Monday, August 14, 2006

Lieberman’s loss

Just before I left on vacation I picked up the local paper and saw that syndicated columnist Cal Thomas was calling supporters of Connecticut Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont “Taliban Democrats,” while Vice President Dick Cheney was asserting that Lieberman’s primary loss was a victory for the “al-Qaeda types.”
So I’ve been stewing over this for a few days now. The Cal Thomas crack was highly ironic coming from a Hezbollah (Party of God) Republican such as himself. But the Cheney statement was just flat out offensive and should earn him a one-way ticket into political retirement. I believe Sen. Hillary Clinton had the best reaction to Cheney’s comment:

“I don’t take anything he says seriously anymore. I think that he has been a very counterproductive, even destructive, force in our country and I am very disheartened by the failure of leadership from the president and vice president.”

Indeed. But what to make of the primary loss by the former Democratic vice presidential nominee? Is this really such a radical and surprising move? Not really. Lieberman simply adopted too many positions that were out of tune with his constituency back home. It’s really a common malady in Washington and one that conservatives harp on all the time.
Look at it this way: Lieberman was one of the most conservative Democrats (at least on foreign policy) representing a Blue state. He was essentially a Red Democrat from a Blue state. There are lots of other Red Democrats - Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieau, Ken Salazar, etc. But they all hail from Red states. Likewise, you have a few (not as many) moderate or Blue Republicans - Lincoln Chafee, Olypia Snowe, Arlen Specter - but they all represent Blue states. You don’t have any Blue Republicans from Red states, and I don’t believe there were any other Red Democrats from Blue states. Lieberman was an anomaly. His demise in the primary should not have been a surprise once he took such a radically conservative position on the defining issue of this generation.

Now it is still possible that Lieberman could retain his seat by running a successful campaign as an independent, but I expect his bid will start to lose steam now that the media will be forced to give Lamont serious consideration.

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