Sunday, January 21, 2007

What did Lieberman's victory really augur?

Two pundits read the tea leaves at the in the wake of Joe Lieberman's senate victory. (Hat tip: Roger Simon) Just what does it suggest for the Presidential race in 2008? The first pundit, Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute writing in Real Clear Politics, thinks it augurs well for John McCain. Brown thinks Lieberman gambled that Democratic voters were further to the center than its party leadership -- and won. He conjectures that Republican voters are further to the Left than party activists, and that therefore an anti-party but pro-war candidate like John McCain will cross the finish line first, whatever his party may think of him. But Reliapundit thinks Brown is focusing too much on the "maverick" part of the equation. It is the "liberal" component that is important, and in that respect, Rudy Giuliani may have the advantage.

I think the fact that both candidates appeal to so-called centrists/independents who pick-and-choose from among each party's platform is trivial. WHY!? Well, Lieberman's margin over Lamont doesn't portend a McCain victory, but a RUDY VICTORY: It shows that a liberal hawk is a very appealing candidate for parts of the GOP and the DNC and the "moderate" independents.

McCain is not a liberal hawk - he is pro-Life and pro-tax cuts. Sure, he is anti-gun and for campaign finance reform (which hinders free speech), but he is really rather conservative - too conservative for many MANY Lieberman-type voters. Rudy, though, is truly a liberal hawk: he is anti-gun; pro-gay marriage; pro-abortion; and virtually pro-illegal immigation. Lieberman shows that this Rudy-esque combination is truly very appealing.

But that's only how punditry sees the Lieberman lesson playing out on the right side of the political equation. On the Left side of the equation, Reliapundit predicts the Lieberman fiasco will have exactly zero impact on the Democratic Party nomination process. They will ignore it. "I seriously doubt that the Democrat Party can nominate a hawk - liberal or centrist. They will nominate someone more like Lamont than like Lieberman, and THAT is the sad-but-true bottom-line of this story."


One commenter whose name escapes me, predicted that the 2006 midterm elections would be a loss for the American public whichever political party won. Maybe he was right. The outcomes predicted by both Peter Brown and Reliapundit both describe are eerily equivalent to the Republicans nominating a candidate from a "third party" -- someone outside the system -- without actually creating one. And that only makes sense if the public is sick unto death of both parties, though Reliapundit argues that only the Republicans are chastened enough to realize it. Roger Simon has argued that there is something different about the 2008 Presidential election that transcends its raw monstrosity. Besides being a billion dollar election in a time of war there is the sense that it is a kind of crossroads; that this particular Presidential contest constitutes (in that wonderful Churchillian phrase) a hinge of fate. But maybe that's putting it too dramatically. Let's wait and see.


Blogger ricpic said...

What's the difference what this or that insider political development augers? Millions upon millions who would support a no holds barred war on radical Islam; slamming shut the gates on tidal wave immigration; no more trucking to multi-culti preferential politics; judicial accountability; an attempt at limited government; etc., etc., have NO REPRESENTATION and NO CANDIDATE to look forward to.

1/21/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I pity the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election. Our enemies will push against us and push us hard just to test the toughness of our new President. And it would be difficult for any president to get tough when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is controlled by people who demand appeasement.

Although the President may theoretically control foreign policy, he (or she) must act within the broad constraints set by the balance of power in Congress in general and the Senate in particular. Overall, I think the overall makeup of the Senate is more important than the poor fool who winds up with the Presidency the next time. A President who conducts his foreign policy when his (or her) will is completely at odds with the overwhelming majority of the Senate won't be very effective.

1/21/2007 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I think it is going to be some years before the American public has sloughed through the fog of understanding the nature of the enemy and the struggle ahead. The Senate and the House reflect, in a broad way, the ignorance and enervation of the people. The most important issue, as I see it right now, is preserving our ability to debate and exchange ideas that are critical of Islam. We must not let Conyers and Ellison affect our freedom to criticize any ideology or religion. I am confident, going forward, that at the end of the next decade vastly more Americans will have the mental and intellectual moorings to accept the onerous foreign policy and military challenges that are surely going to build and not abate in the years ahead.

Of course, it helps when more of the older Cohort of The Worst Generation will be pushing daisies, or close to it.

1/21/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Speaking of Senator Lieberman, Nick Cohen has an interesting two-part essay in the Observer (and the Guardian).

Although the modern tectonic plate of North America mostly corresponds to ancient Laurentia, there are not the same. (For example, Florida was once part of Africa.) Similarly, the tectonic forces that are polarizing Western politics have the effect of lumping some liberal and leftist “hawks” with most of the Right while the “paleoconservative” movement is becoming allied to most of the Left. It is precisely these two diametrically opposed factions that feel the most bitterness, as they have been summarily “evicted” from the official organs of the ideologies they strongly believe in.

Ned Lamont’s challenge to Senator Lieberman should be seen as an attempted eviction notice by the Soros faction against any liberal or leftist hawk. As for the Republicans, it’s too soon to tell what will happen except this -- it won't particularly matter what people in New Hampshire think because they have a history of voting against the eventual winner.

1/21/2007 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"Besides being a billion dollar election in a time of war there is the sense that it is a kind of crossroads; that this particular Presidential contest constitutes (in that wonderful Churchillian phrase) a hinge of fate"

I believe the "hinge of fate" was the Congressional election of 2006 that gave victory to Pelosi (the voters sent exactly the wrong message to the enemy). The die is cast. The 2008 election will be determined by the health of the American economy. I'll be amazed if we're not in a major recession by then. That means the Democrats win by default.

Obama is an empty suit and an MSM construct who will flame-out in the primaries. If the economy tanks then Hillary will be our next President. The Islamic fascists will take their queue from that event. What happens after the next 9/11 outrage is anyone's guess.

