…from John Cole.
Now that Lieberman clinched the Monday morning headlines and will get the most attention on Morning Joe, what will drama queens John McCain and Ben Nelson do to get back in the news?I dunno, but I'm sure they'll find a way, as will any number of Senators on the other side of the health care issue. Senators are like that. Even the most junior minority backbencher in the US Senate is, by virtue of the position itself, an important and powerful person, with the capacity to make news and a sense of entitlement to a certain amount of deference and attention. The afore-mentioned are simply exemplars of the unpleasant reality that the most effective way to fulfill that expectation of attention is to position yourself on the extreme side of an issue, though most will disguise that extremism under the cloak of moderation.
There's nothing moderate, of course, about the threat to join a Republican filibuster of an important Democratic policy initiative. To do so is to make common cause with the extremist obstructionists of the Republican Party, which is unified its desire to damage Democrats politically regardless of the costs or consequences for America or Americans. Questions of rational governance are irrelevant to a party whose political strategy calls for the failure of government as a first principle. No moderates there, and nothing moderate about helping them to implement that strategy.
The other, our, side is hardly silent, of course, but the voices we hear the most are from "mavericks" like Russ Feingold or non-Democrats like the independent socialist Bernie Sanders. If a Democratic Senator wants to make the papers, the suggestion that they might vote against final passage of health insurance reform that doesn't include a public option. There's a difference, of course, since they don't, as a rule, threaten to actually join a Republican filibuster, but the threat of any kind of dissension is usually enough for an enhanced degree of media attention.
The real story, of course, isn't Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson (President McCain is in a different category, nor is it Russ Feingold or Bernie Sanders. The story is Republican extremism that has given Harry Reid they Sisyphean task of finding sixty votes for permission for the majority of the Senate to work its will, and the story can't be told without the word extremism. Not moderation. Not conservatism. Extremism. I suppose that's one reason the story isn't being told - the media seems to think calling extremism by its name is, well, extremist.