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Not Horrified.

As a moderate I am supposed to be horrified that Joe Lieberman lost his primary race to Markos Moulitsas . . . er, I mean Ned Lamont.

I'm not horrified.

Joe Lieberman is an arrogant, smug, sanctimonious, self-serving politician with delusions of prophethood. In the 2000 presidential race he chose to keep his Senate race going despite the fact that had he been elected Vice President it would likely have meant the loss of the Senate to the GOP. He covered his ass then, even at risk to his own party. And he did it again in this re-election race by refusing to accept the outcome of his own party's primary. Given the four point margin it's entirely possible that Lieberman would have won the primary had he vowed to stick by the results. But he didn't. He couldn't, because Joe Lieberman is all about Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman's beating isn't emblematic of anything. The RSCC is telling its own GOP candidates to put distance between themselves and Mr. Bush. In other words, Republicans are telling their own candidates to avoid sounding like Joe Lieberman. Are we supposed to be surprised that Lieberman lost a Democratic primary in a blue state after associating himself more closely with the President than members of the President's own party dare to?

I have not yet accepted Markos Moulitsas as my personal savior, but neither have I concluded that he and the "netroots" are necessarily the death of the Democratic Party. Among the DailyKos fan-faves is James Webb, running against the execrable Senator George Allen of Virginia. Webb is a Marine. He's a decorated combat vet. He's Ronald Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy. I would argue that the Kos embrace of a not-even-remotely pacifist ex-Republican Marine testifies less to fanaticism and more to old-fashioned power politics. I'm not seeing a lot of other Kos-led Ned Lamont insurgencies. I'm not seeing quite the rabid fanaticism the Center and Right purport to see here. Not from Moulitsas himself, certainly, whatever his loonier commentors may say.

Charles Krauthammer takes the Republican talking point: Lamont = McGovern and flies it right off the edge.

With the defeat of Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, antiwar forces are poised for a takeover of the Democratic Party. Tuesday's exhilarating victory, and the elan and electoral legitimacy gained, may carry the newly energized Democratic left to considerable success in November.

But for the Democratic Party it will be an expensive and short-lived indulgence. The Iraq war will end, as will the Bush presidency. But the larger conflict that defines our times -- war on Islamic radicalism, more politely known as the war on terrorism -- will continue, as the just-foiled London airliner plot unmistakably reminds us. And the reflexive antiwar sentiments underlying Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut will prove disastrous for the Democrats in the long run -- the long run beginning as early as November '08

Yeah, maybe. But I'm not seeing that just yet. First, the war is at a 60% negative in the polls. Hard to see how that will turn around by 2008. So I'm not seeing the part where a rational opposition to the Iraq war is going to spell disaster. Not now. Two years ago, sure. Not now. And not two years from now.

Second, nice try Krauthammer, but the Iraq war and the war against radical Islam are not the same war. The Afghanistan war is the war against radical Islam. You remember the Afghanistan war, right? The one that every national Democrat supported and continues to support? The war the Bush administration neglected so that it could go haring off after Saddam?

In point of fact the Iraq war, and more pointedly the criminally incompetent mishandling of the Iraq war, further the cause of radical Islam. The Iraq war has become the war of support for Shia extremism. The Iraq war is now the war to empower Iran.

The Democrats need to make that point: Afghanistan? Yes. Killing Al Qaeda? Yes. Supporting a war to empower Iran? No.

If the Democrats grab that line, hold onto it, beat it into people's heads, they'll do fine not just in 2006 but in 2008 and beyond.

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“Not Horrified.”

  1. Blogger Shochu John Says:

    I think Joe's mind is the only place where losing your primary is considered being down at halftime. If he loses in the general election, he'll make it best of three. Next year, the office of the senior Senator from Joenecticut, housed in an RV parked behind the Capitol, will remind all who see it that there is one man who refuses to let the democratic process be hijacked by an extremist anti-war majority.

    While Joe may take the ball, he will never go home.

  2. Blogger Cantankerous Bitch Says:

    "the extremist anti-war majority". Ah, the usual straw man. John, you get credit for sarcasm, otherwise, you're likely missing the point as gradiosely as Krauthammer and his ilk. If you or anyone can explain to us what's "extremist" about opposing one of the worst executions of a war this country has ever seen, be my guest.
    If one were to, I don't know... actually read what's being written by those Crazy Lefties, one would discover that the hawk-dove ratio is fairly well balanced. As our gracious host notes, casting those that voted against Lieberman as simply "anti-war" flatly ignores that the majority of Democrats fully supported the Afghanistan war. What they rightly oppose, IMO, is the Foreign-Policy-for-Morons clusterfuck that the Iraq invasion was always destined to be.
    As for opposition to Lieberman, Krauthammer et al also conveniently ignore a host of other problems liberals have, and have long had, with the man. His support for SS privatization, his support of the bankruptcy bill, his support for federal intervention in the Shiavo affair, and his vote for clouture on the Alito filibuster are but some of the recent highlights. You can debate the merit of these positions all you like, but to suggest -- hell, state clearly -- that support for Lamont is all about some kind of pacifism run amok is a plainly dishonest argument, easily debunked by maybe an hour with Google.
    It's also noteworthy that the only folks claiming that the influence of liberal blogs on the Democratic party signals some kind of death-knell are the beltway consultant/pundit class. After all, they've been shown that their chronically ineffectual strategies and general gas-baggery no longer hold the sway they once did. Instead, real people are once again participating in politics after a frightfully long fit of apathy. And anyone advancing the notion that this is a bad thing has a grossly inverted idea of what democracy is all about. Perhaps they need a refresher course in 8th grade civics.

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