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Scoop Jackson Wing, RIP

From Robert Kaufman’s biography, Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics:

Lieberman may someday emerge as Jackson’s true heir in the U.S. Senate. His political perspective largely mirrors that of Henry Jackson: a liberal on domestic issues, an opponent of Affirmative Action; a staunch advocate of vigilant internationalism and a strong military. Sen. Lieberman confessed, however, that it will be an uphill battle "to reinvigorate the international aspects of the Jackson legacy in the Democratic Party."

Discussions - 17 Comments

It’s not the "Scoop Jackson wing" that’s RIP, it’s the Democratic Party that gave its last gasp yesterday.

With the brilliant type of campaign Rove and Bush are capable of, yesterday’s repudiation of love of country by Dem Party activists may have sown the seeds of an even stronger GOP hold on Congress come November -- how’s that for going out on a limb!

In any case, with just the slightest effort, the Republicans will easily prevent a Dem takeover of either House of Congress. AMericans do not turn their government over to those who sympathize with America’s enemies, and they are not going to start now when we are fighting WW III.

dennis, that’s a pretty positive spin on the loss of an election!

Anecdotal, I know. But my typically apolitical husband came charging in to wake me up early this morning (5 a.m.!) to announce Lieberman’s defeat (about which I already knew) and to declare that he hopes that Lieberman runs for President as an Independent in ’08. I explained that I thought that would be a disaster as it would only secure the victory of a much more liberal Democrat (as Ross Perot did in ’92). (And yes, my husband--sadly--was a Perot voter.) So while it’s annecdotal, I think it probably points toward something. I’m not sure why but Lieberman does excite a certain segment of the voting public and, I think, it’s the Perot guys or the Reagan Dems or the incomplete Republicans--or maybe it’s just all that Joementum? Whatever it is, it isn’t the Democratic faithful.

Still, I think Republicans should be paying just as much attention to this development as the Dems. It’s possible it signals the death of the Democratic party but it’s also possible that it heralds their re-birth as something really awful. When one third of Americans say they’re open to ideas about a government conspiracy of either active participation or silence regarding 9/11--it’s time to not only to wonder if the kooks aren’t getting more traction than they deserve, but also about how they’re getting it. And if that’s true, and the Dems have really morphed into a kind of 60s/Michael Moore/nuttburger party, then where will all the normal people go? I don’t think it’s a given that they’d come to us. On the other hand, I do hope Lieberman wins the general election. It may save the Democratic party and I begin to wonder if that’s not the better solution for both the GOP and the country. If I were a registered Republican in Connecticut I might (and probably would) even cross party lines to vote for him.

Lieberman gets far too much credit merely for not being a peacenik and not hating Republicans. While he is the better of two bad options in CT, he is only that. He has a choice now between running as a true independent, which he hasn’t been anything close to being, and running as a Democrat whose nomination was stolen by a rich dimwit who told the leftists everything they wanted to hear. In either case, I think a successful Lieberman campaign calls for a significant, though not complete, break with the Democratic party. And based on past non-performance, I don’t think the sainted Joe has it in him.

It’s possible it signals the death of the Democratic party but it’s also possible that it heralds their re-birth as something really awful.

Julie, I think you are very correct here. Yet, I don’t see how if Lieberman wins the general election it will help the Democratic Party at all. Really old Democrats, like my mother, like him and I am sure many Republicans will cross party lines to vote for him. (Except that to vote for an independent seems more like crossing the party line. as it takes you out of one party, but not into another.) But his support of the war can not really be enough of a qualification for Conservative sanctification, can it? I think David Frisk is right, Joe is not a Republican.

On the other hand, if George Voinovich is still a Republican, then maybe anyone can be. And given past CT Republicans, against whom J.L. was once the conservative choice, then in CT, anyone has been.

Julie, You’re right to worry, one-third of the country has gone nuts politically, and another third is just fed up. The soil is primed for a third-party candidate, but not Lieberman. Minds should turn to a plausible Republican candidate who is both a relative outsider and very competent.

Everything you need to know about GOP chances in November is here:

Please, I keep asking: Who is a plausible Republican candidate who is both a relative outsider and very competent. I keep asking this because my friends and neighbors keep asking me and I have no answer. Our minds would happily turn to such a candidate, but who, please tell me, who is it?

KFJ, we don’t have to elect Bush again. His approval numbers can tumble to nothing. If the Democrats do not have a candidate that electrifies the electorate, it is an open campaign.

Kate, All you messages are moving and astute. My mind has turned but hasn’t found anybody yet. If there were a pure merit system, the Republicans would choose between their two most competent governors--Bush of FL and Romney. But America isn’t going to stand for another Bush (even one who’s really, really different) and probably not for a Mormon. We need to be searching the hinterlands, American nooks and crannys etc.

What’s wrong with McCain? Or Romney? No need to search the "nooks and crannys" when decent people are in plain sight!

