One of the most exasperating press impulses following the November election was the insistence upon slavishly reprinting the official Lieberman spin about his return to Washington DC, like he was the most powerful and feted pig in the pen (Greg Sargent pitched an appropriate fit over that one). As if he'd just walked away unscathed from an inglorious primary defeat and the onus of having to raise $20 million to defend his 18-year seat. Did anyone really think that any politician could gaze upon him afterwards without instinctively shuddering at the thought of being Liebermaned?
It certainly seems to have occured to Ellen Tauscher. Having decided that her photo with George Bush (now fondly known as "the Caress") on her government website wasn't doing her any favors, she scrubbed it. This is Tauscher's website now — notice no picture of "The Caress." But that's apparently not all she scrubbed. A reader did some digging and found the two Google screen grabs (below) which show that there are two photos of Tauscher being cozy with Lieberman. She obviously thought the better of it and has recently removed them from her website (this link shows a cache of where the photo above used to be). I'm sure she'd rather contract typhoid than have anyone draw that particular comparison right now:
The DC set may put on a good show for the cameras of the easily fooled, but it's a thin veneer of composure. You don't have to dig very deep to find the place just underneath the surface of every Beltway bore where they gaze at Lieberman and shreik "The horror! The horror!" And Tauscher's consignment of him to the jpeg shitcan to save her own skin is a loud, clear testament to that fact.
While it is quite clear that Tauscher's current team only knows how to be counterproductive online, the larger problem is that her campaign should lack the ability to hire a netroots consultant who knows better. Working for Tauscher would be a career killer for a blogosphere coordinator and while the money might be good, it would be likely to cost other clients (a Democratic candidate would be a fool to waste money on an internet firm facing the wrath of the progressive blogosphere for selling out in this marquee race).
The days when you could hire the idiot nephew to run the netroots component of your campaign are long gone. It should be very interesting to see who might be willing to stand in the line of fire currently being aimed at Tauscher (which is getting no small amount of high-profile attention).
And bonus points for clicking through to this — which Tauscher obviously has no ability to scrub. Because, well, who wouldn't.