Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Obligatory Lamont/Lieberman Post

I said this over at First Draft, so I'll just repeat myself. First, however, I'll add that I agree with the NYT editorial. This is not a success for progressives, or even for left blogistan. It's the triumph of the irate moderates, the "silent majority" identified by Richard Nixon 3 decades ago:

Mr. Lieberman’s supporters have tried to depict Mr. Lamont and his backers as wild-eyed radicals who want to punish the senator for working with Republicans and to force the Democratic Party into a disastrous turn toward extremism. It’s hard to imagine Connecticut, which likes to be called the Land of Steady Habits, as an encampment of left-wing isolationists, and it’s hard to imagine Mr. Lamont, who worked happily with the Republicans in Greenwich politics, leading that kind of revolution.

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.
That's the real issue here: the real center has become a radical position. So, for that, I'm glad Lamont won; I guess. But that "struggle to obey the law" applies as well to nations, not just Presidents. Robert Fisk reports that Israel is merely bombing the rubble, and NPR confirms as much this morning. Israel is not longer even making the excuse of "munitions" or "rocket launchers" as it attacks neighborhoods and threatens to destroy any car on the road. And Israel's policy is so clearly the policy of the Bush Administration it's impossible now to even conjecturally slip a piece of paper between them. Yet Ned Lamont supports Israel and what it is doing.

We won?

Sure, sanctimonious Joe, the man who kissed Bush and called everyone who disagreed with him on Iraq an extremist, is gone. Sure, Lamont doesn't like the war in Iraq anymore than I do.

But is Lamont a progressive? Trading one white male millionaire for another in Connecticut is a victory? Since when did we move the goal-posts all the way down to their end of the field? Lamont supports Israel in Lebanon as fervently as Bush does. From what I read elsewhere, even Condi Rice isn't that crazy.

We won? We got rid of a GOP in Democrat's clothing and replaced him with? A Democrat who just happens to not like the war in Iraq, along with 55% 60% of the American public. But this makes him a progressive?

Just trying to figure this out. Lieberman lost. Fine. I'd be more excited if it was Cornyn or Hutchison, honestly. Tom DeLay is gone. That's good news to me, and more important than the defeat of Holy Joe, and not just because it involves Texas, but because it means the machine that ran the House is gone, and big changes are in the air for November. But, all I've got right now is, Lieberman lost.

Good riddance to him. But does that advance a progressive agenda one inch? Are we all single issue, and that issue Iraq? I'm not. Most people I know, even in left blogistan, are not. So Lieberman lost.


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