TCS Daily


The "Scoop" on Lieberman

By Pejman Yousefzadeh - September 1, 2006 12:00 AM

While there is no doubting the vitriol that Democrats feel for Sen. Joseph Lieberman nowadays, there is certainly a great deal of doubt concerning the strategy of isolating Lieberman. Or at least, there should be. Not only are Democrats in danger of antagonizing a present and potentially future colleague of theirs, they are also in danger of antagonizing a significant segment of the Democratic Party itself. We have seen them do it before.

The public figure and Democratic Senator Lieberman most closely resembles was the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson. Jackson was notable among Democrats for his strong defense and national security credentials and his criticism of policies like d├ętente, which he saw as a morally indefensible response to Soviet foreign policy. For a time, Jackson and Jacksonian Democrats were able to exist as a force within the Democratic Party. But Jackson's longstanding support of the Vietnam War and his Cold War views in general helped isolate him and his supporters from the Democratic Party. Longtime Jackson aides like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeane Kirkpatrick eventually felt alienated from the Democratic Party, with Kirkpatrick renouncing her allegiance to the party by becoming a foreign policy advisor to Ronald Reagan during the 1980 campaign and excoriating Democrats during the 1984 Republican National Convention for what she called a "Blame America First" political viewpoint that departed from the views of Democrats like Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.

The departure of Perle, Wolfowitz and Kirkpatrick was part of a larger trend. Blue collar traditional-values voters, along with Democrats who shared Jackson's preference for a muscular foreign policy left the Democratic Party in droves in the 1980 election and helped deliver the White House to Ronald Reagan. These "Reagan Democrats" repeated the performance in 1984 and continued to help in 1988, electing George Bush the Elder to the White House. After eight years in the Clinton camp, many Reagan Democrats largely returned to the Republican fold in 2000 and 2004 for George W. Bush.

The apostasy of the Reagan Democrats continues to plague the Democratic Party and its electoral efforts. In addition to having to try to return the Reagan Democrats back to the Democratic fold on values issues, the Democrats have to establish their foreign policy credentials for the Reagan Democrats to turn their backs on electoral cooperation with the Republican Party.

This is a tall order for the Democrats. So it is more than a little puzzling that they would make their job even more difficult by alienating anew Reagan Democrats and Democrats who identified with the foreign policy views of Scoop Jackson by seeking to ostracize Joe Lieberman. As this poll shows, Lieberman leads Ned Lamont and Republican Senatorial candidate Alan Schlesinger by 12 points in the most recent poll.

The Reagan/Scoop Jackson Democrats continue to be a force in politics. If Democrats could attract them back to their party, they could end any hopes of a popular political realignment in favor of Republicans. But instead of trying to ensure that Joe Lieberman and the people who support him are comfortable in something resembling a Democratic big tent, Democrats appear determined to ensure that the Reagan/Scoop Jackson Democrats remain alienated from the party of Truman and JFK.

Maybe the gamble will pay off in the short term; after all, this is an electoral season where dissatisfaction with Republicans is high. But if Democrats want to have a long term political realignment in their favor, they will have to find a way to get the Reagan/Scoop Jackson Democrats to permanently return to their party. Shunning Joe Lieberman won't help accomplish that goal.

Pejman Yousefzadeh is a TCS Daily contributing writer.

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13 Comments

Sen.Joe Lieberman
Years ago Joe had the honor of giving me a US Army hat at The Arlington National Cemetary Memorial Cairn dedication for the Victims of Pan Am Flight #103, but he himself has never served in the army. When I spoke to failed conservative party candidate for Congress Alan Skorski, he said that because of his divorce, Lieberman is not really in the orthodox Jewish community, and does not speak for it, especially on abortion rights. He might not win as an independent, but what does it matter-he has done nothing tangible to punish "Colonel"Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya who ordered the bombing, and until or unless he does, The Nutmeg state's legally enrolled voters shouldn't bother voting for another lawyer who raises taxes and sends Americans to die for Iraq, a country that never had democracy, and is costing the US TaxPayers billions to build when we pay over $60 billion to Israel for their weaponry and their destructive tirades.

