The Waning Power Of The Netroots

Although two subcommittee chairmanships were taken away from Joe Lieberman because he had the temerity to endorse and campaign for John McCain for President, the Senate Democratic Caucus declined to take away Lieberman’s important Homeland Security Committee chairmanship. Explaining the actions of his caucus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke thusly:

Reid, the Senate majority leader, said Lieberman’s criticism of the Democratic nominee had angered him.

“I would defy anyone to be more angry than I was,” he said Tuesday. “But I also believe that if you look at the problems we face as a nation, is this a time we walk out of here saying, ‘Boy did we get even’?”

 Obama urged Reid privately to let bygones be bygones, sources said.

Reid dismissed vehement criticism of the decision from elements of the party’s more liberal base, which insisted Lieberman be punished.

As noted by Brian Faughnan (via Brother Lane), this action is taken in direct defiance of the netroots, which pushed for the maximum punishment for Lieberman. The netroots, in their vanity, are completely shocked and outraged, but one wonders why this is so. After all, the election is over, the money-raising has abated for the moment, the ginning up of partisan passions is no longer as necessary as it was and the politicians in Washington don’t have to pretend that they are impressed by the likes of Daily Kos, or Firedoglake or any other hyperpartisan netroots site out there. In short, for the moment, the netroots are no longer needed and as such, there is no need to cater to the revenge fantasies nursed by the netroots.

Thus today’s vote in the Senate Democratic Caucus. There will be other such votes that will enrage and disappoint the netroots. After those votes are taken, the political class will have the nerve to approach the netroots and ask for more support. And unless I miss my guess, the netroots will readily say “yes,” credulously believing that if only it is more accommodating, it will be listened to next time.

Good luck with that.