feud (Hatfield/McCoy, over twenty deaths over a pig), and, of course, populism, the mantra of scoundrels of both left and right.
Said populism best described as "the more you have, the less I have".
The New England Puritans and Pennsylvania Quakers are the founders of what we are blessed with today, Virginia's Cavaliers and the Backcountry's clans would both abhor GW and what he's accomplishing.
C'mon oj, even the paperbook editions are better than not reading at all.

Posted by: Mike Daley at July 25, 2006 10:42 PM


I was all set to respond to your post, but then I decided you were just trolling.

I'd be willing to bet money that your accusation that oj hasn't read Albion's Seed is dead wrong.

Posted by: James Haney at July 26, 2006 12:00 AM