I can't help but wondering whether Norman Hsu -- and the campaign finance connection he apparently developed on the New School board -- had anything to do with Kerrey's reported reluctance to take the plunge:
For weeks, Democrats have been keeping their fingers crossed for Bob Kerrey to announce that he was jumping back into politics to run for an open Senate seat in Nebraska.
But that, of course, would require Mr. Kerrey to leave New York City. And that has become such a sticking point that Democratic Party officials in Nebraska and Washington are grudgingly conceding that they think it is highly unlikely he will run for the Senate.
The officials haven’t lost all hope – Mr. Kerrey is headed back to Nebraska for a quick weekend trip, perhaps the Midwestern air will influence his thinking – but they are all but certain he will not enter the race to fill the seat of retiring Senator Chuck Hagel.
Without Kerrey, this race moves from 'tossup' to 'likely Republican.'
On the Left, there's definitely a whiff of that old Barry Goldwater 'I'd rather be right than popular' philosophy:
Obviously if the choice is between Dem/Rep control of the Senate or a filibuster-proof/non-filibuster proof majority I'd prefer Kerrey to enter the Nebraska race. But as those thresholds are unlikely to be critical, I hope he does, indeed, stay out of the race.
My feelings on Kerrey are a bit more mixed than those of Atrios, who asks Kerrey to "stay out of the race." I have more than a few profound policy differences with Kerrey, not the least of which Social Security (which I tend to think we shouldn't privatize, even partially) and Iraq (I tend to think it would be better to end the war than keep it going indefinitely without purpose).
Does this sound like something that the Netroots would have said in 2006? I would argue not. In that long-forgotten era, the Left wanted to win -- first and foremost. The new interest in ideological purity could help the GOP.