‘Meaningful Change’ at the New Republic

Glenn Greenwald (8/27/09, ad-viewing required) of Salon‘s series of New Republic quotes morphing from condemning a perceived “anti-Lieberman jihad” to calling for “knocking off Democrats like Conrad and Joe Lieberman” charts the outlet’s “rapid and total reversal–one effectuated without the slightest acknowledgment that it even occurred.”

Calling the change “just the accountability-free nature of Beltway punditry,” Greenwald also spies “a more important point highlighted here”:

namely, it is a sign of how dysfunctional the Democratic Party is–and how meaningless is their glorious super-majority–that even the New Republic, which long prided itself on safeguarding the party from nefarious left-wing influences, is now calling for “centrist” Democratic senators (even including Joe Lieberman) to be thrown out of office by means of primary challenges (I believe that was once called a “purity purge”), even if doing so results in a loss of Democratic seats. [TNR editor Jonathan] Chait’s rationale is that allowing “centrist” dominance within the party means that the same corporate interests (rather than the interests of constituents) and the same political agenda end up being served regardless of which party is in control, meaning that–as he put it–even “a filibuster-proof Democratic majority isn’t worth having” because nothing meaningful changes. You don’t say.

But, notes Greenwald, “that, of course, was exactly the motivating premise of those who sought to remove Joe Lieberman from the Senate in 2006.” Those were “the people Chait demonized back then as ‘left-wing fanatics’ who ‘refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent.'”