Framing Science

That’s the take in this recent profile at New York magazine. The far left blogosphere first stung Lieberman when his 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination fell flat but then really turned him towards the GOP following his 2006 Senate primary race. In Lieberman’s view, powerful bloggers have hijacked his party, especially on foreign policy. From the article:

The 2004 debacle was Lieberman’s first introduction to a new force, the netroots, a loose collection of leftist blogs including MoveOn.org and DailyKos. The way the senator sees it, those groups have been “taking the party in a direction that’s bad for America: take-no-prisoners, partisan attack politics.” Their influence, he says, has made the Democrats “litmus-testy” and “reflexively antiwar.”

But Lieberman hadn’t felt the full wrath of the blogs until his 2006 reelection bid. Online activists, including the coalition Trippi had built for Dean, were united behind Ned Lamont, a young businessman with no national-office experience but a vocal antiwar stance. To Lieberman, the blogs’ power in online fund-raising and event organizing–and the vitriol used to fuel it all–came as a shock. (The senator’s own Website, by contrast, crashed on the eve of the primary; his campaign blamed it on Lamont hackers until an FBI probe concluded that shoddy programming was the culprit.) On August 8, 2006, Lamont won the primary with 52 percent of the vote. “For the sake of our state, our country, and my party,” proclaimed Lieberman, “I cannot and will not let that result stand.” The inclusion of “party” in that sentence was jaw-dropping…

…The real reason he’s backing McCain, Lieberman says, is because he believes in the kind of foreign policy that the Democrats don’t provide anymore: unflinching on Iraq, Iran, and Russia, and unfailingly loyal to Israel (he invokes Nixon’s line about “loading every plane” with weapons for Israel to explain what kind of president McCain will be). Lieberman believes foreign policy is the defining issue of the day, and sees Obama’s nomination as the regrettable result of a knee-jerk, blog-fueled peacenik mentality among the Democrats. “Last year, at the DailyKos convention, just about all of the candidates came, and the Democratic Leadership Council held a convention and none came,” he says. In July, following an online outcry, Lieberman notes, Obama called a second press conference in one day to clarify his position on Iraq troop withdrawal.

Lieberman sees this zigzag as evidence that Obama takes his marching orders from the blogs. “In 2007,” he tells me, “netroots and MoveOn.org controlled the agenda–they endorsed Obama like they endorsed Ned Lamont, and did to Hillary what they did to me in 2006.” Lieberman, who often brings up Lamont without provocation, seems to view the McCain-Obama matchup as his battle with Lamont writ large on the national canvas: a voice-of-reason maverick beholden to no one but his conscience pitted against a cocky line-cutter with no experience. “The lesson Joe learned about the netroots,” says a onetime colleague, “is now the frame he will put around any situation, even when it doesn’t apply.” An even less charitable view of Lieberman’s embrace of McCain holds that it’s all about payback for the way the Democrats treated him in the ’04 election and in Connecticut. “If you’re a nail, the whole world looks like a hammer,” says the same ex-colleague. “He was hurt, and to an extent, he is still working through it.”

Comments

  1. #1 john of California
    September 3, 2008

    Lieberman… a disgrace

    The only thing that could have been as bad as the election of George Bush would have been the election of Joe Leiberman as Vice President. How sad, how very, very sad to see this man glow in the limelight of his own shameful and egocentric behavior. He is the ultimate….. disgraceful politician. He is the ultimate sinful personality….. more slimy than pond scum.

  2. #2 natural cynic
    September 3, 2008

    NO

    Joe did it all by himself.

  3. #3 Damien
    September 3, 2008

    Man, there are two reasons I want to get into politics. One is named Barack Obama (and please don’t accuse me of being an Obamatron, I had barely made up my mind about him before the acceptance speech). He stands for everything that I wish that politics would be.

    Then there’s Joe Lierberman. Joe Lieberman is so whiny and pathetic it makes me want to get to the Senate just to mock him to his goddamn Huckleberry Hound face. He is the worst example of what the Democrats mostly are right now.

    Boo, Lieberman, go cry emo kid.

  4. #4 Dunc
    September 3, 2008

    If you think MoveOn and DailyKos constitute the “far left”, you’re already a Republican.

