Steve Sailer takes note of the punditocracy’s shock that Joe Lieberman should be in such a hard-fought primary race:
…to pundits like Jonah [Goldberg], the idea that somebody important could lose his job for making the wrong decision about a little trifle like war or peace is, or at least ought to be, unthinkable.
If supporting an unconstitutional, unprovoked, and disastrous war isn’t grounds for tossing out a pol, what is? Why, toasting an ex-segregationist on his 100th birthday, of course. That’s what really matters. Per Goldberg, circa 2002:
I think he’s got to go. First, if he leaves we’ll be spared the whole Lott of Lott-puns — senator in a Lott of trouble, GOP casts its Lott, etc. It does make you wonder how hilarious this whole thing would be if former congressman Dick Swett had somehow gotten into similar trouble.
Sure, Lott’s resignation as Majority Leader might seem or actually be unfair — but that’s how politics works.
There’s a useful illustration of Beltway mentality and its essentially conformist nature here. Controversies from 40 years ago — settled ones, in other words — may be used to castigate anyone who steps out of line. (Goldberg triangulates: he says he doesn’t agree with the brouhaha over Lott, but Lott still must go. Notice, though, that the Lott blow-up was entirely a pundit-generated event. No one in Mississippi or anywhere else cared. By contrast, the war kills few neocon journalists or politicians’ sons; its costs are paid by ordinary people known to Goldberg only by their caricatures on The Simpsons.) Current disputes, however, can’t be given that kind of importance, no matter how many Americans or Iraqis they kill, simply because that would require acknowledging the incompetence of the reigning political class — Republicans, Democrats, and lickspittle op-ed columnists alike. If both parties support a policy, it must be respectable, even if things don’t turn out as well as forecast. Right?