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Joe Lieberman has long suffered from a complete inability to comprehend what is happening to him on the blogs — one person I spoke with said that his friend’s teenage son had been asked by the campaign to start a one, as if that was going to solve the problem.  The Connecticut press, however, seems to be trying to come to terms with this new factor in local politics.  

Colin McEnroe

I find myself wondering if the Lieberman inner circle and Joe himself went from underestimating the blogs to over-reacting to them. They began the race imagining that their internet detractors were marginalized rabble. They may still think that, but the strength of sentiment on the internet has, I think, gotten inside their heads. What they may not understand is that strong language and explosive overstatement are part of the quintessence of the blog medium. In a very McLuhanesque way, bloggers often find themselves slipping into stridency and vulgarity when they had no intention of doing so because the medium shapes its messengers.

I think the Lieberman retinue has been collectively freaked out by the way their internet opponents express displeasure. I think that has kicked them all into a very paranoid mode. Paranoid people make bad decisions.  I think this has started to look, to them, less like an election and more like some kind of nightmare or fairy tale in which they are pursued through the woods by thugs and rabid dogs. They’ve almost forgotten that they’re running against Ned Lamont. They’ve identified, as their true opponent, a mob of crazy bloggers who will say anything and stop at nothing. The rest of the world, however, can’t see the bloggers, so a lot of Lieberman’s desperate flailings don’t seem to make much sense.

I’m not going to argue against the "stridency" comment, except to point to Atrios‘ editorial in the LAT yesterday where he notes that the "strident" tone of political discourse in this country has been set for a decade by Rush Limbaush and the right-wing noise machine, and nobody ever mentions it when they call for throwing a rope over a branch and lynching Supreme Court Justices.  I think left-wing bloggers have made a rather tame entry into the discourse by those standards, but one that depends on effective targeting rather than barbarous threats of physical violence.  That observation is frequently omitted from the equation when Lanny Davis starts blathering and drooling about the "angry left."  There already was, you know, a sadistic right.
But has Camp Lieberman been blinded by the blogs?  Absolutely. 
Just as Holy Joe and his merry band of ring-kissers are coming to terms with the written word, the medium takes another leap forward with the world of video blogging.  From the Courant:
Marion Steinfels, Lieberman’s communications director, said that on Tuesday she watched a YouTube video about Lamont and tax cuts forwarded to her by e-mail. But when asked what she knows about Nedheads, Steinfels said she has seen the term before but knows little about the group.
Joe’s answer to the beating he’s taking from video bloggers?  Don’t watch them, and pretend they don’t exist.  
Now we know why he thinks things are going so well in Iraq. 
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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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