WHY LAMONT? ...

WHY LAMONT? In answer to Matt, the pro-Lamont forces (Lamonties? Lamounties? Lamonters?) wax indignant when you attribute their anger to Lieberman's war views because Iraq, for better or for worse, isn't what really pisses them off. It's becoming quasi-trite to say this, but Lieberman's votes really don't substantively diverge from those of a variety of other moderate senators. Yet the netroots are trying to save the Nelsons and eject Holy Joe. Why?

Because it's not about the war. Or moderation. Or ideology at all. It's about partisanship. The lines are brightly drawn, but in unexpected places. You can support the President's war, but you can't protect him from criticism. You can vote with Republicans, but you can't undermine Democrats. You can be a hawk, but you can't deride doves. The politics here are tribal, and Lieberman's developed too severe a crush on the neighboring chieftain to participate. I've tried to explain why that may be -- he gropes towards praise and recognition, and receives both more readily from the right -- but pop psychology isn't quite the point. And nor is ideology. Or the war. For all the mockery Bush received, his assertion that "you're either with us or against us" was more widely applicable than he realized. Lieberman's actions convinced liberals that he didn't merely disagree with them, or fear the political ramifications of their positions, but that he was actively against them. And while they can withstand an impressive amount of disagreement, they won't stand for dislike.

Update: A Lamont supporter writes in to say that the proper term is "Nedhead." Mea culpa.

--Ezra Klein

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