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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Only True Democrat

I realize that criticizing Sen. Joe Lieberman’s recent behavior is like shooting fish in a barrel, but his latest outrage, an op-ed published today in the Wall Street Journal, really does demand some attention, if only because the man remains a member of the Democratic Senate Caucus, and could wind up with an important job if John McCain’s elected president.
You can read the piece yourself, but its basic thrust is that somehow, between 9/11 and today, the entire Democratic Party, with the exception of Lieberman himself, has abandoned its foreign policy legacy and surrendered to a horde of America-hating leftists. He hasn’t changed at all, he says; everybody else has.
I would recommend that Sen. Lieberman talk to a psychologist about the implications of thinking that he exclusively represents a tradition that many millions of other people define differently. Perhaps the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth, and perhaps Joe Lieberman is not the only true Democrat in America.
Until recently, I thought the saddest spectacle I had seen in politics was Zell Miller’s willingness to let himself be so thoroughly used by people who had nothing but contempt for him and everything he had ever stood for in public life. This is worse, if only because of the contrast between Miller’s extended stormy relationship with the national Democratic Party, and the honor that party bestowed on Lieberman less than eight years ago. After he visits the psychologist, Sen. Lieberman might want to take a long look at Miller’s post-apostasy political career. Last time I saw his name in the papers, in the autumn of 2006, Miller was speaking at the gala launch of a Pennsylvania group called Democrats for Santorum. In other words, he was pretty much just talking to himself.
Joe Lieberman’s within his rights to say what he thinks and support whomever he wants to support for president. But he really needs to stop pretending he speaks for Democrats, or for Democratic traditions. To be sure, Lieberman’s value to McCain and his other new Republican buddies would drop dramatically if he dropped the “D” from his title altogether. But honor ought to account for something, even in politics, and next time Lieberman is inclined to call his former colleagues and former supporters anti-American extremists, he should admit he’s not the still point in a turning world.

One comment on “The Only True Democrat

  1. links on

    Is it possible Miller and Lieberman’s defections, rather than just being the story of two delusional egomaniacs, tells us something about the emerging fractures in the Democratic coalition? I seem to remember Lieberman leaning hard on labor to put him over the top against Lamont. Is it a coincidence that he is in McCain camp’s? What does it say that this guy was the party’s VP nomination 8 years ago?

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