Jonathan Alter was on the Al Franken show today, defending and expounding on his comments regarding the "cannibalistic distraction" of the anti-Lieberman crowd. He pretty much echoed the comments from his recent article
. I can't say that I reacted with as much revulsion as many others here on dKos have expressed. He seems well-meaning, but I think he's wrong.
On "the putting of first things first," I agree in principle, but Alter fails to recognize that we're in the primary season. If Democrats go the route of "first win, then purge," we'd have Joe Lieberman in the Senate for six more years. That's six more years Fox News keeping their go-to guy on speed dial for whenever they need a Democratic Senator to explain why a Democratic initiative is wrong and harmful, or a Democrat is wrong and unpatriotic. The first thing to be put first is sometimes the first thing put on your plate. And in primary season it's choosing good Democrats to run in the general elections in November.
On the "cannibalistic distraction" posed by Lamont's primary, I see where he's coming from. If there was a fixed amount of money/effort/enthusiasm/etc. to be spent during the midterm elections, then he would have a point. If Democrats were splintering into factions, then he'd have a point. However, I think he underestimates the benefits the progressive movement could garner from an early win that unites us. For Democrats, Lieberman has become that voice in the back of our minds that says you can't do it -- you're probably wrong - it's too hard - why try? Once we kick him to the curb, we'll have more energy and enthusiasm to accomplish our true goals.