Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Two cogent analyses of

why Lieberman is fighting for his Senate seat harder than the JV bowling squad trying to get a beer at a varsity football kegger:

Duncan Black, a/k/a Atrios, a/k/a the Sweaty Lunk, in this morning's Los Angeles Times:

The war is certainly a reason — and given how events continue to devolve in Iraq, a perfectly sufficient one — but those who focus only on that miss the broader opposition to Lieberman and the kind of politics he represents.

For too long he has defined his image by distancing himself from other Democrats, cozying up to right-wing media figures and, at key moments, directing his criticisms at members of his own party instead of at the Republicans in power.

Late last year, after President Bush's job approval ratings hit record lows, Lieberman decided to lash out at the administration's critics, writing in the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages that "we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." In this he echoed the most toxic of Republican talking points — that criticizing the conduct of the war is actually damaging to national security.


And Hendrik Hertzberg, in this week's New Yorker:

Lieberman’s seat was up that year, and he decided to run simultaneously for senator and Vice-President. Lyndon Johnson had taken out a similar insurance policy forty years earlier, but there was a difference. The governor of Texas in 1960 was a Democrat, so when Johnson resigned his Senate seat after the election a Democrat was appointed to replace him. The governor of Connecticut in 2000 was a Republican. If Lieberman had made way for the state’s popular Democratic attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who would have won easily, and if the Supreme Court had allowed Gore to take office, then the new Senate would have split 50-50, with Vice-President Lieberman breaking the tie in favor of the Democrats. But, by insisting on having it both ways, Lieberman single-handedly guaranteed that the new Senate would be Republican—either by a 51-49 margin under a Gore Administration or (as it turned out) by the tie-breaking vote of Vice-President Dick Cheney. This was more than just routine political expediency. It was what was known that year as a character issue.