I am hardly surprised to learn that newly-reelected Senator Joe Lieberman has announced that he will caucus with the Democrats, and considers himself a “Democratic Independent”. Lieberman, after all, was the Democrat’s choice for their VP nomination in 2000, and his voting record is clearly left-of-center. There was frankly never a real chance that Lieberman would become a Republican. That said, the Democrats have a real problem, or at least the Harry Reid “Run Away” Military Strategy Team has one, with Joe Lieberman and some other Senators like him.
The Democrats wanted this election to be about George Bush, but whenever they played that card, they lost ground in the polls, and so the election became about the War in Iraq, an indirect attack on the man with whom Democrats are obsessed well past the point of compulsion. Early in 2006, Joe Lieberman made a statement which basically said that while he disagreed with how we got there, the United States must meet its commitment to Iraq, and that President Bush should given a measure of support for trying to stabilize the country. That statement alone cost him the support of the Democrats’ leadership, and led to his primary defeat by Ned Lamont. Lieberman never became a Conservative or a Republican, but his position cut a line between him and the extremist Democrats. That would have mattered not a bit to the Far-Left Democrats, but for one thing: They needed the “centrist” and “moderate” image in order to take over Congress. The 2006 version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” became ”don’t let folks know for sure where you stand on the war”. And it worked, but with a price – there are now a number of Democrats who honestly believe the United States must stay in Iraq and finish the job, and many more who essentially promised their constituents that they were not going to cut and run. These Democrats understand that they cannot vote for a bug-out or anything like it, or they will pay in 2008. The Democrats took Congress all right, but they only have a 2-seat majority in the Senate and a lot of Democrats won House races by tight margins – if the Republicans could lose both chambers of Congress because they were seen as not listening to the people on Iraq, then certainly the Democrats can lose their thin majorities if they prove to have lied to the people. It is a mistake to believe that mistrust of the Republicans is a mandate for the Democrats; what exists now is a sort of ‘wait & see’ condition. If Pelosi thinks she can shove Leftist legislation onto people who were promised moderation, or if she thinks abandoning the military will result in anything but disaster, she will lose control of her party, as self-preservation instincts will kick in among those who come from Red states or places with a lot of soldiers’ hometowns (hint – the number of states which do not fit #1 or #2 is a small number), and chaos is a poor condition for campaigns. At some point, Republicans will find numerous chances to appear reasonable and appeal to common people on the most important issues, which for some reason the Democrats have as yet shown no interest in addressing.
The Democrats find themselves looking at two directions – they can protect their majority only by turning their back on their extremists, and they can only pander to their most violent sector by taking a course which is overwhelmingly likely to fracture their party and cost them control of Congress in a short matter of time. It may prove to be to the nation’s great relief that Senator Joe Lieberman, Independent Democrat, has forced them to look honestly at this condition.