Lamont Wins, and the Breast-Beating Begins

Bloggers celebrate Ned Lamont's victory in the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut and suggest the media have joined Joe Lieberman in Loserville.

Ned Lamont has won the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut. Joining Lamont in a victory dance? Some bloggers. And joining Joe Lieberman in Loserville, according to some in the ‘sphere? You guessed it: the MSM.

Feeling his oats is Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who blogs this breast-beating-cum-battle-cry : “What tonight showed is that democracy can work. That even the most powerful, entrenched forces can be dislodged by people-power. That the combined mights of the Democratic and Conservative establishments couldn’t hold the gates against the barbarian intruders. We can make a difference, and we will. We have just seen what we can accomplish if we set our minds to it. Now while we’ll work to seal the deal in Connecticut, we’ll also take our energy, our passion, and yes, even our dollars and use them to teach the ruling Republican ideologues running our country into the ground that they face repercussions for their incompetence. … So saddle up. We’re under 100 days to the general election. The time to fight is now.”

At Sunlight Foundation, Ellen Miller concludes that it’s not so much bloggers’ influence over primary voters that affected the Lamont-Lieberman race, but bloggers’ influence over reporters covering the race. Writes Miller: “We also can’t overlook the role that political bloggers played in this race, not directly in reaching voters (Zephyr’s hunch is that number of primary voters actually reading blogs would be less than 10 percent) but in how they shaped the race for the national press, which in turn affected local voters as they got a sense of its importance.”

Perhaps seeking to “influence” reporters further still, echidne at Eschaton types up for “mainstream journalists” “the rules” for writing about “and understanding liberal/progressive political blogs.” Reporters are instructed to “print this [list of rules] out and you have a one-page summary which you can keep in your pocket for those rare times you need to write about political blogs.” Echidne’s rules include: “You can choose from these assessments: Either liberal blogs don’t matter, because nobody reads them. Or liberal blogs don’t matter, because they are only read by fringe elements (dirty hippies) who don’t matter or shouldn’t matter. Or liberal blogs don’t matter, because though they might be read by a whole lot of people, these people are still a fringe, even if their opinions might be those of the majority of Americans or at least of the majority of Democrats. …” And: “Don’t forget the anger. The anger! Liberal bloggers are angry! Never ask why they might be angry or what their grievances might be, because this might make the liberal bloggers look … human and reasonable … “

Pretend Pundit, too, has some words for the press. “The media will breathlessly portray Ned Lamont’s primary win as a referendum on Bush’s War in Iraq and declare that momentum is shifting toward the Democrats (momentum always does). But Lieberman’s loss didn’t tell us anything new. Since liberal Democrats generally vote in Democratic primaries, we learned yesterday that liberals don’t agree with the war. Only the drive-by media could call that news.”

Echoing Pretend’s sentiments is New England Republican who opines: “In predictable fashion the Lamont victory over Lieberman in Connecticut is being oversold by the usual suspects in the media. However, this is not an indicator of a great sea shift toward Democrats. It isn’t proof of the ascendancy of liberal blogs or in American politics. The far left-wing candidate winning an election populated by shades of left-wing voters is not exactly shocking.”

If Lamont’s victory does not represent a “great sea shift toward Democrats,” what, then, does it represent? Here to enlighten is Ed of Captain’s Quarters, who explains that the outcome in Connecticut actually represents “a nightmare scenario for Democrats.” According to Ed: “An outright Lieberman victory or a real butt-kicking by Lamont would have settled Connecticut, allowing the party and the media to focus on other, more important races. No one seriously thinks that Alan Schlesinger will win Lieberman’s seat for the GOP in November, after all, and Democratic energy will get wasted in a three-way race. Yet that’s exactly what Democrats face, and the media will be only too happy to follow this race and the split it will generate in the ranks of party leadership and big-money donors.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.