Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mirrors on Mirrors

Well, Senator Joe Lieberman has conceded the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. He ran a closer race than expected down the stretch, but I guess the Democratic party really has no place for moderates any more.

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Meanwhile Hank Johnson soundly defeated Representative Cynthia McKinney by a greater-than-expected margin. McKinney has yet to concede, but she's toast. I guess the Democratic party really has no room for its firebrand anti-war wing anymore.

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Over in Michigan, conservative insurgent Tim Walberg has a 10 point lead with 67% of the votes counted over incumbent moderate representative Joe Schwarz [11:33 Eastern]. This race hasn't gotten as much attention as the other two, but I guess it's proof that the GOP is inhospitable to its moderate members nowadays.

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Here's a piece to chew on for all the armchair pundits out there: Maybe, just maybe, these races were about the individual candidates--and not some Stalin-esque purge of the parties?

I don't know what goes in the mind of a GOP primary voter. But I think most Connecticut Democrats were voting against Joe not because he was pro-war, but because he started to become a shill for Bush foreign policy at a time when most Democrats and most independent observers believe that this policy is taking us to hell in a handbasket. As even Powerline noted, if you oppose the war, its nothing scandalous to vote against Lieberman (hell, I support the war and still would have been sorely tempted to cast a Lamont ballot).

As for McKinney, the votes against her are certainly not a repudiation of anti-war sentiments, or a desire to move closer to Bush. People vote against McKinney for the simple reason that she is nuts.

Food for thought.

2 comments:

BeYourGuest said...

Tim Walberg was backed by the Club for Growth. (Website HERE.)

They are also backing the challenger to moderate Republican Lincoln Chafee in th eRhode Isaland primary. (Website HERE.)

They backed the failed primary challenger to moderate Arlen Specter in 2004. (National Review webpage HERE).

And yet the story has been all about how Democrats are trying to purge their moderates!

PBI said...

David,

I've got to disagree with you strongly on your take about the place of moderates in the Democratic Party. The idea that some sort of super-leftist purge is behind Lieberman's demise is simply not true. Lieberman was an 18-year veteran of the Senate who had lost touch with the majority of his party in Connecticut, and his one-sided version of bipartisanship finally came home to roost.

Many have traced the beginning of his downfall to his statement in support of President Bush that, “In matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril,” which has come to symbolize the manner in which he consistently undermined legitimate concerns from Democrats in favor of one of the most extremely rightwing ideologues to ever occupy the White House. He lost the primary because, for all of his reputed moderation and bipartisanship, one would be extremely hard-pressed to cite an example of his having won anything from the Bush-led GOP in return for conceding vast swaths of political ground his constituents wanted him to defend.

Lieberman got tossed from a Senate seat to which he, and apparently a lot of other people, felt he was entitled for as long as he wanted it. In the current climate of chaos wrought by the Bush Administration, it is hard to credit the idea that mistakes have not been made. Lieberman’s defeat is an effort by the people of Connecticut to re-establish credible representation for themselves in the Senate, and to chart a course away from those mistakes. It is what’s known as throwing the bums out, and Ned Lamont IS a moderate.

Best,
Paul
Sensen No Sen