First, let me say that as a resident of the District of Columbia I have no senator at all, nor a voting representative in the House, but I do understand how upset some Democrats must be that Scott Brown is the Senator-elect in Massachusetts. But the big loser yesterday wasn’t his opponent Martha Coakley, President Obama or even the Democratic Party.
It was Joe Lieberman. He and the right-most of the Democratic senators, but mostly Lieberman on his “Independent Democrat” raft. My thought — not original, I’ll confess — is that the Democratic party is so broad as to be unmanageable. With a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, a Democratic majority in the House and Democratic president, no sane Republican would consent in substantive policy issues that had any chance of failing or alienating the rest of the caucus. With sixty votes to prevent a filibuster, every Democrat (or ersatz Democrat) counts, but the most unreasonable wield a disproportional power that seems more harmful to me than negotiating with an opposing minority. And now they must do that, and so Lieberman et alia lose.
The times, fate and the legendary Democratic circular firing squad set the stage for a Republican revival in 2012 if not before. At least that’s one theory. Though the large national party that seems in worse shape than the Democrats are the Republicans, so I wouldn’t place bets yet.
Still, when Democrats act like second-string Republicans, the process goes all the faster. I’m still fuming about the bank bailout, the escalation in Afghanistan and the Fierce Advocate’s AWOL defense of the gays. So a thought: would I, had I lived in Massachusetts, have voted for Coakley? Perhaps. Given her money? No. Support her again? Never. Liberal Democrats have nothing to gain by the current cycle, so perversely may be accounted among the winners last night, from the liberating energy and blame deflection we earn. Whether it proves a Phyrric victory remains to be seen.
Lieberman may have lost in the sense his power is diminished, but it’s independents who determined the outcome here, and they are people who are looking for new ideas, not the old social democracy that’s been driving the Administration.
There’s a large libertarian consensus in America and Obama’s run badly afoul of it. It’s far more of a natural thing for conservatives to latch onto (witness the CATO institute’s Directors recent support for SSM http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11112 ) and build coalitions with an independent Libertarian center.
I’m guessing Lieberman is far more aware of that new emerging consensus than the folks around Obama: Rahm, David, and Valerie; who are really tacticians and deal makers; not folks given to thinking of national and world trends and movements.
As a former Massachusetts resident, I would have held my nose to vote for Coakley. She used the that “shaken baby” trial with the English nanny for political gain when she was running for DA. She is about as inspiring as a wet blanket and morally bankrupt. Sometimes the candidate really is bad and the locals know that better than the national media. Massachusetts has some great congressmen–Mike Capuano, Barney Frank, Jim McGovern. I hope that one of them will run for the senate seat next time.
That happened in New Jersey. Governor Corzine could not point to anything he had done in his years in office. Nothing. Yet, he wanted us to re-elect him. The times call for someone to do something.
“All politics is local. . .”
On a totally unrelated note, has this always been on your blog? “..on the practice of Christian faith..”
Bill, it’s always — well, for as long as I can recall — been the subhed but it didn’t print by default until I rolled out this new template.
It’s a rather broad definition, and flexible depending on the season. As I have time — little these days — I’ll write longer format, squarely theological work at RevScottWells.com.