All we can do is hope that the economy hangs on for two more years and Rudi or McCain wins.... fat chance...

1/21/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Great links from Alexis. Thanks!

1/21/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger _Jon said...

I don't see McCain doing well because there are a huge block of voters who don't trust him. Between the CFRA (free speech) and his time in Hanoi Hilton, I've exchanged with a *lot* of people who truly consider him a Manchurian Candidate.

From what I've learned about Republican / Conservative voters, the "social" issues are distinct and separate from the "safety" issues. For example, although abortion is an absolute "no-no", they would support a candidate to permits abortion if he would do what is necessary to protect the nation.

Based upon that type of opinion, I would submit that a person like Guliani - if truly tough on enemies, or Liberman - again, same stipulation - has a really good shot at being the next PotUS.

But I agree that Congress holds more power than the PotUS. In fact, if I were to form a political party in the US, I would put in its charter that they not sponsor or endorse a candidate for the PotUS. From my studying of the Constitution, there is supposed to be tension / conflict between the three branches. If all three are in the same party, we will have trouble. As witnessed in our recent past.

1/22/2007 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Lieberman's victory was a lot of nothing as far as national tea leaves go.
Lieberman was AG for 6 years, been in the Senate almost 20 - voters know him well. Predictable liberal except when Israel's security is affected or cultural events impact his Orthodox sensibilities. Even then, other than on matters that could threaten Israel, he typically squawks, plays Hamlet, "agonizes" - then does the predictable liberal vote - be it on Clinton's impeachment or speechifying for hours saying how desperately American needs an energy policy then votes against BOTH better milage standards AND any new drilling ANYWHERE.
He ran against a one-trick pony in Lamont and a Republican (6% of the vote) who was found to be gambling under aliases.
In CT, everyone knew Lieberman would win - even get by the "Bush Kiss" since Joe didn't give him tongue.
His victory augered nothing.
Certainly nothing on Iraq other than prove again single issue fanatics are unelectable in America.
Eggplant - If the 2006 election was a hinge, it was a hinge of a bad President unable to lead and a Republican Congress that had dissapated it's trust in scandal, crony corporate corruption and a privileged "do nothing" attitude. It was a repudiation of Bush's policies from his 450 billion dollars squandered on the Iraq morass, to Open Borders, to the near-total destruction of America's reputation and power abroad, to the failure of Globalization to benefit the Americans outside the Ruling Elite. It was an election that saw the Reagan Democrats reconsider the Democratic Party as being more aligned with their interests than the Party of the CEOs.

If Hillary wins, we probably will have a better leader than we do now. Meanwhile, I am going to do everything the Maximum Beloved War Leader President asks of me in the "defining struggle of our lives". I'll shop for Chinese stuff, enjoy my China/Japan/Saudi-financed tax cuts.

1/22/2007 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger JB said...

Cedarford: such an independent thinker as you needs to be told by a leader what to do?

Oh, yeah, I forgot: it's not you that needs to be told what to do with their money and life, it's those who don't know any better.

1/22/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Interesting post _jon, I agree with most of it,if McCain got the nomination (unlikely I think) I will just stay home if I am still around to vote. Guiliani has his defects no doubt, but he has one outstanding thing, charismatic leadership qualities. That is what the office really needs, POTUS is a weak office politically, it is only those who have outstanding leadership qualities who make a mark.

I can't really see any other Republican with a chance, nor are there any with views I endorse completely.

The Republicans woud do better to throw overboard some RINO's and let the Presidency go to Hillary. I predict she will be a total failure anyway setting a low for ineptitude and corruption exceeding our worst President.

Events are probably going to control the war on terror anyway so I do not think it much matters who is President. It would be far better for the Republicans to control the Senate, preferrably without any RINO's than to worry about the Presidency when they have no candidate anyway.

1/22/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trackbacked on The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/22/2007

1/22/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Dave H said...

"The Republicans woud do better to throw overboard some RINO's and let the Presidency go to Hillary. I predict she will be a total failure anyway setting a low for ineptitude and corruption exceeding our worst President."

If the above scenario happened --and-- we got whacked big-time by the islamic fascists then the probability would be high that Hillary would run around in circles crying "What I do? What I do?" while the MSM and the moonbats bemoan that "It's all our fault!". This is precisely the environment that would trigger a military coup d’état, i.e. suspension of the Constitution after someone declares himself "Interim Guardian of National Security". Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Adolf Hitler are the historical analogs to read about for this scenario.

1/22/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger _Jon said...

I forgot to write that if no appealing Republican made it to the Finals, then I think most Repubs would stay home on erection day.
I think 2004 turned out as it did because The Base was motivated to turn out. But as others pointed out, 2006 was a referendum on domestic behavior by the PotUS and Congress, so many stayed home.

Ultimately, what we need to do is elect a tough, strong leader. But the only way that will happen is if we put down the remote and start supporting such candidates. Until the US populace gets motivated to elect quality leaders, we will continue to muddle along.

1/23/2007 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

I'm not saying that this will happen, but I'd like it to. The Dems nominate someone on the left of their party, the Reps nominate someone on the right, and a pair like Lieberman and Giuliani decide to make an independant run up the middle. Everything I see about American politics today is divisive to the point of ludicrousness - people have stopped caring what their opponents say, it's become a sick parody of itself where the two parties have nothing but hate and contempt for each other. A respectible bipartisan ticket could actually cut through the morass and give both sides something kind of agreeable. Plus, they'd do a hell of a lot better job than anyone who can make it through a big-party nomination process.

1/25/2007 06:38:00 AM  

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