July 13, 2006

The pundits and Joe Lieberman

Have you noticed how most of the pundits just can't believe that Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democrats' VP candidate in 2000 and the leading Democrat cheerleader for the Iraq Attaq, is in danger of losing the Connecticut Democratic primary to an anti-war candidate. For example, Jonah Goldberg dismisses the opponents of Lieberman in his LA Times column:

"For good or ill, there are no grand "big ideas" behind the anti-Lieberman cause. It's driven by a riot of passions, chiefly against President Bush and "his" war. Any ideas are mere afterthoughts and rationalizations used to gussy up animus as principle."

How about this little idea: If you screw up as massively as most Connecticut Democrats believe Lieberman screwed up by helping get us into a disastrous war, why should you get a fourth six year term in the U.S. Senate?

But to pundits like Jonah, the idea that somebody important could lose his job for making the wrong decision about a little trifle like war or peace is, or at least ought to be, unthinkable. If Lieberman loses his job just for being wrong, who might be next to get the axe: Max Boot? David Brooks? Charles Krauthammer? Jonah?

You can see why this line of thought has to be nipped in the bud right away.

P.S., Harold Meyerson makes a similar point:

I am about to become a traitor to my class. Among my estimable colleagues in the Washington commentariat, the idea that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is facing a serious challenge from a fellow Democrat over Lieberman's support for the Iraq war seems to evoke incredulity and exasperation. On the op-ed pages of leading newspapers, we read that Lieberman is "the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men" (that's from the New York Times' David Brooks), a judgment that cannot credibly be disputed -- though if ever a road to hell was paved with good intentions, it would start with the anti-Saddam Hussein interventionism of pro-democracy advocates and end in downtown Baghdad today.

My colleagues also finger those crazy lefty bloggers as the culprits behind the drive to purge Lieberman from Democratic ranks. (The New Republic's Jonathan Chait recently wrote that in the Los Angeles Times.) They see a self-destructive urge for party purification sweeping over Democratic liberals, to the detriment of Democratic prospects.

Lieberman himself certainly does. My Post colleague Ruth Marcus recently spent some time on the campaign trail with Lieberman and reported on a talk he gave in Danbury. "Are the extremes going to dominate?" Lieberman asked. "Do you have to be 100 percent in agreement with an elected official or it's not good enough?"

Well. I don't blog; I columnize. But count me with the bloggers on this one. No great mystery enshrouds the challenge to Lieberman, nor is the campaign of his challenger, Ned Lamont, a jihad of crazed nit-pickers. Lieberman has simply and rightly been caught up in the fundamental dynamics of Politics 2006, in which Democrats are doing their damnedest to unseat all the president's enablers in this year's elections. As well, Lieberman's broader politics are at odds with those of his fellow Northeastern Democrats. He is not being opposed because he doesn't reflect the views of his Democratic constituents 100 percent of the time. He is being opposed because he leads causes many of them find repugnant.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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