  5. #5 MikeB
    September 3, 2008

    The use of the phrase ‘far-left blogosphere’ tells us a lot about you, Matt. Daily Kos, MyDD and many others are not marxists, but are the netroots of the Democratic party, trying to get some good progressive people representing them. Lieberman, by contrast, was widely seen as an arrogant blowhard, who had moved to become everything which had led the Democratic party to lose in 2000 & 2004. Remember, the netroots want Democrats to win.

    His relationship with big-money, his support for the Iraq war, and his open contempt for much of the rest of his party simply led many to say enough is enough. The fact that Lieberman is now stumping for the Republicans shows that the netroots were right, and the MSM and the Democratic establishment was wrong about him.

    Lieberman is a sad, bitter man, who forgot who he was and what he once stood for. He is also wrong about the netroots, who were pretty fair to all the candidates in the primaries – they just dont like him. On the other hand, they have helped build a Democratic party capable of carrying out a 50 state strategy, organising a ground force which will match the Republicans, raised very large amounts of money and helped a large number of candidates at all levels. The netroots want to win, which is something to be applauded.

  6. #6 reboho
    September 3, 2008

    Why do you give this man the time of day? He lost the left when he supported W and the Iraq war. He can blame blogs or whatever he likes but he will do anything for country and that country is Israel. So he turned to W and when he did he got called on it by the left. He will be a very lonely man after November.

  7. #7 McDuff
    September 3, 2008

    If American journalists don’t stop referring to mainstream liberal organisations as “the far left” I’m going to fly over there and invite each and every one of them to kiss my European, socialist ass.

    When MoveOn start talking about the masses owning the means of production, that’s when they become “far left”. Goddamn morons in America wouldn’t know a proper leftist if it bit them in the eye. Or, the more likely answer is that they would, but they’re all stuck in the red baiting 60s and 70s and calling everything vaguely to the left of, say, Hitler a “socialist program” is a great way of getting the knees all jerking your way without actually having to argue on the issues.

  8. #8 Andrew
    September 3, 2008

    Now I’d be amongst the first to say I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs of american politics, but does moving to support the republicans because your party is being taken “in a direction that’s bad for America: take-no-prisoners, partisan attack politics” really strike anyone as particularly rational or logical?

    Pretty much all of the US political news we get over here is almost guaranteed to have some republical official (be it the president, a senator or a random spokesgoon) spouting take-no-prisoners rhetoric and launching partisan political attacks.

    Granted the democrats might not be a great deal better all the time, I’m sure they’ve managed their fair share over the years (they are politicians, after all) but really. It seems somewhat akin to, as a vegetarian, moving to support the local abbatoir because you feel your supermarket’s meat counter has offended your sensibilities.

    I am confused.

  9. #9 monson
    September 3, 2008

    I think when Joe lost the nomination of his party he needed to find another party.

  10. #10 TTT
    September 3, 2008

    This is clearly an article about Lieberman’s weird, out-of-touch elitist minority positions–kooky things like supporting the Iraq War and George W. Bush. Yet you have “framed” it as a condemnation of DailyKos, the most popular political blog in the world and vastly more normal, mainstream, moderate, and sane than Lieberman himself.

    Lieberman turned into a Republican when he adopted their bizarre weird minority positions of supporting the Iraq War and George W. Bush. That’s the kind of freakish extremism that sure can lose you a lot of your old friends, but he has only himself to blame and it is inappropriate to suggest it’s all the fault of a blog that agrees with the mainstream majority of normal Americans.

  11. #11 Matt Heath
    September 3, 2008

    Ahh, I see. Left-wing bloggers should stand aside and let a new generation of professionally-trained communicators frame social justice issues in a way acceptable to conservatives. Should these framing methods include “just not talking about social justice at all”?

  12. #12 Coturnix
    September 3, 2008

    I have been reading thousands of political blogs over the past 5-6 years and have yet to discover one that can be, by any reasonable criteria, tagged as Far Left. There are a couple (mostly totally unknown) that may be called Left. All the rest of them, including DailyKos, are Centrist blogs written by normal American people, housewifes, busy parents, plumbers, lawyers, scientists – the ordinary folks.

    Have you taken a look at the batshit crazies at the Right? The White Supremacist blogs? Racist blogs? Sexist blogs? Eliminationist blogs?

