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Just a few thoughts from this long time lurker, infrequent commenter and now, first-time diarist...

I remember reading a book several years back entitled "Democracy Under Siege" by the late, great political author Walter Karp. In it, he discusses the aftermath of the 1976 presidential election, won by Jimmy Carter.  What could this possibly have to do with Ned Lamont's victory and Net Neutrality? See below the fold to find out...

According to Karp, Carter's "people-powered" campaign and subsequent victory defied both the punditry's expectations and the wishes of the Democratic Party establishment, whose anointed candidate at that time was the hawkish Henry "Scoop" Jackson.  Karp makes the case that the upstart Carter's win so spooked the Democratic Party elite that they spent the lion's share of his term working to actively undermine his presidency.  Wresting political power away from the people, argues Karp, was of greater importance to the Democratic elite than was the best interests of the Party.

I thought of Karp's book tonight as a Lamont victory became imminent. Judging by some of the comments and actions on behalf of Lieberman by the Dem leadership prior to today, it would appear that they might have been motivated by many of the same fears Tip O'Neill and Robert Byrd may have felt following Carter's triumph 30 years earlier.

Now, I have no doubt that at this point the Clintons, Ms. Boxer and Mr. Lautenberg will dutifully line up behind Lamont, say all the right things and (hopefully) provide more than a grudging support for the Democratic nominee.   However, I can also foresee a scenario in which Lamont's win may negatively impact the ongoing battle to save Net Neutrality.

The danger - as I see it - will be if the narrative that Lamont's victory occurred largely as a result of Internet activism becomes the conventional wisdom.  If this misleading meme is allowed to take root and propagate, it could be used to conjure up the specter of the Net as an uncontrollable, anarchic force undermining the health of our body politic.  Obviously, such a story-line could go a long way toward swaying some of the fence-sitters in Congress toward an anti-Net Neutrality position. It's hardly inconceivable that they could soon develop a fear that with an unregulated Internet, Lieberman's fate may someday be their own. Worse yet, should the "angry blogger" narrative become entrenched in the public consciousness, these feckless "public servants" would be armed with the talking points needed to sell their anti-Net Neutrality stance to their constiuents.

Originally posted to bublitchki on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 11:21 PM PDT.

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