Monday, August 13, 2007

What happened to Lieberman? He won.

Eve Fairbanks wonders what happened to Joe Lieberman.

The answer is simple: He won.

With the surge succeeding (the best recaps are at AJ-Strata's blog), Lieberman's now looking like he had the right moves all along. Why else would three hard-core anti-war lawmakers upstage him (as Eve described in her column)?

Second, Lieberman's influence may have been overstated in the wake of his win last November. You see, it really takes two-thirds of the House and Senate to ensure that something will pass into law (in essence, you'd need that margin to override a veto). That means, you need 290 House votes and 67 Senate votes for the type of cut-and-run policy that the Democratic netroots want.

The Democrats do not have anywhere near those numbers. And even with the defection of five Republicans on some aspects of the war (not, mind you, a call to immediately pull out), the GOP still has 44 votes to hold up a filibuster - plus that of Lieberman.

Lieberman's importance, though, was not in what he'd say or do in this Senate term. His importance was that he won the general election as an independent in favor of victory in Iraq and the global war on terror after he lost the primary to a candidate favored by his party's netroots.

In other words, he showed that there is no appetite for defeat, even in a state that routinely elects Democrats to federal offices. His victory showed that the Democratic primary electorate was way out of step with the general electorate. The Democrats are not going to pay attantion now, but after 2008, they will probably have to.

1 comment:

Political Realm said...

Of course, the electorate at large also proved that it prefers a (D) next to a candidate's name in 06. Several candidates lost, if for no other reason, than because they had the dreaded (R). As for the analogy of Lieberman's election to the 08 prez race, I don't really think there's a viable comparison there considering the candidates and the demos in place.