Sunday, November 09, 2008

The epic of Defeat...

Has there ever been a politician so thoroughly repudiated as is Joe Lieberman?
His entire world-view has been discredited and he wasn't even a candidate for office this year.
THAT has to hurt.
Lieberman came of age in US politics in an age of conservative ascendancy. Like many others he thought that negotiation and concession were the keys to survival for the democratic party...indeed liberalism itself could not prosper without strong outside moderation.
Implicit within this notion is the believe that America was a center-right polity and as such, the GOP's electoral dominance would never ever end.
Thus triangulation, acccomodation and negotiation were the democrats only hope.
It was a policy that worked well for Bill Clinton in most instances during his two terms in office mostly because he himself proved a shrewd negotiator with a instinct for the weaknesses of congressional republicans.
However it was also a policy rooted in the belief that no democrat would ever achieve a amjority in a US Presidential contest thus reinforcing the need for accomodation in the executive department as well as congress.
Then came 1994 and the GOP took over the democrats last great redoubt, the House of Representatives, if anything put paid to the myth of conservative omnipotence it was that.
Joe Lieberman saw the numbers then and in 2002 and decided the future looked grim for anyone who wasn't prepared to ingratiate themselves with the crooked likes of Ted Stevens, Phil Gramm and Denny Hastert.
I mean no wonder the guy became a jobber for Fox News.
And it is these beliefs, less his foreign policy views that have brought Joe to his current dilemma...stay with the democratic caucus and lose his committee chair or flip to the GOP and STILL lose his chair and possibly his seat in the senate come 2012.
He took a flyer on following John McCain around with his head bowed in lacke-ish servility and it got him exactly nothing, not the cabinet post he craved nor the respect he once deserved and has casually disgarded.
These are all pretty bleak prospects in the opinion of Humble Elias but they a situation of Joe's own making. Unlike Bill Clinton a reputation for native political shrewdness has never attached itself to Joe Lieberman so how he survives this is difficult to say.
There are those who say that Lieberman's transgressions were no worse than the white southern bourbon democrats of yore all of whom broke with the party on a quadrennial basis....but then Russell Long and John Stennis didn't follow Richard Nixon around on the campaign trail sporting a faded lackey-ish grin either.

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