Seriously. The never-before-elected Joe Miller, a fringe Palinite, is the same as three-term House veteran Joe Sestak? And, no, I'm not joking:
Democrats, too, have had their share of bickering. Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter — galvanized by the state’s labor unions — challenged Senator Blanche Lincoln; she barely won the June runoff. In Colorado, when Senator Michael Bennet was not responsive enough to party liberals, the state’s former House speaker Andrew Romanoff decided to challenge him. Mr. Romanoff sold his house to pay for his campaign and might have won the Aug. 10 vote were it not for strategic mistakes he made late in the campaign.
In May in Pennsylvania, Representative Joe Sestak would not let the Democratic establishment coronate Senator Arlen Specter — who had just been persuaded to switch parties by the White House after conservatives made it impossible for him to win the Republican primary. These anti-party forces are not likely to wane.
Indeed, conservatives and liberals alike will continue to insist on nominating unadulterated candidates and will become more successful in doing so. And those candidates are likely to distrust their own establishments as much as they ideologically oppose the people at the other end of the political spectrum.
Neither Romanoff nor Halter nor Sestak was an ideologue.
Even if Bernie Sanders, in Vermont, were to decide to become a Democrat and run against Pat Leahy, even HE wouldn't be Joe Miller and Ambinder's "equivalency" would still be untrue.
Also, contra claims Ambinder makes elsewhere in the column, there's no well of left-liberal funding anything like the Koch brothers and others.
Finally, so far at least, the tea party challenge has done fairly little to dissolve GOP party discipline. Of course, we'll have to wait not just until the end of the primary season, but until after midterm elections in November to test this, for various reasons. We'll need to see how many nutbars win, and how that affects the GOP with them inside the electoral tent. We'll also need to see how many nutbars lose, and how much that affects sniping at the GOP "establishment."
But, Dems, without even Bernie Sanders types, let alone, say, Alexander Cockburn types, challenging on their left, continue to be more fractious than Republicans. Blame Rahm Emanuel for the Blue Dog Congressional candidates he recruited. Blame President Kumbaya for not cracking a whip on party discipline, which his predecessor did. In other words, Obama needs Rahmbo to be Rove, and he's not pushing Rahmbo to do that, in that way.