  13. #13 Jonathon
    September 3, 2008

    The term “far left” is over-used by the GOP and their allies in the media. There is no real “far left” in this country. There is no major group calling for a socialist revolution. No one is calling for the means of production to be placed into the hands of the working class. There are no real radicals on the left in the United States. The Democratic Party is not a leftist party. It is a center-right party, since they’ve been chasing the GOP for the past 40 years.

    Any person in the media or the blogosphere who uses the term “leftist” or “far left” should be castigated. The United States has come much closer to a de facto fascist takeover than to a “leftist” takeover. Those who continue to use these terms should know that the jig is up, and those who hear these people talk should know them for what they are.

    Don’t blame bloggers for Lieberman’s march to the far right. Lieberman wouldn’t accept the outcome of a party primary and decided to jump ship and run as an independent. Because the GOP went all-out to help Lieberman and ignore their own GOP candidate in the race, Lieberman won the seat he actually lost in the primary.

  14. #14 Brian X
    September 3, 2008

    Okay, I’m getting a little tired of this “concede, concede, concede” rhetoric from someone who is painting himself as a nominal ally of the rationalist Left. Just exactly how are we supposed to advance our own agenda if we have to work within the frame that the right wing has thrust upon us? Look what it’s gotten us — the Clinton impeachment hearings, an utterly incompetent Bush administration, and a frighteningly passive Democratic congress whose approval rating is as low as it is because of a refusal to stand up against the Republican frame.

    Nisbet, you’re way, way off here. We give, they take. We give, they take. Lieberman hasn’t moved a single damn millimeter; he’s stayed put as the netroots have pulled the Democratic party back towards the left, where it’s belonged since the civil rights movement. If the current predictions of a drastic expansion of the Democratic majority in Congress holds true (and I see no reason to believe it won’t), Lieberman will be obsolete. Good riddance.

  15. #15 woody, tokin librul
    September 3, 2008

    Lieberman is now, and since at least 2000 has been a GOP mole.
    He never had credible GOP opposition in Cn. If the Bushies had been unhappy with his performances, they’d damn sure have done something about it.
    Connecticut, is the ‘ancestral’ home of the Bushevik political dynasty, home to Murka’s pre-eminent, Congressional fascist sympathizer, Prescott Bush who conspired with other Murkin fascists to have Roosevelt overthrown in 1933.

    Futhermocker should have been hanged for a traitor.

    Reid is a fuuking MORON to permit Holy Joe any access at all to any resources under Dim control and especially to ANY Dim infoprmation channels…

  16. #16 Matt Heath
    September 3, 2008

    @Coturnix:”I have been reading thousands of political blogs over the past 5-6 years and have yet to discover one that can be, by any reasonable criteria, tagged as Far Left”

    I’m with you on most of your post, nothing mentioned in the OP is faintly far left. But this statement about never having seen a far left blog is pretty weird. Maoist blogs and Stalinist blogs and Trotskyite blogs and left-anarchist blogs are all easy enough to find.

  17. #17 Tony Sidaway
    September 3, 2008

    So, MoveOn and Daily Kos are “far left”? Who knew?

  18. #18 Coturnix
    September 3, 2008

    I’d like to see Far Left blogs if someone can post URLs. I wonder why nobody has heard of them? How much traffic do they have? Any one of them approaches the traffic of eliminationist nutters, Creationists, fundy sites?

  19. #19 Joshua
    September 3, 2008

    Lieberman turned Lieberman into a Republican, you idiot. Nobody forced him to lose a primary challenge, and nobody forced him to talk at the RNC. It was his own support for unpopular policies and constant decisions to betray his former party on important votes that brought him where he is now.

  20. #20 Orac
    September 3, 2008

    All the rest of them, including DailyKos, are Centrist blogs written by normal American people, housewifes, busy parents, plumbers, lawyers, scientists – the ordinary folks.

    Daily Kos centrist? Are you shittin’ me? It may not be “far” left, but it sure as hell ain’t centrist.

  21. #21 I am so wise
    September 3, 2008

    The answer is yes. Far left blogs also knocked up Bristol Palin and caused Cindy McCain to use drugs.

  22. #22 Becca
    September 3, 2008

    As a matter of historical accuracy, Brian X has hit closer to reality than many of these posts.

