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July 22, 2006

Bloggers = Professional Citizens

Ezra Klein writes about how stunned the professional politicians are at the power of the Netroots to unseat Lieberman.  Three polls are now showing Ned Lamont running ahead of Joe Lieberman in a state where winning the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate pretty much means winning the race in November.  Anyone who thinks that Lieberman can win in November as an Independent is living in a fantasy world, in my opinion.   

As Klein considers why the pros are reeling, he comes to the conclusion that:

Lieberman is the canary in their coal mine, and if his sanctimonious song stops, so too may all of theirs. They never reacted this way to the Club for Growth primaries, or the Unions' promise to work against Melissa Bean, or NARAL's threats to primary Casey, because they were comfortable with the role and global motivations of those groups -- they were part of the structure, and they sought only to make it work better for them, not substantively challenge its mechanisms. The bloggers, however, are different, more unpredictable, less obviously invested in the perpetuation of this fine political system we have. And so they represent not a challenge to Joe Lieberman, but a challenge to the establishment as a whole. And that's why the establishment as a whole is howling.

Klein says that his conversations with the many establishment types who support Lieberman indicates they are in a rage "at this affront to tradition and orderly succession".  Klein says he's been forced to conclude "that what scares folks about Lamont is that he represents an assault on privilege -- Joe Lieberman's, to be sure, but also theirs, no matter what sector of politics they currently represent".
He quotes Josh Marshall as well who says:

I think the Lieberman skeptics are really on to something when they point out that in the Kondrackes and others there is this sense that for a well-liked-in-the-beltway senior pol like Lieberman to face a primary challenge is somehow a genuine threat to the foundations of the system. You'd think he was a life peer, if not an hereditary noble, suddenly yanked out of the House of Lords and forced to run for his seat like they do in the Commons.

In reading the comments on Klein's post, one of the commenters said that he/she considers bloggers to be a new group of people we have not seen in awhile - professional citizens.  Sounds about right to me.  There have been a number of folks out there doing this for decades.  But the bloggers are coming in large numbers to assist and we are in communication with one another and we are learning how to make our voices heard. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 22, 2006 at 01:06 PM in Media | Permalink


"Professional citizens," or rather "full time citizens," people who take their roles as citizens seriously enough to engage. Professional (like professional pol) implies some sort of financial gain. I know its a nit picky sort of thing, but "full time citizen," seems to more imply the seriousness we bring to our engagement.

Posted by: Emmett O'Connell | Jul 22, 2006 10:44:14 PM

Good point. I was talking the other evening with Don Hopps of the Institute for Washington's Future about this. The trick is going to be to get people to remain in the game even after - hoping and assuming there is an after - we get our democracy back. I think last time we made a bunch of changes in civil rights, environmental issues and the Vietnam War and then left active citizening to the politicians and went about our lives. The right and the corporations, often one and the same, just went about the business of slowly building the infrastructure to get what they want.

This is on the podcasting liberally - boomer edition at www.podcastingliberally.com.

Posted by: Lynn | Jul 22, 2006 10:51:34 PM

I don't think we will ever be able to let down our guard. I think we will keep our full-time citizens busy just fighting the religious right, the bigots, the corporatists, you name it, even after (if) we get our country back.

Posted by: Pen | Jul 24, 2006 4:21:24 PM


I totally agree. For me the real spiritual challenge is remaining bouyant in the face of it all.

Posted by: Lynn | Jul 25, 2006 9:38:53 PM

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