Excellent Riddance
Mr. Yousefzadeh makes an excellent case for the unceremonious termination of the services of Joseph Lieberman by Connecticut Democrats. Lieberman is, indeed, the heir to Henry Jackson, and an unctuous merchant of the neocon psychopathology that he shares with Perle, Wolfowitz, Kirkpatrick, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, which has written the US into its current sorry role on the world's stage. The Democrats are long overdue in distinguishing themselves definitively from the authors, actors, and forebears of the Project for a New American Century, and choosing someone over Lieberman to represent them who is not enthralled with the bloody debacle that passes for US foreign policy is definitely a step in the right direction. Mr. Yousefzadeh is to be commended for clarifying Lieberman's political roots and current allegiances, although he is either unaware of or doesn't care to cite the latest polls, showing the Republican Lieberman and the Democrat Lamont in a dead heat at this point. Of course, as the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to improve, as they no doubt will, given their dynamics, and as more and more Republicans openly endorse and support Lieberman, he may pull ahead of Lamont. Or not.

Wow Dude
Take a breath, that's gotta hurt, putting that much vaccuity in that much logorrhea.

"Democrats are long overdue in distinguishing themselves" -Of course thats true, unless the criteria would be something like the following: demoguagery, corruption, patronage, treason, sedition.

Lieberman's only goal
is to be re-elected.

But that is the goal of all politicians.

So, it is up to the voters.

But this shows how the primary process can be taken over by fringe party elements.

Instead, hold a 'primary' election for all candidates from any party. The top two are then voted upon in the secondary election.

Its time for history to repeat itself
The Whigs were replaced by the Republicans on the national scene.

The left wing of the Democratic Party appears to be doing everything it can to see history repeat itself.

the Scoop -- don't ask.
Don't forget Scoop's last act -- forcing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on Clinton. That nurturer of neocons also is responsible for one of the great acts of homophobia in decades. Maybe being like Jackson isn't so good after all.

And are you wingnuts out there upset at all the centerist Republicans who are getting "primaried" this season?

Funny
Those you support would consider it an honor for you to receive used toilet paper from them. I'm sure Sen. Liberman considered himself the one receiving the honor of giving those hats. I just hope he gave the other hats to those who are not filled with hatred.

He is likely to win because Lamont is a poor choice & gives voters nothing for which to vote. No celebration of his victory - only celebration of Liberman's defeat. It seems the left fringe that has taken over the democrat party is wedded inextricably to defeat.

Recipe for Victory? Big Tent?
Not! Leftist statism is goofy. All this claptrap from the left regarding "tolerance" & honest debate has been completely cast off in favor of rigid groupthink. Any member who is not in total goose-step is ostracized & discarded.

Please to continue to marginalize the democrat party by your policy of intellectual cleansing. Either it will cease to exist or some remaining individuals will take it back.

Scoop Jackson And Don't Ask/Don't Tell
Scoop Jackson died in 1983. As such, it is impossible for him to have forced the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy on Clinton.

The rest of your commentary is equally bizarre, I am afraid.

I'm wrong
I'm wrong, confusing Jackson with Sam Nunn.

A Hate-Filled Fringe
Let's see...those who think that a country which did not attack the US, did not ever *threaten* to attack the US, and which had no WMD with *which* to attack the US, did NOT deserve to be invaded and occupied and to suffer the deaths and maiming of tens of thousands of its civilian men, women, and children (Mr. Bush has generously admitted to 35,000 civilians killed), are a "hate-filled fringe." If they are "hate-filled," then what, pray, are the gung-ho warmongering worthies full of who view with equanimity as "stuff happens" the ongoing slaughter of American troops and Iraqis? And if they and the rest of the 2/3 of the American public who think the invasion of Iraq was a grave mistake are a "fringe," then how to refer to the minority of citizens who are leaders and cheerleaders for war and who continue to support the carnage of its execution? I'm not an Orwellian linguist, so please help me with the terminology, here.

speaking of hate filled
1) Iraq was supporting terrorists.
2) Including terrorists who had attacked and killed Americans.
3) Iraq was believed by every intelligence agency on the planet, including the UN, to have WMDs and WMD programs.
4) Since the war, both WMDs and WMD programs have been found. Just in lessor quantities than many intelligence agencies had believed.

Most of the civilians that were killed, were killed by the groups that you support.

1st prize
I have never seen anyone manage to pack so much delusion into such a small space before.

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