David Brooks is livid. Betrayed by his class (who voted for Lamont), most of what he wrote before the election was wrong (hell, most of what he writes is wrong) so it's time to rationalize and cherrypick to make things right (and never, ever left).
The McCain-Lieberman Party sees Democrats in the grip of teachers’ unions and Republicans who let corporations write environmental rules. It sees two parties that depend on the culture war for internal cohesion and that make abortion a litmus test.
It sees two traditions immobilized to trench warfare.
The McCain-Lieberman Party is emerging because the war with Islamic extremism, which opened new fissures and exacerbated old ones, will dominate the next five years as much as it has dominated the last five. It is emerging because of deep trends that are polarizing our politics. It is emerging because social conservatives continue to pull the GOP rightward (look at how Representative Joe Schwarz, a moderate Republican, was defeated by a conservative rival in Michigan). It is emerging because highly educated secular liberals are pulling the Democrats upscale and to the left. (Lamont’s voters are rich, and 65 percent call themselves liberals, compared with 30 percent of Democrats nationwide.)
Yeah, David. Lamont voters in Hartford and New Haven are rolling in dough, just like teachers everywhere. The poison in the pen that polarizes? This was from The Liberal Inquisition, written July 9.
What's happening to Lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition. Whether you agree with him or not, he is transparently the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men. But over the past few years he has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain. I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate...
The big story out of the campaign last week was the aggressiveness Lieberman has finally brought to his side of the fight. Over the past few years, polarizers have dominated Congress because people who actually represent most Americans have been too timid or intellectually vacuous to stand up. Even today many Democrats who privately despise the netroots lie low, hoping the anger won't be directed at them.
But Lieberman has had no choice but to fight, and he will probably prevail. If he doesn't, and if his opponents go from statewide victory in Connecticut to a national primary assault in 2008, then I hope the Republicans will be smart enough to scoop up what is sure to come -- yet another wave of disaffected Democrats looking for a political home.
If you disguise the loathing with sweet words and don't swear, then it's okay, if you're David Brooks. But CT voters rejected Joe for a variety of reasons, and he did not prevail. Nor is it clear that all those general election voters in CT are going to vote for the self-centrist (I love that term, stolen from the barbarians online) represented by Joe and David.
More importantly, Brooks paints Lamont as a tool of the radical wild-eyed netroots, as David's masters command him to:
W. House: Democrats' extreme left defeated Lieberman
..."I know a lot of people have tried to make this a referendum on the president. I would flip it. I think instead it's a defining moment for the Democratic Party whose national leaders now have made it clear that if you disagree with the extreme left in their party, they're going to come after you," he said.
Brooks isn't the only David to say so. Writing in the WaPo, Broder sees it the same way.
In the primary, Lamont found his most prominent support on the far-left flank of the Democratic Party. His organization was a hand-me-down from the Howard Dean presidential campaign, bolstered by a blizzard of Internet blogs from outside his home state. His roster of visiting campaigners was uniformly of the same political slant -- notably Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
Now, with former Lieberman supporters such as Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Rosa DeLauro closing ranks behind Lamont, the novice candidate will have an opportunity -- and an urgent need -- to moderate his stance and attempt to broaden his base.
The difference is that while both Davids get the Lamont voters wrong (if they're the left wing, the WaPo editorial board must be the center), Broder gets the big tent idea right. Lamont isn't a wild-eyed radical, so broadening the base will be easy - in CT where the guy is running (sorry to remind you). And yes, that will have to happen for Lamont to win. And yes, that's a good thing. After all, Lamont is a candidate of the irate middle, and David Brooks is wrong again.