    Lieberman turned Republican by being pro-Iraq War?
    What happened to the other 28 Democratic senators who voted yes to the resolution? Are they now Republicans?
    (and for those that don’t realize it, there were only 21 voting against… the majority of Democratic senators supported Iraq).
    Lieberman is, and has always been, further to the right than the bulk of Republicans when it comes to religion and the Middle East.

  23. #23 J. J. Ramsey
    September 3, 2008

    Dunc: “If you think MoveOn and DailyKos constitute the ‘far left’, you’re already a Republican.”

    I’m no Republican, but I’ve seen DailyKos get into moonbat territory enough that I’d call it “far left.” (The BabyGate debacle comes to mind.) That said, Lieberman has gotten plenty of heat from the center-left blogs as well, and for good reason, so I’d have to say that the answer to the title of the blog post is “NO.”

  24. #24 HTW
    September 4, 2008

    I’d like to see Far Left blogs if someone can post URLs. I wonder why nobody has heard of them? How much traffic do they have? Any one of them approaches the traffic of eliminationist nutters, Creationists, fundy sites?

    Indymedia.org might reasonably be called a blog. It isn’t intended for use only by anarchists and revolutionary socialists, but you’ll find plenty there. Decide for yourself whether it counts as a “far left blog.”

    I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of it. Alexa currently ranks it as the 3,765th most popular website, and that’s not including hits to Indymedia sites at other TLDs, like indymedia.us. For comparison, scienceblogs.com is the 10,997th most popular site.

  25. #25 Coturnix
    September 4, 2008

    OK, I heard of them, just did not think of it as a blog. I have seen a couple of other sites that are like that but do not think of them as blogs as they do not have a “personal touch” but feel like a magazine. antiwar.com comes to mind. Quite Left, for sure.

  26. #26 Dunc
    September 4, 2008

    Well, whenever I hear the words “far left blog”, I think of Lenin’s Tomb. Of course it’s not US-based. We’re talking proper Trotskyite revolutionary socialism here.

    I suppose Arthur Silber could also be considered far-left from certain angles, although he’s not a statist leftist, which is usually what people mean.

  27. #27 NM
    September 4, 2008

    “Far left blogosphere”??? To this European, calling DailyKos “far left blogosphere” is amusing. Very amusing. Far left? DailyKos? It’s not even on the left of the average socialist governing party (Spain’s PSOE, France’s PS or Germany’s SPD, and so on, excluding UK’s Labour which is just subsidiary of the Republican party). And those party have moved substantially rightward in the past two decades.
    And Ned Lamont was hardly a pinko.

  28. #28 minimalist
    September 4, 2008

    Seriously, Lamont was pretty centrist, all told. He just wasn’t batshit loony about supporting Israel in all things, and picking fights with their enemies. That seems to be pretty crucial to a lot of people who have seen American power and influence wane dramatically in the wake of the Iraq debacle — and for obvious reasons, people on both the left and right (the traditional paleo-conservative right, anyway, not neocons) should be concerned about this.

    Lieberman has been gradually estranging himself from the Democratic Party for years, anyway. He was always an extremely vocal critic of Bill Clinton, which didn’t particularly endear him to the Democrats who highly approved of the job Clinton was doing. And it was that quality that led Gore to choose Lieberman as his running mate in 2000: part of a disastrously wrongheaded strategy to dissociate himself from Clinton, because of the media-manufactured narrative (framing) that somehow Clinton, who left office with even higher approval ratings than Reagan, would be a “drag” on the ticket.

    Nobody in the Democratic Party likes Lieberman, centrist or far-left, and the only reason any Democrats in CT voted for him was due to his admittedly impressive skill in bringing home the bacon, supporting unions and keeping the sub base operating, etc.

  29. #29 HTW
    September 5, 2008

    OK, I heard of them, just did not think of it as a blog. I have seen a couple of other sites that are like that but do not think of them as blogs as they do not have a “personal touch” but feel like a magazine.

    I guess it’s a question of whether style or software makes a “blog.” DailyKos feels like that to me, very impersonal unless you pay attention to particular contributors.

    antiwar.com comes to mind. Quite Left, for sure.

    You mean the site that features Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Justin Raimondo? Huh. Does anybody in America understand what “leftist” even means?

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