That enemy is the establishment, in this case the Democratic Party’s establishment leadership, which dutifully kicked in endorsements and cash to Ned Lamont before Lieberman’s political corpse had even cooled. Overnight Lamont and his networking rebels had to hand over the insurgency mantle to none other than Lieberman, who is now the underdog outcast independent in the Connecticut Senate race. ~Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post
The article is entitled, “Joe Lieberman, Insurgent.” Yeah, good one, Jim. Is Mr. Hoagland showing us his refined sense of humour? Is he being ironic? I certainly hope so. As the inimitable Rumsfeld might say, “My goodness!” There are a few things that we can know with a fair amount of certainty about the Connecticut primary, and one of them is that the party establishment has no particular investment in Lamont (no more than it has in any other safe Dem nominee), whom most of them did not support and who will still have to finance his campaign with his own efforts and resources. The view from the top is that the seat will remain “blue” no matter what happens (Schlesinger, the GOP’s man, is pulling a whopping 9%, making him a less credible threat than non-existent WMDs). What it does not want is a fratricidal contest continuing on all year long that will divert attention and resources away from their major battleground races. In this situation, instead of insurgent, it might be more reasonable to call Lieberman a “dead-ender,” to use another of Secretary Rumsfeld’s favourite phrases of yesteryear.
Nothing is more ridiculous than painting the last few days as a fight between “the establishment” and an “independent,” much less an “insurgent.” Bob LaFollette and the real Insurgents must be spinning in their graves at the very notion that Lieberman could be associated with them in any shape, way or form. (Of course, insurgent is a word these days that most politicians would not care to have pinned on them–particularly not a prominent hawk on Iraq!)
Was Mr. Hoagland referring to the Insurgents of the early 20th century when he came up with this title? It seems hard to believe, but what else are we meant to think of when we hear the word insurgent in an American political context? Of course, it is poorly chosen and doesn’t suit Lieberman very well. LaFollette, who embodied the Insurgent spirit at the start of the last century, was known for opposing foolish Wilsonian wars before it was trendy to oppose Wilsonianism. Insurgents were not known for defending wars or the administrations that got us into them.
Finally, here’s another item:
Who better to represent the anger and even hatred that constituents feel for the sinister, unseen forces messing with their lives than this about-to-be-fired pol who was done in by a rich entrepreneur backed at first by elitist techies and now by incumbent party bosses who previously were for Lieberman?
Yes, there’s nothing that says, “Stick it to The Man!” like voting for the pro-war nebbish incumbent. For their next trick, the disaffected and alienated people of America can amend the constitution and re-elect Bush to a third term! Let’s get the petitions started! Perhaps Mr. Hoagland is telling a very clever, elaborate joke and I have simply not caught on this early in the morning. But, alas, he is not joking. You see, we need Lieberman. Why? Mr. Hoagland tells us:
Come to think of it, we sure could use the seasoned and usually sober Joe Lieberman to help find the center of gravity for a better approach on Iraq.
The man has had three years to “find the center of gravity for a better approach to Iraq,” and has not succeeded to the satisfaction of his Democratic constituents. He shouldn’t get to be able to have a “do-over” after he failed to do the job and was judged wanting by his core supporters.