Kathryn Lopez has a hilarious article in the National Review. I caught it in my local paper, The Capital Times, where it was printed as an op-ed. Riddled with straw men, hyperbole, and plain old panic of Lieberman's loss, the article warns us that if democrats don't turn things around, a far leftwing nutjob will be the nominee in '08. What's funny is the far leftwing nutjob she chooses to scare us with.
Move over, Hillary: Russ Feingold is going to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008.
For far too long the assumption has been that the former first lady would be the Dems' obvious pick. The storyline had dynastic flair, plus the sexy-milestone first-woman-president aspect. It had the wronged-woman-coming-out-on-top Style-section and glossy-headline opportunities. The idea launched many a Clinton-hater (hey, nothing wrong with that, I'm a card-carrier) book. It was scary while it lasted. But the moment's gone.
Enter Sen. Russ Feingold, three-term Democrat from Wisconsin.
He's positioned himself as the anti-war alternative. He's got the advantage of being able to say to anyone disillusioned about Iraq that he was (in his mind) right all along - unlike Johnny-come-latelies like former Democratic vice president nominee John Edwards, who recently apologized for his 2002 Senate vote for the Iraq invasion. And with the recent defeat of Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary, it's Feingold's hour. It's his party, and he can run if he wants to. The red carpet is out.
Holy crap, Russ Feingold! Hide under the table or something.
Maybe this will scare people who have no idea who Russ Feingold is, I don't know. Russ is a boogeyman for the right, because of his call to censure the President for the NSA domestic spying scandal. After all, Bush did break the law. And I think that the average person would agree that, when you break the law, something ought to happen to you. Censure is nothing, really - there's no consequence, other than historical consequence. It's a collective wagging finger. How unreasonable!
Making predictions this far out is pretty much making predictions without any grounding in reality. I say to Lopez the same thing I say to anyone who thinks Hillary's the shoe-in - who predicted Clinton, GW Bush, or Reagan two years before the fact? She quotes an unnamed 'smart Republican Beltwayer':
And it's really no surprise. I was talking about the Democratic 2008 options with a smart Republican Beltwayer, pre-Connecticut, and he saw the 2006 Democratic Party for what it is: "The Democrat base is dominated by the Cossacks, Cindy Sheehan disciples, and Big Labor special interests who are increasingly devoted to a cause-oriented political jihad against what they view as a Democrat establishment. Their disagreement with the establishment is born out of their belief that: moderation is akin to treason toward the liberal doctrine; support for the war in Iraq is the political equivalent of having '666' marked on your skull. You're either with them or against them."
Anyone else suspect that SRB's initials are KL? Who actually talks like that off the cuff? She goes on (emphasis mine).
It's a depressing reality, especially if you support our effort in Iraq - that one of our two leading parties might well ostracize anyone who continues to support that effort. But that's exactly what Lieberman's loss - and national left-wing celebration of it - suggests. It's a free country, and you can oppose the war if you want to, of course. But a party with no disagreement is the kind of party where the guests you want sticking around are going to leave early, or not show at all.
"Pot, have you met kettle?" The GOP was a rubber stamp, robot clone army before Iraq started to be a drag on their poll numbers - I literally laughed out loud when I read that. And this GOP electoral talking point - that only the far left want out of Iraq - is so completely out of touch that you have to wonder whether these people live on the same planet. Take it from someone who lives there, this BS isn't going to play in the heartland. And dems own the coasts.
Lopez has a way out of this distopian future of a warless nation.
Of course, if you're a Democrat reading this who doesn't like that, it is only August 2006, and there is time. Perhaps the Lieberman loss was just the cup of Joe the party needed - an opportunity for the mainstream adults to take the party back from the fringe. But if you're a Democrat, you are in denial if you think Connecticut was an exception rather than the rule. On primary night, Ned Lamont, the challenger, stood at his victory podium, screeching right next to his party leaders, who were right up there with him: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, abortion lobby chief Kim Gandy, and Rep. Maxine Waters ("Mad Max").
She might want to tweak that last sentence a bit. It kind of looks like she's freaked out that Lamont was backed by prominent black people. And she left out another Lamont supporter - Michael Schiavo. In his Daily Kos diary, Schiavo wrote:
According to press reports, Lieberman said, "It's time for politicians to let Terri Schiavo rest in peace."
Mr. Lieberman, where was your sense of compassion for Terri last year when you went on "Meet the Press" to say politicians should get involved?
Mr. Lieberman, you, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Marilyn Musgrave and other right-wing politicians thought Terri was a prime political issue then.
Mr. Lieberman, I must have missed your passionate speech on the Senate floor about how this issue, this case, my family was not a cause for politicians. I missed it, Senator, because you never gave such a speech.
When it came time to count hands and be heard, Mr. Lieberman, you threw in with Bill Frist and George Bush.
And now that you're in a fight for your political future and down in the polls you want politicians to "let Terri rest in peace."
I'll bet you do, Mr. Lieberman.
I'm sorry, Lieberman was one of the circus of idiots outside Terri Schiavo's hospice and who's the kook? Lopez goes back to SRB again:
Says my previously cited Hill guy, of Feingold: "He is Dean 2004 without the delicate psyche. ... Feingold, like Dean, was 'anti-war before it was cool to be anti-war,' as Dean once declared about himself. He's got the anti-corporate credentials, the enviro-radicals, the pseudo-reformers, the Labor Luddites just sitting out there ripe for Feingold and the grass-roots lasso he's sure to throw."
He continues: "The first sub-primary of the Democratic field will be the contest for title of 'outsider' or 'maverick' who will take on the establishment. Feingold will be that guy. Dean self-destructed in 48 hours because he never built the bricks and mortar required in Iowa and New Hampshire, instead relying on buzz. If Feingold marshals the kooky left the way I think he will, he will take the field by surprise."
Spoken like someone who's never seen a Feingold campaign. Not that it matters. It's not the real Russ Feingold that Lopez is trying to scare us with. It's a straw man she's slapped a 'Hi, my name is : Russ
Personally, I'd be damned happy with a Feingold campaign and even happier with a Feingold presidency. But the truth is that you'd have to be crazy to call anything two years out. But if it is Russ and this is the sort of smear campaign they want to run against him, I can tell you it isn't going to stick. He may be measured and reasonable, but he doesn't suffer fools gladly. People who use deception tend to be reduced to sweating, quivering masses of flesh behind the podium.
Of course, this article wasn't meant for anyone other than a Connecticut audience. It was only published here because Feingold's a Wisconsin Senator. Lamont may have won the primary, but among all CT voters, he and Lieberman are in a statistical dead heat - 41% to 46% respectively.
But Lieberman has no party (not officially anyway) behind him and is in real danger of running out of steam as he runs out of money. It's clear that the GOP want Lieberman. Their own candidate, Alan Schlesinger, is a no show at 9% and their situation nationally is so dire that a pro-Bush democrat win counts as a victory.
The republicans can't really give Lieberman money or support (even the White House won't back Schlesinger, but won't endorse Lieberman either). So the best they can do from their position is to send snipers to shoot straw men wearing Feingold stickers.