Monday, July 17, 2006
Seriously. He's just Howard Dean without the scream.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Joe Lieberman's bit ter primary battle is the biggest race in the country because it's a naked test of how much clout the MoveOn/Deaniac angry left holds in the Democratic Party.
It's a Democratic civil war. If they can beat Lieberman and make the Iraq war a litmus test, the angry activists hope to become kingmakers with vast clout in picking the 2008 presidential nominee.
Activists like Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the popular Daily Kos Web site, claim their mix of hot rhetoric and Internet organizing is the path to victory for Democrats.
But they have yet to notch a single win in a primary or general election. Howard Dean crashed and burned in a 2004 Internet-fueled presidential bid.
That's why the stakes are so high. If the activists can't beat Lieberman, their clout shrinks fast.
For centrist Democrats, it's vital that Lieberman win to keep the party from lurching to the left and risking a repeat of George McGovern's 49-state loss to Richard Nixon in 1972.
"This reveals a self-destructive tendency on the left of the Democratic Party, a cultish fervor," says Will Marshall, who runs a think tank linked to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.
"There's a kind of angry new breed of liberal fundamentalism that's trying to enforce a narrow orthodoxy."
For the angry activists, the worst-case scenario is that Lieberman loses the Democratic primary but wins re-election as an independent - revealing them as paper tigers.
Republicans are smiling. They say the activists hurt the whole Democratic Party by making it look too nasty and too far left.
"The liberal fringe may end up costing Democrats control of Congress this fall," said Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin.
"It's the best thing we have going for us as Republicans."
Posted by Mr. Grey Ghost at 11:29 PM