Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lamont wins!

Or should it be "Lieberman loses"? After all, a former vice-presidential nominee doesn't get beaten by a no-name challenger in his party's primary. He loses. And Joe's problem is that he lost touch.

I think I've only blogged about the Connecticut senate race once, and then only to point out that the narrative being presented of the race was badly flawed, that the Joementum wasn't flagging because of policy positions but because Lieberman lost touch with his base in Connecticut and had rhetorically abandoned his party too often.

I didn't write about Connecticut because I don't live there, I never have, and I don't feel any great interest in the details of its politics. I don't feel passionately about Joe Lieberman, and I don't know anything about Lamont. It appears that in most cases, we'll be trading 6 of one for a half-dozen of the other. Joe isn't Zell Miller. And Lamont isn't Ted Kennedy. Both are good on most policy issues.

The difference is that Lamont recognizes that the Democrats are currently the opposition party. Lieberman seems to think it's enough to engender good will without ever cashing in any chits.

People call him a Fox News Democrat, and treat it as an obviously bad thing. But one might envision a Fox News Democrat who would criticize his own party, then criticize the Republican Party, and point to a better middle path. Consider John McCain. He is what we might call a Daily Show Republican. In appearing and criticizing silliness of the worst sort from the right, he lets people believe he's not a conservative, while at the same time he advances various and sundry conservative proposals. He has successfully used this tactic to rehabilitate the image of the Republican party in many people's eyes. Lieberman is an Alan Colmes Democrat, one too wishy-washy to ruffle a Fox News feather, and too foolish to be able to use his appearances on Fox to improve his party's image, or really his own.

This race wasn't won by bloggers. It wasn't won by liberal activists. It was won by the voters of Connecticut, people who decided that their respected and well-known representative in Congress wasn't cutting it. There will be those who decry that event, but I intend to celebrate it. I love to see democracy in action, and that's what happened tonight. A senator who'd been out of state and out of touch too long was reminded that his constituency isn't New Jersey's young Republicans, nor the national viewership of Fox News, but the people who vote in Connecticut.

Running as an Independent now is just anti-democratic and crass. He deserved respect up to now, but rejecting the will of the people costs him even that small figleaf.