July 24, 2006


Joe Lieberman’s War: The hawkish senator finds himself in an epic battle—with his own party (Meryl Gordon, 8/07/06, New York)

Nothing is working out as Lieberman expected. Although he’d assumed that, because of his support for the Iraq war, he’d face some opposition for reelection, he was unprepared for the backlash of anger against him and the groundswell of support for Lamont, a cable-TV mogul and political novice who has surged ahead in the polls thanks to his get-out-of-Iraq stance. The shoot-out in Connecticut has turned into a national political event—a referendum on the war and a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party, one that may put a safe Democratic Senate seat at risk and have implications for other nonconformist Democrats around the country. In this topsy-turvy race, Lamont, a wealthy great-grandson of J. P. Morgan’s business partner, has somehow seized the mantle as the “real” Democrat. Meanwhile, Lieberman is being heckled at campaign stops (“It’s getting scary,” one aide says. “They’re so angry”) and excoriated in the blogosphere, from state sites like My Left Nutmeg to the leading national Democratic outlet, Daily Kos, where Markos Moulitsas Zúniga posted after the debate, “For Lieberman it’s all about power, and he’ll be as vicious, as rude, as boorish and dishonest as he needs to be to cling to it.”

This kind of reception is an astonishing turnaround for a man whose selection as Al Gore’s running mate in 2000 was seen as brilliant political strategy. Lieberman caught the public’s fancy back then as a social progressive who believed in a muscular foreign policy and a moralist who could help distance Gore from Clinton’s Lewinsky scandal. But now, as the body count mounts in Iraq, he has been recast as a villain, Bush’s lackey and partner in crime.

There's no room in the post-Clinton Democratic Partyy for a hawkish moralist.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 24, 2006 4:41 PM

Bruno, Jim and other Illinoians:

Doesn't this remind you a little of the Alan Dixon - Carol Mosely Braun primary where the Dems "punished" Alan Dixon for not toeing the line on the Clarence Thomas hearings. (He voted for confirmation and was clear that he didn't believe Anita Hill.)

I suspect the buyers remorse will be similar.

I have to say though that my favorite Rush Limbaugh intro music ever was using the theme from "The Jeffersons" for his Carol Mosely Braun updates.

Posted by: jeff at July 24, 2006 7:55 PM

"Moralists" were treated poorly during the Clinton years as well.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 24, 2006 8:15 PM

Clinton is a moralist.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2006 11:22 PM

Which is why he was a successful presidential candidate.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2006 11:23 PM

oj. Is that a type above? Did you mean Clinton is an amoralist?

Posted by: erp at July 25, 2006 7:41 AM

No politician who carries his Bible into church is a 'moralist'. A poseur, perhaps, but not a moralist.

He tried, and he probably wouldn't have moved Job into the New Testament (like Howard Dean), but I don't think faking it counts.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 25, 2006 8:44 AM

When Orrin says that he means this.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 25, 2006 8:55 AM

> No politician who carries his Bible into church is a 'moralist'. A poseur, perhaps, but not a moralist.

Actually, carrying a Bible into church is pretty normal in Baptist churches. The idea is that you should have your own reference copy ready at hand to keep the preacher honest.

Posted by: Guy T. at July 25, 2006 9:26 AM

So joe, you go with the majority opinion that Clinton is immoral rather than amoral. Me too.

Posted by: erp at July 25, 2006 9:42 AM

There's nothing wrong with being a moralist and sinning. Hypocrisy is a social good.

Posted by: oj at July 25, 2006 10:28 AM

In the case of the Clintons (like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, and others), it is not good when garden-variety hypocrisy (that we all are familiar with) morphs into caricature. No one is above it, but making it into theater is destructive.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 25, 2006 12:20 PM