Sunday, April 30, 2006

The New Paradigm Strikes Again...

... and this time, even our own leaders are scratching their heads because they still can't figure out that WE'RE MAD AS HELL and we're not going to accept their accommodationism anymore. From the Washington Post:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- With his ruddy tan and dark gray suit, Ned Lamont is an antiwar liberal with a twist. Rather than targeting a Republican, the millionaire Greenwich businessman is challenging a fellow Democrat, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, one of President Bush's strongest supporters on the war in Iraq.

When Lamont announced his primary challenge in mid-March, he was viewed as the longest of long shots, a quixotic blueblood who was scratching a political itch. While many Connecticut Democrats had soured on Lieberman over his war stance, a poll showed that voters backed the three-term senator over Lamont by 5 to 1.

But in the space of six weeks, the newcomer has come on strong. Lamont raised $344,111 from 4,337 online donors and added $371,500 of his own money. He hired a staff of seasoned professionals and signed up several thousand volunteers. The 52-year-old cable television entrepreneur is blitzing the state, hitting as many as three events per evening.

Now, Lamont has turned the Democratic primary into a horse race, giving Lieberman his first real test since he joined the Senate 18 years ago, according to Democratic operatives and analysts in Connecticut. Party leaders were so rattled by the challenge that Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called Lamont asking him to back off. "Some of the party brass said, 'Ned, don't jeopardize a safe seat,' " Lamont recently told students at Southern Connecticut State University, who gathered for a meet-and-greet session. "But you're not going to lose a senator. You're going to gain a Democrat."

The race is one of the few in the country in which a well-established incumbent is being threatened by a challenger from his own party. It suggests that no member of the House or Senate can take reelection for granted, given the voter disenchantment with Iraq and a Congress weakened by a corruption scandal and a meager record of accomplishments.

(You can donate to Lamont here.)

I've long been saying that the Lieberman-Lamont primary is THE race of the year -- bigger than any of the general election races. Regular readers know how steamed I am at party elites trying to control the primary process; I've ranted about it here, here, here, here, and here, for just a few examples, and another excellent Democratic primary challenger, Chuck Pennacchio, who's being excluded by his own party in the Pennsylvania primary, graciously did a VichyDems guest blog about the problem of undemocratic Democratic primaries here. It's our party, not theirs, damn it, and I love it that at least one non-party-insider-endorsed candidate is giving the archetypical Vichy a hell of a run. If he wins, it'll send a resounding message to every waffler in the party, and even if he doesn't win, that's OK, we've just begun to fight, and Lamont's just one shot across their bow. (Everyone said the conservatives in the Republican Party were finished after Goldwater lost the '64 election, too; so much for the prescience of nabobs!)

So to everyone who rails at me for questioning whether Harry Reid really is "giving 'em hell" (as his website and emails claim), or for objecting when Barack Obama helps Lieberman in the primary, I say: sorry, but this is the future, and like the Establishment Republicans who wrote off the party's conservatives as unelectable and impractical after 1964 only to see them take over the party in 1968, the Presidency in 1980 and the entire government in 2000, folks like Reid and Obama had better learn quickly that the People are back and get on board, or they're going to be run over. The times, they are a-changing, and it's a long-term trend.

Update: Jane at FDL is blogging about this as well, and points out that there's an interview with Lamont at Truthdig.

(And, in an unrelated but related topic: check out Glenn Greenwald's book, please. It's the real deal by a great Constitutional lawyer, patriot, blogger, and friend of VichyDems. Send a copy to Reid and Obama; maybe they'll start catching on.)

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