The Purge Bingers


Those either worried or jubilant about the reported GOP "purge" in NY-23 may be advised to dial back their certainty-meters a notch or three when it comes to figuring out What It All Means for the future of American politics. For a case study of why, harken back to those long-ago days of 2006, when the same dance was being performed around a Connecticut senatorial primary between Vinegar Joe Lieberman and netroots All-Star Ned Lamont.

One of that season's many Concerned Partisans was the Fox-buryin', libertarian-hatin' Slate sourpuss Jacob Weisberg. Step back and admire the spectacular wrongness of a column entitled "Dead With Ned: Why Lamont's victory spells Democratic disaster."

Political analysts tend to overinterpret the results of isolated elections. But you can hardly read too much into Ned Lamont's defeat of Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Aug. 8 primary. This is a signal event that will have a huge and lasting negative impact on the Democratic Party. The result suggests that instead of capitalizing on the massive failures of the Bush administration, Democrats are poised to re-enact a version of the Vietnam-era drama that helped them lose five out six presidential elections between 1968 and the end of the Cold War.

Whoops! And, obviously, the WTFness was easy to encounter on the opposing team, too. Look back upon David Horowitz, and smile:

America is not divided enough for the American Left, which is now in full purge mode in Connecticut, where it is attempting to bring down the one statesman in the Democratic Party who might re-unite this country in the face of its enemies.

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  1. Jacob Weisberg is a tool.

  2. America is not divided enough for the American Left,

    Given the polarization that has been actively pursued by the Dems now sitting atop the heap in Washington, how is this observation been proven wrong?

    1. I’d start with the notion that Joe Lieberman is the Uniter We Seek….

      1. Well, yeah, that was obviously totally nuts.

  3. Barack Obama was running in Connecticut?

    Horowitz’s overestimation of Lieberman’s importance is exceeded only by Lieberman’s.

    1. Lieberman’s overestimation of his own importance, that is.

      1. Lieberman is actually pretty important right now, for being one of the potential filibusters for Obamacare.

  4. Weisbergs best writing on Slate was quoting Junior Bush’s malapropisms, and for that he was made editor.

    With Georgie out of the Whitehouse, Jacob is without purpose.

    1. +1 for using the word malapropism.

  5. This just in: pundits have no sense of perspective.

  6. The only way NY23’s election will be newsworthy is if it flips to the Democrat. That’s not going to stop pundits from trying to turn it into a giant bellwether.

    Although in a sane world, the idea of a carpetbagging anti-tax zealot winning an election in a district whose main issue is keeping its pork intact would be shocking.

    1. Name a district that isn’t interested in maintaining reliable pork-flow.

    2. The only way NY23’s election will be newsworthy is if it flips to the Democrat.

      The only way to accept what’s happening is to deny it.

  7. Nobody complaine about this disavowal of a GOP candidate.

    In his strongest comments to date on the Louisiana governor’s race, President Bush said today that State Representative David Duke was a charlatan unfit to hold public office because he has espoused racist and neo-Nazi beliefs.

    Even though Mr. Duke did not seek the endorsement of the state Republican convention last summer and has been repudiated by state and national Republican organizations alike, he calls himself “the Republican candidate” in the governor’s race because he is a registered Republican.

    The President said, “I have got to be careful, because I don’t want to tell the voters of Louisiana how to cast their ballot.”

    Yet he said: “When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he’s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.”

  8. The only reason Lieberman spent so long calling himself a Democrat is because it’s not possible to pronounce the words “I am an ultra-right-wing Republican” while your lips are superglued to George W.’s ass.

    1. He’s a floor cleaner…
      He’s a dessert-topping…
      He’s both!

    2. Lieberman really is one of the least libertarian senators.

      1. He really does an amazing job of combining all of the worst aspects of Democrats and Republicans into one.

    3. The only reason Lieberman spent so long calling himself a Democrat is because it’s not possible to pronounce the words “I am an ultra-right-wing Republican” while your lips are superglued to George W.’s ass.

      And yet if you’d had your way, he’d be president right now after 8 triumphant years of President Gore.

      How’s that ass taste?

  9. Wowt hats some pretty cool stuff dude!


  10. Matt, I think you’re misinterpreting the real meaning of NY-23: that is an effect, rather than a cause. That Hoffman has managed to accomplish what he has won’t necessarily have any effect on the national politics – but the reason he was able to do what he did might well be a harbinger of the sort of upheaval that rewrote (at least for a time) the national electoral map in 1994.

