Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Not Really So Surprising

Ned Lamont's win over Joe Lieberman in yesterday's Connecticut primary, while it may shock the Beltway pundits and scare certain incumbent Democratic Congresscritters, was not really so surprising. Senator Lieberman had not served his constituents well, and certainly had not served his party at all. The most iconic symbol trotted out by his opponents was a satirically sculpted representation of the kiss Lieberman received from George W. Bush. The conventional wisdom is that Senator Lieberman lost because of his unremitting support for the Iraq Invasion and his hint that Democrats who didn't support the Emperor on this issue were compromising national security. His position on Iraq certainly was a key issue in the race, but more for what that position said about where Mr. Lieberman's priorities lay than on the war itself.

I think the editorial in today's NY Times comes pretty close to analysing the actual reason for Mr. Lieberman's defeat.

The rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved over the last few years as the country has seemed to be galloping in a deeply unmoderate direction. A war that began at the president’s choosing has degenerated into a desperate, bloody mess that has turned much of the world against the United States. The administration’s contempt for international agreements, Congressional prerogatives and the authority of the courts has undermined the rule of law abroad and at home.

Yet while all this has been happening, the political discussion in Washington has become a captive of the Bush agenda. Traditional beliefs like every person’s right to a day in court, or the conviction that America should not start wars it does not know how to win, wind up being portrayed as extreme. The middle becomes a place where senators struggle to get the president to volunteer to obey the law when the mood strikes him. Attempting to regain the real center becomes a radical alternative.

When Mr. Lieberman told The Washington Post, “I haven’t changed. Events around me have changed,” he actually put his finger on his political problem. His constituents felt that when the White House led the country into a disastrous international crisis and started subverting the nation’s basic traditions, Joe Lieberman should have changed enough to take a lead in fighting back.
[Emphasis added]

An indication of Mr. Lieberman's real agenda is the fact that, having lost the Democratic primary, he intends to run in the general election as an independent. That cynical rejection of his constituent's wishes might very well cost the Democrats a Senate seat. Hopefully the Democratic Party will counter that rejection by fully funding the campaign of their new nominee, Ned Lamont. If it doesn't, there is going to be hell to pay for every election hereafter.

2 Comments:

Blogger shrimplate said...

"Irate moderates."

I like that. It should be a meme.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Arabella Trefoil said...

Hi, Diane. Love your blog.

bush: done, ruined and fucked.

5:39 PM  

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