Kagro X at the Orange Overlord makes an interesting point:
Just prior to the vote on Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security chairmanship, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza followed with a story that drew considerable notice for this quote:
Asked what it would mean if Lieberman kept his chairmanship, one Senate Democratic aide said bluntly: “The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question.”
It was a calculated statement, of course, and one that’s as likely to have come from “one Senate Democratic aide” who works for Lieberman as anyone else. But what’s interesting here was the credence the theory seemed to have among Conventional Wisdom watchers.
And it’s plausible enough on its face, though I’d argue that the fact that a bunch of bloggers drove the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to publicly announce its intention to hold a formal vote isn’t exactly something to sneeze at. We fought, we lost. It happens. But our fights never used to culminate in votes of the Senate Democratic Caucus before.
The story made me curious, though, about whether we’d see similar reaction in the traditional media about the results of the other marquee committee leadership contest of the new Congress, the Waxman-Dingell match-up for the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. There’s been no shortage of coverage of the issue itself. And, of course, everyone covered the results. But where are the stories claiming that the defeat of the conservative wing of the House Democratic Caucus and their Blue Dog ringleaders represents a “foiling” of the right? That the Blue Dogs “can rant and rage, but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes? That their influence is in question?
Maybe I don’t feel quite as upset at the Lieberman vote after all. Dingell was as much of an impediment to the liberal agenda as Lieberman.