While left-wing bloggers seem to have made defeating Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s 2000 Vice Presidential nominee, in Connecticut’s Democratic senatorial primary next month, a number of pundits share my view that such a defeat could make it substantially more difficult for the Democrats to take control of Congress this fall. Democratic columnist Mark Danzinger thinks the Democratic Party will be “weaker” with Lieberman’s departure. I agree. As Danziger’s analysis of the impact of Lieberman’s defeat differs a bit from my own, I highly, **highly** recommend you read the whole thing. (H/t Instapundit.)
Last month, I wrote that Lieberman’s loss to anti-war businessman Ned Lamont, a darling of the left-wing blogs would make the Democrats appear increasingly “beholden to the far left” and would help “accent the prominence of the party’s left-wing leaders, Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.” In last Thursday’s OpinionJournal Political Diary (available by subscription), John Fund echoed my thoughts, “a Lamont victory — based as it would be on a purely anti-war message — could help Republicans make the case that the Democratic Party has become intolerant of people with tough-minded views on national security issues.”
As the Democrats become increasingly intolerant of the liberal hawks who dominated the party up until the early 1970s, Danziger fears it could make his party less viable as an opposition party:
I think we need two vibrant parties in this country because neither one is big enough to contain the answers that we will need; it is through robust debate, argument and political tension that the complex problems of the world are solved, not through simpleminded slogans (yes, that’s a slogan …). And what’s happening to the Democratic Party is about to undermine that — as the party is marched over the electoral cliff by it’s “progressive wing” empowered in no small part by bloggers.
He’s right. A party perceived as spineless on national security would have little chance of offering serious contributions to the national debate. And would not fare well at the ballot box.
As a Republican, I should root for a Lieberman loss because it would advance the fortunes of my party. As an American, however, I root for a Lieberman victory because it would indicate that the opposition party refuses to reject a liberal hawk. It would show that their party embraces diversity, rewards smart legislators and is committed to serious debate of the issues of the day.
Moreover, a Lieberman victory would help keep our two-party system vibrant, with both parties offering contributions to the debate on national security. Not only that, Lieberman has, by and large, been a responsible opponent of the president’s domestic policies, even his judicial nominees. We need such sane voices of criticism within the halls of Congress. His victory would thus be a boon for the republic.
I’m a Republican because I love this country and believe that my party can best advance its fortunes. That means that I’m an American before I’m a Republican. And that is why I’ll be rooting for Al Gore’s erstwhile running mate in next month’s Democratic primary in the Nutmeg State — even though a Lieberman victory in Connecticut would make it more challenging for my party to hold onto its congressional majorities this fall.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: (Also via Instapundit). Observing that conservative bloggers have not focused “an inordinate amount of their energy and rhetoric upon defeating” some less-than-conservative GOP leaders and as many leading Democrats fail to stand up to the left-wing bloggers, Jim Geraghty asks, “How could I entrust a Democratic lawmaker to stand up to al-Qaeda, Iran, North Korea or some other angry extremist, if he or she won’t stand up to Daily Kos?“