Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joe Lieberman's Day Of Reckoning

Today is the very important Connecticut Senate race primary election between Senator Joe Lieberman and millionaire cable TV businessman, Ned Lamont. The Iraq War is the central issue that divides the two candiates as well as a further cultural divide.

Orthodox Jew, Joseph Lieberman, is by all appearances a very decent and honest man, but among the culturally liberal, this senator's value system may have worn out any welcome. In keeping with the values of his faith which hold compassion for the poor and downtrodden in high regard, while being critical of excesses in the entertainment industry. Cultural liberals may find this a real friction point. However support for the Iraq War, which also served the interests of Lieberman's faith to rid the MidEast of Saddam Hussein has given Ned Lamont his most potent issue.

Ned Lamont is a far more secular man. I cannot easily find any reference to faith in his background, which is not to say that he many not have a religious identification. But a strong family background with interests in humanism as well as support for ACLU activity are in the close relative background of his family. And with his cable TV background, he is probably far less of a cultural conservative than Lieberman, and less likely to support cultural censorship schemes in Congress. But then again, most in the Senate get involved in a cultural groupthink that holds up the most most conservative positions on cultural issues, either out of fear, or worry of offending voters.

The election in Connecticut will be an interesting bellweather of where the Democratic Party is headed. It will measure the strength of the left in the Democratic Party and decide whether the left can appeal to enough voters to win elections, or that moderate independent voters and more conservative Democrats will continue to often side with Republicans, continueing to give them a national ruling majority.

Joe Lieberman may represent where many voters are in Connecticut, but he may not be where the rising liberal base in the Democratic Party are politically or culturally. But whether Ned Lamont represents the new base of the Democratic Party is also a good question. The most liberal in the Democratic Party are also the most active in party politics. Will the Democratic Party go back to a George McGovern type leftism that cannot win elections, or can they convince enough voters to win elections? My best guess is that while I certainly agree with many of the goals of the rising left in the Democratic Party, they may be risking losing many moderate voters in the overall voting population. For some reason, I fear the largely probusiness Republican Party may yet be able to further capitalize off of this and further their control of U.S. national politics. Serious doubts about unworkable U.S. foreign policy goals of the rising left in the Democratic Party may continue to leave Democrats in the minority in national elections. Sometimes a slight compromise of your values in order to build the largest electoral majority is the most wise path. Yet the right wing radicalism of some in the Republican Party has seldom seemed to cost too many elections compared to the cost of the left to Democrats.

At any rate, today will be an interesting bellweather of the state of the soul in the Democratic Party.


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