Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What really happened to Lieberman?

The first blogs I read when I get online are TPM - Josh Marshall and Washington Monthly - Kevin Drum., followed by Digby. Marshall does immediate reporting, Drum adds explanation and relationship to the mainstrream media and thorws in some less topical but interesting subjects. Digby is third, because his insight adds a real long-term element.

Recently Marshall and Drum wrote about the meaning of Joe Leiberman's defeat in the Connecticut Democratic Primary, followed by an outstanding analysis by Digby. What they are doing, collectively, is writing a description of what happened in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. Forget the hype. Something really did happen that all Democrats should rejoice.

I'm a Democratic moderate (what else could you call a non-Hispanic Democrat in Texas today?) I have followed the Connecticut Democratic Primary because it seemed to be crystallizing something significant about the strange and self-defeating "bipartisanship" that the so-called "Democrat" Lieberman represents. I haven't been sure what was happening, but it has been clear for months that it was really significant for the national Democratic Party. Then the Connecticut primary happened, and - WOW! - Lieberman lost!

We are now in the stage of trying to determine what happened. Joe Lieberman, the three term Democratic Senator from Connecticut with all the advantages of incumbency, lost the Primary to someone who wasn't even known in January 2006.

That Joe only went down 52% to 48% belies the real tectonic change in Democrats. The change has been coming, but it was a movement of individuals opposed by the Democratic elites, the people with a major personal stake in the existing structure, the DLC, and the routine money sources.

This change in the Democrats is also rather strongly opposed by the Republicans. Notice that it is now the Republicans who are now supporting Lieberman. They speak for him to the national media and they are the source of a lot of the campaign money he is using. They understand that the forces behind Lamont are really, really dangerous to current Republican right-wing supremacy in national U.S. politics.

Joe Lieberman himself is not the target of the new movement. He is a rather tragic dinosaur left over from the past, who was almost perfectly adapted to the position he moved to occupy through the 1990's, and through his total inadaptivity to the new environment has become politically extinct. The tragedy is for the well-meaning individual that he clearly is. The change is that of new species moving into the changed environment.

I was not previously a strong partisan in American politics. I reserved my strong partisanship for Nazis, Fascists, and Communists internationally. They needed to be destroyed. Within American politics I considered the racists and segregationists to be beneath contempt but not politically significant except within specific locations like Pasadena, Texas. Bob Dole was usually wrong, but was an honorable opponent.

These new Republicans are the same ultra-Right authoritarians who hate the rule of law and the Constitution. They demand that their opponents not only be defeated but also be destroyed. Since they are basically wrong in almost all areas, they must be defeated at all costs. There is simply is no moderate middle in that Calculus. You cannot compromise with opponents who will use that compromise to destroy you.

I recognized in the 60's that nations that allowed Communist movements to join the government soon became totally Communist. This is the mechanism they used. Every compromise was used to destroy their opponents. They simply are not honorable political opponents who battle out ideas in democracies. They are autocrats who demand the total destruction of any who oppose their takeover of political control. I find it interesting that the American right wing has learned so much from their Communist opponents. There is no room for moderate compromise with such opponents. Ask Max Clelland.

The Lieberman - Lamont primary has crystallized this fact for the American public, whether they realize it or not.

Digby has clarified the Marshall - Drum positions quite well. His ability to do that is why I read him regularly.

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