Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Lieberman Tells Us About Center-Right "Repudiation"

Jamie Kirchick's got an awesome piece today on the failure of the Netroots to destroy Joseph Lieberman's tenure in the Democratic Senate caucus. The whole essay is a marvel, but I particularly like the concluding section, which throws cold water on all the leftist claims that America as a "center-right" nation has been repudiated:

In the wake of Obama's historic victory - he is the first Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter and has seemingly reconfigured the electoral map by picking up states that Bush won just four years ago - many liberals have been quick to claim that the Democratic triumph means that we're now living in a liberal country.

They should take a deep breath before reaching such conclusions. Only 22% of voters this year consider themselves "liberal" while 34% call themselves "conservative," numbers roughly unchanged from four years ago. And as Doug Schoen pointed out in this space, it was moderates, not liberals, who played the decisive role in electing Barack Obama President. Obama knows this, which is why he has repudiated the Netroots time and time again, on issues ranging from Iraq withdrawal to FISA reform. Equally important, he rejected the hyperventilating wing of the party tonally, as evidenced by the calm and systematic way he ran his campaign.

The week before Tuesday's meeting, Obama let it be known that he bore "no grudge" against Lieberman. Setting a positive tone so early after a hard-fought election, he is already making good on his promise to, if not end, then at least lessen the "petty partisanship" he decried in the campaign. Among the positive outcomes of this week's abject lesson in letting bygones be bygones, it is reassuring to see that the leadership of the Democratic Party isn't as petty, vindictive and small as its left-wing supporters.
Maybe Dave "Pseudo-Fascism" Neiwert will get the memo?