So the Netroots have done finally it. MoveOn, Kos, Atrios. They've all bagged their first "kill." Democrat Joe Lieberman.
No longer will they have to say, "But you're forgetting Stephanie Herseth!" when detractors list the movement's long list of failed challenges, moral victories, and also-ran sentimental favorites.
Ned Lamont has beaten Joe Lieberman. In a moment when the Republican party has essentially become a House of organized crime -- didn't you love it when Majority Leader John "The Don" Boehner told disgraced congressman Bob Ney of Ohio that he'd better drop out of his House race or he'd no longer be a made man on K-Street -- the netroots took aim at one of the party's own. And scored a hit.
Victory has its price: Right or wrong, Lamont's win has opened the Democrats to the criticism that moderates and hawks no longer have an ideological home in the party. With Republicans seeking to cast the party as incapable of handling the rigors of defending the nation, that's not a net plus.
And news of Lieberman's death has been greatly exaggerated. The crafty old Shar-Pei may be bloodied. But he's not bowed. After managing the expectations game well, his relatively close loss now has a whiff of, dare we say, "Joementum" to it.
Lieberman has vowed to run as an "Independent Democrat," hoping to regain his cushy Senate doggie bed in November with the help of the Nutmeg State's Republicans and Independents. I'm not a betting man, but I'd bet Lieberman pulls it off.
The netroots, of course, are fuming. How dare this man who we've told you all along isn't a real Democrat run as anything other than a Democrat. The gall!
And so the netroots' first victory may well be Pyrrhic. Months of infighting. Millions of dollars. All to move Lieberman from the (D) column to the (I) column. All cash and energy expended without inflicting any damage on the GOP.
Oh well. They'll always have Herseth.
(Cross posted from rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs