The hard-left lurch by the Democrats may be their undoing. Unless those Republican "moderates" come to their rescue once again.
So the dearest dreams of the extreme-left have come true. Joe Lieberman (D.-CT), historically a very liberal Senator from a very liberal state, was nonetheless defeated by primary challenger Ned Lamont, who can now boast a greater acceptance among the Democrat Party’s liberal “purists.”
Lamont not only toes the party line on every precept of ultra-liberal social orthodoxy, he also embraces the “cut and run” philosophy of Representative John Murtha (D.-PA) and the Howard Dean leftists now in firm control of the Democrat Party.
Lieberman, on the other hand, was intellectually honest enough to admit the futility of attempting to contend with Islamic terrorism on a purely defensive basis. And intellectual honesty is utter poison to the left. So Lieberman must go.
Conservative commentators and pundits have generally been enjoying the situation, believing that they would reap political advantage from either a victory or defeat of Lieberman. In truth they are only partially correct.
A Lieberman win could have been interpreted as a rejection by the Democrat grassroots of the hard-left ideology promoted by the likes of Howard Dean and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA). Such an event would have left the Democrats scrambling to reinvent their agenda only ninety days out from the general election.
On the other hand, Lieberman’s defeat moves the radicalism of Lamont, Dean, Pelosi, and their kind to “front and center” in the media and among Democrat political hacks. Yet despite the vehemence of individuals like George Soros and his comrades of the leftist fringe, their message does not resonate. Outside of a few blue state Democrat strongholds, most of the nation soundly rejects their countercultural and anti-American beliefs.
So the potential does indeed exist by which the Lamont victory could spell trouble for the Democrats. However, the conservative analysts who have expressed such hopes may be forgetting another political reality of the Republicans that cannot be omitted from the mix. And if recent history is any harbinger, despite the phenomenal opportunity this situation affords them, the Republicans will fumble this one as well.
Just as Israel can reap great benefits from a decisive rout of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but only if it stays the course until the job is complete, so does the GOP stand to expose these Democrat troubles as an internal confrontation between forces of the left and the “hard-left.”
But this will be the case only if the GOP asserts itself as a strongly contrasting conservative alternative. Unfortunately, it has done little to lay such groundwork in recent months.
On the issue of the War on Terror alone, Republicans have remained relatively steadfast, consistently refusing to play along with the “cut and run” strategy (if cowardice and retreat can be called a “strategy”) being incessantly promoted by the Democrats. But in other major areas of concern to the nation, the Republicans have an abysmal record of capitulation to their opposition.
All too often, impending fallout that Democrats should reap as a result of their extremism is softened or even completely dissipated by Republican willingness to meet them halfway.
Worse yet, the willingness of Republicans to play along with their political adversaries’ opposition to some degree, suggest the inherent rightness of the liberal philosophy, with the differences between the two parties being thereafter perceived as only a matter of degree. A few key issues of recent years prove the point.
Despite being a powerhouse of conservative ideas during his tenure as House Speaker, Newt Gingrich once sought to placate his opposition by embracing the “Earned Income Tax Credit” (a euphemistically termed welfare check to low-income individuals who paid no taxes). Thus, a plan to allow productive Americans to keep more of their earnings was degraded to the status of just another government giveaway.
During President Bush’s first term, the enormously expensive Medicare prescription drug program eventually enjoyed the endorsement of then House Majority Leader Tom Delay. Delay contended that the new entitlement, soon to cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars, made a good statement in favor of eventual “privatization” of Medicare.
Recently, debate over the massive invasion of illegal aliens from south of the border presented true conservatives in the Congress with an opportunity to clearly distinguish themselves from those on the other side of the aisle. Sadly, the combination of White House and media pressure has ensured that no effective measures will be passed unless accompanied by a “guest worker” caveat that thoroughly nullifies any true border enforcement.
Ultimately, the Lieberman spectacle could signal a Democrat implosion in which the party maneuvers itself into an untenable position that will please neither those on the left nor its more moderate members. Nevertheless, a Democrat Party whose members realize that they must remain committed to their agenda (liberal though it may be) is more likely to prevail than a Republican Party that rallies around and preserves the political career of such turncoats as Arlen Specter.
It is becoming clear that, as a result, Republican “moderates,” seeking to beat the Democrats to the punch, in fact may have maneuvered themselves into a political posture that is quite possibly even more unpalatable to their own voting base.
Time is running out for the GOP to regain the high ground in this election cycle.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, as has written for regional and national magazines. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.