    Especially if you take it in combination wish some potentially useful outcomes in NJ and VA.

    I think you misinterpret Lieberman, also. The same forces that defeated him in the primary also served to shove the Democrats much farther to the left, as it became relatively clear that their own base would support such a step.

  11. I know there’s no way this could be feasible, but: I wish we could apply truth-in-advertising laws to politicians and their promises. If I sell you my car claiming it gets 100 MPG, you can damn well sue me and get your money back upon learning it doesn’t even get a third as much. But when you vote for a politician promising X and end up getting -X instead, there’s not a damn thing you can do.

    (Not that I ever voted for Lieberman; as a Connecticut resident I spend local election days embarrasedly explaining why out state’s dysfunctional government is totally not my fault. I never voted for Lieberman! Or the ex-governor who served time in federal prison! I swear!)

    1. Are you in Phil Mayman’s district? I love his commercial where he’s getting the massage.

      “I’m Phil Mayman and I approve this message!”

      1. *I approve this massage!

        1. His name’s spelled “Maymin.” No, I’m not in his district, though I do know him because we used to write for the same paper.

  12. Proof that Libermenan is a Bush-loving ultra right winger:

    Lieberman is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. Lieberman has a 100% AFL-CIO rating indicating a pro-union voting record.

    Lieberman was critical of Bush’s Medicare plan, arguing that, in its current state, it does not provide sufficiently for the elderly.

    In 2004, Lieberman scored a rating of 88 out of 100 by the Human Rights Campaign.

    Lieberman co-sponsored the Clean Air Act (1990), introduced legislation in 1991 to give consumers more information about the dangers of pesticides, and has addressed the need to limit global warming.

    Lieberman received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association and a 90% from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

    1. Yeah, he’s really not a rightwinger in any way except in his support of the Iraq war.

    2. I am still trying to wrap my head around how leftists like Lieberman can be so willing to defend “failed” nation-states from thuggery with American guns, and simultaneously work to prevent Americans from using guns to defend themselves.

  13. And — until the president was a guy named “Barack Obama” — Lieberman vociferously insisted no patriot could criticize the president while we’re fighting a war [an undeclared war started on false pretenses, but a war all the same].

    1. And until that guy named “Obama” became President the other Democrats were saying that dissent was the highest form of patriotism. What’s your point?

      Yes, Lieberman’s a hawk, but merely being a hawk does not make someone “ultra-right wing”. The rest of his poistions put him firmly in the nanny-state left.

  14. I’ll be pleased if Hoffman wins, but it’s not the beginning of a new dawn for third parties. Hoffman would have won in a fair primary with Scozzawhatsherface. Only because the Republican poo-bahs imposed their will on the base blocked Hoffman is his third party candidacy viable. This isn’t a pattern likely to be repeated in many places.

    The idea that this proves that the GOP is becoming more ideologically pure to its own detriment is silly. This is a conservative district that should be represented by a conservative. The fracas in NY-23 is notable because it’s so rare. There isn’t a comparable push by conservatives to challenge Christie (who is a typical, not-really-conservative NJ Republican) in New Jersey.

  15. I wonder if NY-23 will get Scozzafava removed from all the ballots in time. Didn’t she just drop out in the last 48 hours? I assume the ballots were printed already, right? How many people aren’t paying attention but will cast their ballot for the R because they always have?

    1. “How many people aren’t paying attention…?”

      They’re not children; NY-23 is not a black district.

    2. In New York, your name can not be removed from a ballot unless you die, become disabled, or take an appointment to the Supreme Court.

      Her name will be on the ballot tomorrow.

      1. Close. After the primary, you could accept a nomination for supreme court (the conventions for which are attended by delegates elected at the primary), or become ineligible by dying or moving out of state early enough, which ineligibility IIRC would’ve had to have been a week or more ago.

    3. I’ve read estimates of about 12-15% of the vote from absentee ballots already cast and people simply not paying attention (or some sort of protest vote)

  16. So, IOW, Scuzzyflava dropping out probably won’t help Hoffman very much at all, come votin’ time.

  17. And yet if you’d had your way, he’d be president right now after 8 triumphant years of President Gore.

    How the devil did you manage to get hold of peek-into-alternate-universe technology, and how can I get hold of the same device?

    1. How the devil did you manage to get hold of peek-into-alternate-universe technology, and how can I get hold of the same device?

      Oh, so you didn’t vote for Gore?

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