DECORATED LIBERAL VETERANS…. Larry Sabato probably just thought he was extending a compliment to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and an oft-quoted pundit, noted today that Webb was not satisfied with the legislative process during the health care reform debate.

Sabato added that Webb isn’t a “liberal caricature.”

“Ever met a liberal who’s won a Navy Cross for heroism, a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts?”

Now, I realize that Twitter’s 140-character limit can be constraining, and perhaps Sabato didn’t intend to suggest liberals can’t be decorated war heroes, but his observation rubs the wrong way precisely because of the outdated “caricatures” that linger.

Have we ever met decorated liberal war heroes? You bet we have. There’s John Kerry. And Daniel Inouye. And Max Cleland, Wes Clark, and Chuck Rangel. And the Fighting Dems in Congress, and

The persistence of this myth — that somehow there’s an incompatibility between progressive politics and heroic military service — has gone on too long. I still remember a David Broder column from three years ago when he said attendees to the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting don’t “have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.” What was the smear of Democrats based on? Nothing but lazy assumptions.

It’s tiresome. Haven’t we gotten past this notion by now?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.