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Monday, June 05, 2006

Lieberman, The Wild Card

Update: See David's (Photon Courier) post on Jack Welch's assessment of Lieberman in 2004.

Call me crazy. Maybe I am - I'm not good at politics.

I still think that Lieberman will win reelection in Connecticut, but if he doesn't, I think he is poised to take the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008. And if he gets it, I think he may very well win. Read this article:
After years of ardent support for the Iraq war, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman could become that conflict's first big political casualty in a Democratic primary race fueled by rising anti-war anger.
"On the war, I've done what I thought was right for my country. I obviously haven't done it for political reasons," Lieberman told Reuters.

Lieberman has frustrated Democrats for years on issues beyond Iraq, from his early condemnation of President Bill Clinton during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal to his recent refusal to support a filibuster against conservative Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

His 2004 presidential candidacy fell flat and criticism from the left has intensified, particularly after he published a Wall Street Journal article last year headlined "Our Troops Must Stay" that chided Democrats for criticizing Bush on the war.
The thing is, voters will be looking for character and steadiness in 2008. The economy will not be good because of the real estate mess, and that is going to fuel the desire for a different mix of presidential priorities.

Consider a fired-up Lieberman running as a heretic cast out of the inner circle of progressive Hollywood Democrats and consider his potential appeal to the legions of traditional Dem voters who are very turned off by progressive Hollywood Democrats. These are the same voters who voted for Reagan and for Bush in pretty large numbers. Lieberman could offer an appeal to the more traditional Democratic base of working class voters in the heartland combined with a valid claim to having a core of principles of his own, demonstrated by the loss of his seat over his national security stance. He has plenty of experience in Washington.

People will say he can't win because he's Jewish. I don't agree at all, based on the attitudes I see around here - and I live in the Bible belt. The thing about fundamentalists is that they read the Bible, and they do believe in the Covenant of Moses as well as the New Covenant. It might be a handicap in Bollywood, but it is not likely to be a handicap here, because Lieberman is an observant Jew.

And contrast Leiberman to other likely candidates. Hillary looks like a leaf blown on the wind compared to him. Gore looks like what he is - an eye-rolling stump preacher of Armageddon trying to whip the crowd up for a big take when you pass around the hat. Giulani is likeable, but voters will have questions about his steadiness and judgment. McCain looks pugnacious compared to Lieberman.

Lieberman offers two things that no one else likely to run does - and that is the combination of being strong on national security issues while presenting an utterly unbellicose personal image. It does not matter what they think in New York, LA and DC - voters around here are convinced that the Islamic jihadists are a terrible threat. Years of reports about Beslan, the bombing of kids in Iraq, the attacks on mosques, what we hear from our soldiers - all of those have convinced people in Georgia, at least, that these people are lunatics bent on destruction who cannot be coddled into contentment. Yet on the other hand, we don't want to go a step farther than we have to with regard to military involvement. We want as much peace as we can get but absolutely no surrender. People are quite apt to look at Lieberman and decide that he offers the best balance in that regard.

The ugly truth (for the highly politicized) is that Americans have a fixed tendency towards moderation and centrism. They want compromise and performance - all things that the rhetoric of political spinmeisters haven't offered in recent years. They want to be able to trust, and they want to see a decent future, and every inclination of the American voting population will be to somehow strike a middle line and force the blithering brats in DC to get down to business.

I think we would vote for Lieberman as President and return a Republican Congress. And I think it might even work. The Dems wouldn't be able to slam their Holy Grail - power in the White House - and the Republicans would have to deal on economics.

If he DOES run, with Zell Miller as VP, I'd likely vote for him.

Anyone else who's likely to float to the top in the DNC cesspool... nope, not a chance. I don't see integrity there, I don't see any potential statesmen (people who will put country ahead of party) and I don't see anyone with a damn clue.

I have to confess, I kind of like him. Although, I like Guiliani too...it would be nice to have a choice between the two of them.

Good Lord! Major spam.

You have to at least feel some empathy with his current position. I agree, J.

And I sort of like him too, Anniebird.
It would be wonderful to have a decent pick this time.
You're right.

If Lieberman runs, he wins. As you note Americans love moderation. That said, the hard left will go off the deep end.
Shrieking, howling and screaming, I agree. But it is that shrieking, howling and screaming that is going to give Lieberman street cred.
Note - I removed the spam, which was not jlawson.
As a former card carrying member of the Hollywood "inner circle" I can tell you that you are dead wrong. There was a time when the Jews ran Hollywood everywhere; they ran studios, distribution, were most of the big writers and actors. Things changed starting with Coppola's Godfather in the early 70s until now where there are hardly any Jews at all and the politics of the "new elite" is as far to the Left as you can imagine. (Striesand is the Last Jew standing and she is totally Left) No Hollywood or recording industry money will go Lieberman's way. Zero. He is completely out of step with the Democratic Party and Democrat philosophy. He ain't winnin' nothin'.
Well, Howard, I suppose that's why he appeals to the rest of us.

Maybe it's too much to ask that the Democrats moderate their hysteria for purposes of choosing a candidate with broad appeal to the electorate. If they will insist on putting forth another ridiculous candidate, I predict the regretful continuation of the tiresome shriek about elections gained without mandate...Lord, I am so TIRED of hearing it! I've begun daydreaming about yanking idiots with the bumper sticker "re-defeat Bush in 2004" out of their cars and spanking them, right there in the street. Stubbornly whiny children need discipline.

Howard! I'm glad you're back! You were missed.

I agree that being Jewish won't be an advantage on the coasts. But then I don't think Lieberman's appeal might be to the coasts. I think it will be to the heartland. That is only if he loses the election for the Senate, because otherwise I don't see him running. It would take quite a bit to get him nerved for the battle.

Ditto Anniebird. If the Dems run a candidate that Hollywood likes, they lose the heartland.
Some interesting comments about Lieberman from former GE CEO Jack Welch in his analysis of the leadership styles of the Democratic candidates in early 2004, here. I think clearly, since that time, Lieberman has demonstrated what Welch calls "edge."
David, thanks. That link addresses my basic suspicion that Lieberman won't run for President unless he loses this election. I think that loss would be a great motivator.
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