August 8, 2006 by lonbud
When The Levee Breaks
The first crack in the neoconservative facade appeared tonight just after 11:00pm Eastern time, when Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman conceded his state’s Democratic primary to millionaire challenger Ned Lamont. Just three months ago polls showed the three-time incumbent senator held a commanding lead over his little-known opponent. With but three months before this year’s mid-term elections, conservatives everywhere must be feeling less secure than they have in quite some time.
Political pundits will undoubtedly paint Mr. Lamont’s stunning victory as one of an “antiwar” candidate over the “pro-war” senator, who stood resolutely by President George W. Bush from the outset of the so-called War on Terror, through its unraveling, and despite the exposure of its mismanagement and ineffective prosecution. The result of the Connecticut primary will be touted as a proxy for every race in which a “pro-war” incumbent stands for re-election in November.
But such a view is both short-sighted and poor strategy for achieving any real change in the status quo come next January.
At this writing, Senator Lieberman has promised to make good on his quixotic threat to remain in the race, running as an Independent in the November general election against Mr. Lamont and the Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger. The Democratic party faces a difficult test of its unity with competing calls to rally around the “people’s choice” in Mr. Lamont, and to find a graceful exit for Mr. Lieberman, the party’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2000 and a candidate for President in 2004.
The best way for Mr. Lamont — and for any Democrat challenging the neoconservative stranglehold on political power — to ensure victory come November lies not in a simplistic adoption of an “anti-war” platform. Rather, the gross mismanagement, craven corruption, and remorseless mendacity of the Bush administration and its supporters must be the focus of the debate.
Mr. Lamont and his fellow Democrats nationwide have to begin to articulate strategies for effective, alternative solutions to not only the rapidly devolving chaos in the Middle East, but also to people’s real concerns about social security, health care, education, and immigration. It’s not going to be enough to say “I’m anti-war,” especially in the light of many Democrats’ “pro-war” leanings.
Democrats need to show how the neoconservative approach to war and to the allocation of our national resources harms our long-term security interests and decreases the prospects for our collective prosperity.
Republicans have handed them a grand opportunity through years of widespread corruption and glaring incompetence with control of both the Executive and Legislative branches of government, but little will change unless Democrats like Mr. Lamont can explain why and how they will be any better at the task.