Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 9, 2006

Leiberman-Lamont Fallout

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:25 am

The latest results show Ned Lamont beating Senator Joseph Lieberman 51.8% to 48.2% in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. And, Lieberman has conceded. It looks like Lieberman will run for re-election as an independent, and that’s going to be interesting. I can’t remember the last time an incumbent Senator lost a primary in his own party, except when the incumbent, rather than having been elected previously, had been appointed to fill the unexpired term of someone else. Lieberman had been elected not once, but three times, by the people of Connecticut.

Any time a prominent incumbent Senator loses a primary in his own party, it’s going to have consequences. One of these is the some Democrats are going to decide that if the Democratic Party doesn’t have room for Liberman, it doesn’t have room for them, either, Here’s what Brendan Loy has to say:

I’ve been calling myself a Democrat since I was ten years old, when I marched around the schoolyard in fifth grade chanting “Jerry Brown! Jerry Brown!” and, later, played the part of Bill Clinton in a sixth-grade mock debate. At the age of 13, I threw my hands up in dismay when the GOP took over Congress. When I turned 18, I registered without hesitation as a Democrat. I proudly cast my ballot for Al Gore in 2000, and — somewhat less proudly — for John Kerry in 2004. In recent years, I’ve seen the “base” of the Democratic Party drifting away from sense and sanity, and at the same time, I’ve felt my own ideological compass pulled somewhat to the right by world events. Yet I remain profoundly uncomfortable with the Republican Party for a variety of reasons, and I’ve never much liked the idea of being an “independent,” considering it — with all due respect to those who wear the label proudly — something of a cop-out in many cases.

So I’ve continued to cling to the label of Democrat, and to the hope that the party would somehow save itself from the tired orthodoxies of its interest groups and the execrable excesses of its far-left wing. I’ve shaken my head at the irrational policies and irresponsible rhetoric coming from so many corners of the party, comforting myself with the thought that while Dennis Kucinich may be a nutjob and Al Sharpton may be a charlatan and Howard Dean may be an idiot and Dick Durbin may be, well, a dick, at least there’s still Joe Lieberman.

Perhaps, I told myself, despite the ascendancy of Nancy Pelosi, the Deaniacs and the Kos Kidz, perhaps Lieberman’s side could still somehow win the struggle for the party’s soul. As long as that hope remained viable, I could continue to be a Democrat. A “Lieberman Democrat,” I called myself, and I was proud.

But now the voters have spoken. Lieberman may still consider himself a Democrat — he says that, if elected as an independent, he’ll vote to organize with the Dems, and I believe him — but the Democrats don’t consider Lieberman a Democrat anymore. That’s the cold, hard truth of today’s results. He’s been kicked out of the “big tent” because his loyalty wasn’t blind enough, because his conscience wasn’t pliable enough. He’s been replaced by the shiny new millionaire who said all the right things to win over the hearts and minds of the netroots. The war in Iraq is wrong, wrong, wrong; President Bush is bad, bad, bad; and Joe Lieberman is a traitor, a traitor, a traitor. That’s the undeniable message that Democratic voters from my home state have sent out across the land this fateful day.

Well, if there’s no room in the Democratic Party for Joe Lieberman, then there’s no room in it for me.

By the way, as to Lieberman’s statement that “if elected as an independent, he’ll vote to organize with the Dems,” that’s just silly. He’d just be returning for more abuse.

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