"one-third of the country has gone nuts politically, and another third is just fed up"

I think I agree with this statement, but I probably disagree with Peter on which third has gone nuts. I doubt that the third-party candidate option will not be forthcoming. People understand, I think, that the GOP has made serious mistakes, and that the only corrective is actual oversight, not some symbolic, rejectionist third-party push. Pace Joe Lieberman, the problem isn’t "politics as usual" or partisanship, it’s asymmetric partisanship. Republicans have had almost six years to show the country that they can do good things when they’re entrusted with control of all the levers of government, and they’ve failed - in ways that are only possible where there is one-party control of all the political branches.

To Peter, re Comment 2: Well, first, the GOP didn’t lose any election in CT. The incumbent Dem was thrown out. Second, this largely resembles Scoop and other moderate Dems being blown away by McGoo in ’72, which portended one of the greatest GOP majorities in history.

Through our long history, large numbers of Americans have always hated involvement in war. In the early days of the Republic, more than a few in Mr. Jefferson’s party said they’d rather let the Brits take back Boston and New York than go to war with them. It always requires Presidential leadership to sustain our courage and make the stakes clear. Pres. Bush, the VP, and all GOP presidential prospectors understand this, by contrast to the Hezbollah Democrats.

On the other hand, looking down the road to ’08: if we do get a 3rd party challenge, the GOP could be in deep trouble. This is a virtual pattern since the GOP was organized: 3rd party candidates, even if liberal, almost always help Dems and hurt Republicans.

My original Comment 1 was confined to this year, 2006.

Kate: Lieberman is running as an "independent Democrat" rather than as an "Independent"--so technically, I’d be crossing party lines (plural). But that’s a small point.

I hope Lieberman wins the general because I think a Democratic party gone wild is a very, very, bad and dangerous thing for our country. I want the electorate to smack down the Neds of this world. I want to be reassured that the American people are not going to follow the Dems to hell.

I don’t know if the time is ripe for a third party or, if it is, that the candidate would be Lieberman. I would not support him for anything other than CT Senator, in any case. But my hope is that a Lieberman victory will humble some of the nuttier elements within the Democratic party. But Lieberman would have to win by a large majority. He would have to make a convincing case that the Lamont wing of the party is unelectable.

Whatever happens, I think it is premature for the GOP hopeful to try and make comparisons between now and 1972. I have never really quite understood what was supposed to be so fantastic for the GOP about that defeat anyway. McGovern lost, but it was only 4 years before we got Carter. Carter did alot of damage in his short 4 years--to say nothing of Clinton’s 8. We didn’t get control of Congress until 1994--and once we got it, we didn’t do what we should have with it. There was Reagan and the first Bush, but even they couldn’t prevent Clinton. Clinton had to run as a "moderate" but it was obvious to everyone with the least bit of curiosity that he was being duplicitous. Once these guys remember that, the astute among them will remember to do it again. W won by narrow margins--and in 2004 given what happened, he should have had big ones. The country is not going to solidify behind the GOP or the Dems in their current clothing. The GOP can’t wait for the Dems to self-destruct. They have to make a better case for themselves and not just explain why the Dems are off base. It’s not enough to state that the American people are not as crazy as Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. Apparently, many are! I hate to be a wet blanket, but I don’t think there are any secret Christmas presents for the GOP wrapped up in the Lieberman defeat. As I said above--statesmanship is required. And I agree with Peter Lawler: it’s not going to be enough to put forward a decent guy who does a good job like Romney or Jeb Bush. This time, we need someone who can talk and, I think, it might be helpful if seemed to come out of nowhere . . . an outsider. Who is that? I have no idea, but I’m praying.

The thing about the McGovern defeat and the Carter election was that the GOP did not lose in the battle of ideas four years later. Watergate killed the party prospects, as many are worrying that the war in Iraq may kill the GOP again. This makes the rising power of the left in the Dems. a point of glee for for some on the right. The opposing concern is that, as happened with Nixon, a pull on the electorate to the left pulls policy leftward and we are stuck with a far less than conservative Republican party when it gains power.

My plaintive cries for a saleable conservative candidate is precisely because I do not see one anywhere. John McCain is all well good and may be a decent enough person, or even an exemplary one, as I am heard explained. However, he is not interested in, or is not espousing, the conservative ideals I find compellling. I guess I’ll pray with Julie.

How about Rep. Tom Tancredo? His bona fides on immigration is rock solid, and he’s a real conservative on international issues as well. A VERY long-shot, but certainly a fresh face with real credentials.

Well, Tancredo might actually be a little too solid on or obsessed with immigration. But I certainly think he should run to get genuine debate going on that issue and others. One advantage (and there ain’t many) of our present serial primary nomination system is that we’re able to get a good look at outsiders like him. I still say keep thinking, but dain’s kind of thinking, at the very least, is what we need.

Thank you for a spot of hope. He has a e-newsletter and his campaign
website carries his views on issues other than immigration. So far, so good.

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