Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hertzberg/New Yorker: Why Joe is having such a tough time

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town: "Why, you may ask, is Joseph Lieberman having such a tough time with the simple task of getting himself renominated for the Senate seat he has held for the past seventeen years? Theories abound. One of them, popular on the right, is that Senator Lieberman is the victim of what David Brooks, in the Times, calls “a liberal inquisition.” Another, popular on the left, is that Lieberman is not a “real Democrat” but, rather, a species of Republican—a “Republican-lite,” a “Bush-Cheney Republican,” an “in-the-pocket Bush man,” to quote some recent online epithets. A third, current across the ideological spectrum, is that Lieberman’s trouble is based on a single issue: his unremitting support for the Iraq War.

These theories are not mutually exclusive, and they contain, respectively, a grain, a kernel, and a boulder of truth, but they all fall short. If what we have here is an inquisition (not the mot juste, perhaps, to describe a primary), then the only heretic who has anything to worry about is named Joe. Lieberman’s views are broadly similar to those of such colleagues as Diane Feinstein and Ben Nelson, and nobody’s trying to burn them at the stake. As for Lieberman’s party credentials, they seem to be in reasonably good order. He is a three-term Democratic senator from a state, Connecticut, that’s as blue as a state can be while still being the spawning ground of the Bush dynasty; six years ago, he was the Democratic Party’s nominee for Vice-President, an unusual honor for a fake Democrat; he has the support of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., naral, and the League of Conservation Voters. The third theory comes closest to being a sufficient explanation, for without the war Lieberman would not be facing a primary challenge at all, let alone a strong one. Yet not even his opinions on Iraq can fully account for the special vehemence of the opposition to him."


Post a Comment

<< Home