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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

 
Payback time in Mississippi?

by digby


Yesterday I wrote a piece for Salon about what might happen if Thad Cochran turns out to be as much of a vindictive bastard as Joe Liebermans was after he was challenged from the left.I don't get the sense that Cochran is as bitter as old Joe was, but if he and his staff are even half as angry, the state of Mississippi will have itself a one man Tea Party wrecking crew. Lieberman sure showed us ---

I recall the reaction:
It caused much pearl clutching among the cognoscenti, who sensed that allowing the activist riffraff to have their way would be to introduce all forms of chaos into the establishment. Even the liberal Jonathan Chait sounded the warning in the Los Angeles Times:
In the end, though, I can’t quite root for Lieberman to lose his primary. What’s holding me back is that the anti-Lieberman campaign has come to stand for much more than Lieberman’s sins. It’s a test of strength for the new breed of left-wing activists who are flexing their muscles within the party. These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent. Moreover, since their anti-Lieberman jihad is seen as stemming from his pro-war stance, the practical effect of toppling Lieberman would be to intimidate other hawkish Democrats and encourage more primary challengers against them.

(Chait has written with equal contempt for the Tea Party many times but nonetheless celebrated the right-wing insurgent victory over former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Apparently, even the Tea Party is a lesser threat to good order than those “fanatics” who supported Ned Lamont.)

The analogy between the two campaigns is imperfect simply because Lieberman was actually a much more disloyal backstabber than Cochran has ever been. His willingness to cozy up to the Republicans was legendary, while Cochran is just a standard-issue conservative Republican who gets what he needs for his state and otherwise doesn’t rock the boat. When challenger Ned Lamont won the primary outright and became the legitimate Democratic nominee for the Senate, Lieberman refused to take no for an answer and ran as an independent. He kept his seat. Seventy percent of Republicans voted for him in the end.

He was very angry. So angry that he tanked his own proposal to lower the medicare eligibility age to 50 simply out of spite.

It's hard to imagine anyone being that malicious, but maybe he'll pay back those Tea partiers by voting to allow black people to vote or something. That's sure to make them livid...

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