As Goes Lieberman, So Go the Dems
Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary last night to the Kos-netroots far left wing of the Democratic party by nominating the anti-security candidate Ned Lamont. And while they are celebrating the defeat of a candidate whom they believe was disloyal, for failure to reflexively oppose anything George Bush does, in killing their Senator from their ticket, the Dems may have done the same to themselves for a number of reasons.
First, when Lieberman wins in the general as an Independent, that's one less Senate seat for the Dems. And given that Lieberman's fellow Connecticut Senator, Chris Dodd is now pulling a turncoat operation and supporting Ned Lamont in the general election, Lieberman may very well spend his next six years as an independent without switching party affiliation. It's the loss of a seat that the Dems simply can't afford in a year when they need every single race to retake the Senate.
Second, it tells moderate Democrats like Lieberman, Evan Bayh (IN), Bill Nelson (FL), Ben Nelson (NE), Tim Johnson (SD), Max Baucus (MT), Mary Landrieu (LA), and perhaps even the up-and-coming Bob Casey (PA) and Harold Ford (TN) that they are not welcome in the party unless they goose-step with the rest of the Kos-acks. It will have the effect of electing more and more far left candidates from among the Dems.
Third, this will embolden other such cannibalistic efforts to bump off other office holders in primaries such as the persons mentioned in the above-paragraph if they tinker enough with the impossibly intolerant left by daring to think independently. The net will be, as above, the rise of a much more pink Democratic party with candidates who are more and more outside the American mainstream, reminding most voters why they have kept that party out of power for the better half of a decade.
Lastly, and probably much less likely is the demographic effect that this could have. American Jews are currently at a political crossroads. They tend to be socially liberal for the most part, but economically conservative, and for obvious reasons are pro-national security in general and pro-Israel in particular. And in many respects, the far left has abandoned those causes. The rising left tends to support Islamism over Israel, every tinpot dictator over the United States, and has a less and less restrained anti-Semitic streak running through it. In very many ways, the Dems have done their best to push away Jewish voters. The question is whether their abandonment of an observant, likeable and apparently very pious Jewish Senator will be the thing to either keep them home or switch them to a Republican party that is ardently pro-Israel, pro-security, and whose members are Jews, Christians and others alike.
The Dems did significantly more than they think by ousting Lieberman. The problem for them is that, even if one assumes that they did nothing to aid the Republicans in this effort, they almost certainly harmed themselves, all in an effort to purify their ranks in a display of political cleansing.
By way of my final point regarding anti-Semitism and the Democrats, I missed this little tidbit: Lamont is campaigning today with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and both were on his victory stage last night. Everyone will remember Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" remarks of the 1980s, and Sharpton's "Jew bloodsucker" remarks and the fact that he presided over the destruction of a Jewish business in New York where employees inside were killed.
And while many may blow off the significance of this, I find it chilling and just a little odd that the Democrats missed the irony: A prominent Jewish Senator is slandered so that a far leftist can pick him off the ticket. Then, the winner parades around with two of the most prominent anti-Semites in American politics today in order to gain momentum for the general election.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but the far left seems to be sending a pretty clear message about how welcome (or otherwise) Jews are in the party.