CHICKENS COUNTED PRE-HATCHING. As best as I can make out, the mandate of John Nichols' blog for The Nation is to be preternaturally optimistic about the prospects for left-wing activism, but I think his post arguing that Nedraline could put Russ Feingold in the White House is missing a whole bunch of steps. Realistically, Hillary Clinton is no Joe Lieberman in terms of political profile, even though I agree that their views on Iraq are less different at the end of the day than Clinton would like us to think. But that brings us to the larger point, Lieberman lost by a pretty narrow margin at the end of the day -- had he not decided to run around acting like Dick Cheney's sock puppet he would have won easily.

What's more, the dynamics of the Connecticut primary were very different from a presidential one. Had Lieberman agreed to respect the outcome of the primary, the general election would have been a blowout win for whoever won the Democratic nomination. That took the dread "electability" off the table as an issue. The 2008 primary won't be like that. And Feingold is close to the opposite (being from Wisconsin is okay; being a twice-divorced non-practicing Jewish senator is terrible) of the person I would come up with as a messenger for Feingold's message. He's going to find electability concerns a very large hurdle to leap, and alternative candidates have a good long while yet to position themselves favorably on Iraq.

--Matthew Yglesias

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