Monday, August 13, 2007

The Hagel "Purge"

by Kyle Michaelis
Don Kuhns draws our attention to a blog post by Matthew Yglesias deserving of our consideration:
When Joe Lieberman faced a primary challenge for the sin of relentlessly supporting a catastrophically failed policy, the political establishment reacted as if this was the End Times. Now that Chuck Hagel is facing a primary challenge for the sin of mildly gesturing toward the idea that maybe we should avoid catastrophically failed policy, nobody seems to care.
To this, Kuhns asks "Why isn't the media focusing on Hagel's "purge"?

It's true that the 2008 Nebraska Senate race is pretty far off the RADAR for the natonal press. Some of this has to do with the Presidential race leaving little oxygen in the room for down ballot politics. Then, there's the simple fact that the Nebraska primary is still 9 months away.

We bloggers and blog readers have to remember that Ned Lamont's challenge to Lieberman wasn't exactly making headlines in August 2005. Also, Lieberman had run on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000 and for the presidency in 2004 - making him far more of a national figure than Hagel. There's also the added difficulty that there's little to report but speculation until Hagel makes his 2008 intentions clear.

Finally, more than simply blaming the media, we have to give credit to the Right-Wing noise machine for its portrayal of Lieberman as a man being martyred for daring to take an unpopular but supposedly principled stand. If people want to see the "purging" of Hagel covered to the same extent, someone has to speak on Hagel's behalf. It probably falls to left-wing blogs and the Democratic Party to do some of the legwork and start spreading the word that Republican Party activists are a bunch of war-mongering zealots who are out to destroy a decorated combat veteran and true American hero like Sen. Hagel.

Of course, by embracing Hagel in that fashion, we'd essentially be conceding our votes to him. Unless we're willing to play these games and give Hagel that sort of leverage (looking at his voting record, there's no way we should), we can't honestly expect this race to receive the same sort of coverage as Lieberman-Lamont.

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