Diarist ptmflbcs at Dailykos alerted me once again to important chapter in the story of the modern Republican Party: the current right-wing primary challenge to Senator Chuck Hagel by Attorney General Jon Bruning. This is something of a Lieberman-Lamont story on the GOP, only in reverse. But the parallels aren't perfect, and illustrate well the differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, as well as how the media treats the two.
First of all, Chuck Hagel isn't particularly moderate. His voting record was in virtual 'lockstep' with President Bush in 2004. On domestic policy grounds, he is exceptionally loyal. So what is the story here? Obviously, partly it's Iraq. Hagel has been a critic of Bush on Iraq, and even voted against Bush on the supplemental, providing an important margin of victory for the supplemental that Bush then had to veto. While Democratic officials can vote against the party line and even lash out against the base without consequence (Mark Udall did it again today), Republican officials are not given the same latitude. [..]
In other words, Republican officials are order-takers. Hagel is not. He isn't on Iraq, even going so far as to suggest that an impeachment of Bush might be on the table.