The reason the Lamont election has all of Washington so badly freaked out and dug in is that it's revealed a crack in the long-dependable mechanism of mainstream American politics. For almost four decades now conservatives in both parties have been governing according to a very simple formula. You run against Jane Fonda and George McGovern in election season, then you spend the next four years playing golf, shooting flightless birds, and taking $25,000 speaking gigs in Aspen while you let your fundraisers run things around the office.
But their problem now is that they've fucked up Iraq and everything else so badly that they've practically made “McGovernism” mainstream. A whole generation of hacks has reached office running against George McGovern, and now Joe Lieberman is threatening to ruin things for everybody, just like Jimmy Carter wrecked the Barry Goldwater gravy train for the last generation by falling on his face against Ronald Reagan. If there is such a thing as a principle in Washington, avoiding such a catastrophe as that is it. That's why they won't let Joe die easy — no matter how much he seems to deserve it.
It looks like the Lamont/Lieberman race is closer than we had been led to believe, Chris Bowers has the details.