Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006
Conn. Race Could Be Democratic Watershed
Loss by Lieberman May Embolden Critics of War

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 6, 2006; Page A01

FARMINGTON, Conn., Aug. 5 -- The passion and energy fueling the antiwar challenge to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in Connecticut's Senate primary signal a power shift inside the Democratic Party that could reshape the politics of national security and dramatically alter the battle for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, according to strategists in both political parties.
Oh yes, let's reshape the national Democratic Party, especially its 2008 presidential strategy, so as to make it more competitive in Connecticut -- the state where Republicans are to the left of national Democrats, and state Democrats (with a few working-class holdouts) are to the left of the Yale faculty. (If there are other such states, they all have borders with Connecticut.)

I can see the ads now:

Al Gore: I would have beaten Joe Lieberman too! Why, I invented beating Joe Lieberman! Oh, wait a minute....

Mark Warner: I'm to the right of that notorious reactionary Hillary, but I spent 50K on hors d'oeuvres for Markos Moulitsas's Las Vegas convention, so now I'm the Daily Kos golden boy, and I'd have beaten Joe Lieberman with a stick!

John Kerry: I'd have beaten Lieberman before I lost to him.

Hillary: I've always been a Ned Lamont fan....

John Edwards: There are sue Americas -- I mean, two Americas: Joe Lieberman, and the American people....

Yes, if Lamont wins, by all means let the Democrats conclude this means they have to nominate a candidate of proper leftist purity, like those great presidents Adlai Stevenson and George McGovern.

The fact appears to be that Republicans win presidential elections when they choose their nominee from their Right (1964 was an aberration, explainable by other factors), while Democrats lose when they choose their nominee from their Left.

Examples, re Republicans: Nixon over Rockefeller in '68 (Reagan entered that race too late to be a factor); Reagan over Bush I in '80; Bush I running as Reagan's third term in '88 (but to Buchanan's left in '92, and then he loses to a Democrat perceived as not being from his party's leftist wing). Bush II in '00 is hard to classify: there were candidates to his right in the GOP primaries, but the media made him seem plenty right-wing enough; plus, Gore moved left of his past record in that election.

Examples, re Democrats: Stevenson lost twice, McGovern tanked, and Dukakis blew a lead as soon as "the L word" got attached to him. By contrast, JFK did not run as a leftist, and to do him justice, he wasn't one. Neither was Carter: he was more liberal than Ford; but note that in choosing Ford, the GOP had conspicuously rejected a more conservative choice who had run a very competitive primary campaign; so the '76 race was not so much won by the Democrats as lost by the Republicans. Then there's Clinton, who maintained the image (and occasionally the reality; e.g. welfare reform) of being a centrist.

This is not to argue, as the New Right of the early '80s imagined, that America is "movement conservative" at heart; only that, faced with "a choice, not an echo," Americans will make the right-hand choice.

So yes, by all means let's have a 2008 Democratic nominee chosen for acceptability to the leftist blogosphere and for electability in Connecticut. They might carry Massachusetts too!