Another thought to follow up on my post below regarding what I called the Incumbent Party. One of the things that unites the Incumbent Party is, of course, the desire to preserve incumbency. And it has done a marvelous job of that. The Incumbent Party has reduced the risk of defeat faced by incumbents to about as close to zero as you can get while still maintaining a democratic system. Perhaps never before in our history have the structural underpinnings of American politics been so heavily tilted in favor of incumbency. Campaign finance, redistricting, the budget process–there are an abundance of ways the Incumbent Party has built its own perpetuation into the system.
My point is this: rather than being angry and indigant about the Lamont challenge, as Joe Lieberman reportedly is, shouldn’t he be sheepish? I mean here is a guy with all of the built-in advantages of incumbency, and he still can’t pull it off? No one has ever been particularly sympathetic to Goliath’s plight, such as it was. To be angry about a stiff challenge is really to say that you don’t want to have to the play the game at all. And that’s precisely what the Incumbent Party is all about.