Monday, July 03, 2006

Radical Incumbents

Regarding Lieberman’s recent announcement that he’s willing to leave the Democratic Party in order to remain in the Senate, does this kind of thing not happen?  Do incumbents not lose primaries?  I’m confused as to why Joe thinks this is ok.  This just seems entirely unprecedented and is likely to only hasten his defeat in the upcoming primary.  In particular, it plays right into his opponent’s argument and shows that Lieberman really doesn’t give a shit about Democrats.  But falling into his opponents’ traps seems to be the norm for Joe.

And the truth is that he would have been a much better Dem, had he not falsely believed that he was safe in the primary.  His voting record reflects someone who was only concerned with the general election…in 2008.  Had Joe spent the last six years voting like a Democrat, he wouldn’t have to spend the next few months running away from them.  Instead, he kept trying to win the Beltway Primary in Washington, and it might be the only victory he gets all year.

The Anti-Establishment Establishment

As for his entire campaign, something that many folks don’t understand is that the Establishment can’t run on an Anti-establishment platform.  That’s just commonsense.  Unfortunately for people who don’t understand the rules of an objective universe, these things don’t make sense.  They want to be able to run whatever strategy they think will work best, and don’t understand how some options are off-limits.

So they think one of the most established countries in world history can ignore all rules and mimic the dictators and terrorists they’re trying to defeat.  And they think the majority party in America should run on an obstructionist platform that relies on symbolic, political victories rather than having to actually do stuff.  And they think a three-term Senator can run a cynical, radical campaign without rules and just tear shit up; including their own political party.  

Even Lieberman’s recent campaign ad recycling a successful ad from his first Senate victory shows this.  It worked the first time because he was the outsider attacking the establishment guy with his own record.  Those tricks don’t work if you’ve actually got a record to run on and a smart opponent to remind voters of it.  Instead of looking witty and strong, he looked silly and desperate.

King of the Hill

Because it just doesn’t work like that.  Anti-establishment types get to tear down the establishment, and the Establishment has to prove that they can maintain the place.  It’s that simple.  It doesn’t seem fair to people who know that it’s easier to tear things down than to build them up, but that’s just the way it is.  If you’re the Establishment, you’re stuck acting responsibly.  That’s just what people expect, and there really isn’t too much wiggle room in that.  

Even the Republicans’ anti-Washington schtick is wearing thin, and will completely evaporate once the media internalizes the Democratic victories that will come in November.  Voters expect results from the people in charge; even the Walmart Voters.

This is the equivalent of being king while playing King of the Hill and complaining that you’re out-numbered and don’t get to have the running start that the usurpers have.  But you don’t.  You either get the advantage of numbers and a running start, or you get to stand on top of the hill and use that advantage.  But you don’t get both.  And if you leave the top spot to get that running start, you’ll quickly find that you’ve lost the top spot.

For Republicans, that’s really where they should be.  They don’t know how to run the show, and they like tearing down other people.  They’re natural obstructionists and contrarians, and they work best in that role.  I wouldn’t want a Democratic majority if there wasn’t a strong opposition to keep them in check.  Because the only thing keeping them on our side is that they still need us to remain there.  So the sooner the Republicans lose their leadership role, the better for everyone.

Lieberman, on the other hand, will find himself out of the loop completely.  As has been pointed out before, his whole schtick was to appeal to the Republicans who were only using him because he was a Democratic Senator.  And if he loses the one in the primaries and the other in the election; he’ll really discover what we already knew.  Joe Lieberman is a sucka.

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