Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The O Endorses Floundering Lieberman

The brief 2nd honeymoon I had with The O is officially over:
Connecticut Democrats would be shooting themselves in the foot if they replace Sen. Joe Lieberman with businessman Ned Lamont in their primary election today, and such a decision could hurt Democrats nationally.

If Lieberman loses the primary, he's going to run in and, it seems likely, win the general election as an independent. So the anti-war -- or more precisely the single-issue anti-war -- segment of the party will have achieved a psychological victory, but not much else.

In the process, however, the no-Joe forces will have effected something of an ideological purge within the party. They will have taken out a moderate, hawkish Democrat with demonstrated national appeal.

No-Joe Democrats can argue that Republicans have engaged in this kind of ideological cleansing and prospered politically as a result. Maybe, but are they certain that what's true for Republicans is true for the Democrats?
Firmly aligning themselves with Beltway know-nothings like Cokie Roberts, the editors spin the untenable line that a vote for Lamont is a vote for Democratic Party disaster. And, uh, why? Apparently the idea is that ousting Lieberman will push the party dangerously to the left, out of synch with mainstream American opinion. When majorities believe the war was a mistake, is being handled poorly, is going poorly, and that we should decrease our presence there--even within the next 12 months--how is that possible? What only George Stephanopolous appears to have grasped is that moreso than Democratic candidates moving further left to oppose the war more strenuously, Republican candidates will likely also be forced to move leftward, distancing themselves from the war. Since they almost universally continue to back a "stay the course" non-plan, that to me is a far more fundamental shift.

I also strenuously disagree with this being an ideological cleansing. Rather, it's a philosophical cleansing--meaning that Lieberman's sanctimonious sense of entrenched entitlement, failure to call the administration to account as intended by the Constitution, and repeated undermining of his own party is what's driving people to the polls to force him out. Nutmeggers, and Americans in general, are not out tarring and feathering representatives who hold principled disagreement with them on the war (yet). But what they're utterly sick of are consultant-advised, focus-group-watching, lobbyist-persuaded, influence-peddled hacks who have completely lost touch with their electorate and what concerns them.

And one other thing--newsies ought to do a better job keeping up with the polls. I continue to see that "Lieberman easily wins a three-way race" meme, despite the latest polling that I know of showing a 40-40 tie between the two primary candidates. And as we've seen, things have not gotten better for Joe in the interim. It's not even clear that Lieberman would run, especially if the result is a blowout victory for Lamont. Early rumblings from the race indicate not only abnormally high turnout, but turnout that is high in Lamont areas and low in Lieberman areas. I'm not afraid to make a prediction at this stage: The O has backed another loser. Well done!

Amazingly, my point debunking The O's conventional wisdom is fully echoed by none other than Joe Scarborough--who knows a little something about transformative elections:
The conventional wisdom for tonight's Connecticut primary seems to be that a Joe Leiberman loss will yank the Democratic Party so far left as to make other Democratic candidates unelectable this fall. The logic is laughable and similar to what I heard from Republican leaders in 1994.

That was the election year when the most conservative wing of the GOP took over the party and swept into power in the US Congress.
None would have predicted that outcome just two years earlier.

Update, 8/9 8AM--
Suck it, Joe.