May 4, 2009

THE WINGS OVERLAP:

The Specter switch: The incredible shrinking Republican Party (Lanny Davis, May 4, 2009, Washington Times)

There is a vague deja vu for me in seeing the right taking down a Republican lawmaker who voted 70 percent of the time with his party's Senate colleagues. I am reminded of how the Democratic left treated incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in 2006. Mr. Lieberman had voted with his fellow Democrats not 70 percent of the time, but rather 90 percent of the time. Yet he was opposed by the Democratic left and lost a close race for the party's nomination in the 2006 primary. But he went on to win as an independent in the general election by a substantial margin.

While Mr. Lieberman offended many liberals by his support for the Iraq war, the fact is, on all the critical domestic litmus test issues, he had, indisputably, one of the most liberal voting records in Congress: pro-choice, pro-labor (including the so-called "card-check" bill), pro-social-spending programs, pro-environmental regulation, pro-civil rights and affirmative action, pro-women's rights and gay rights, and so on.

And yet, despite this record, people on the left, particularly on the most hateful liberal blogs, continue to hate him and mischaracterize him as a conservative, and are still planning to oppose him again if he chooses to run in 2010. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, whose liberalism and intelligence I admire, rarely misses a chance to criticize Mr. Lieberman, sometimes with very personal overtones. But she never mentions or credits his liberal voting record, including his support for President Obama in the first 100 days.

So, once again, we see the irony that the sanctimonious far right and the sanctimonious far left seem to have more in common than with their fellow conservatives and liberals, respectively. Clearly they agree that it is better to lose a general election and win a primary than to allow any variation from what they define as true conservatism or true liberalism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2009 7:26 AM
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