Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Smug Incumbents: Are Your Eyes on Connecticut?

I expect to be obsessive-compulsive about the Lieberman / Lamont battle for the duration. Chris Matthews is in Connecticut for the day. He just said that all the incumbents, Hillary Clinton, etc. are "shaking in their boots." Heh. I wish I had that graphic!

In Matthews' view, today's Lieberman / Lamont battle is a bigger deal than the November election. Cuz if Joe loses, anybody could lose. Well, yeah.

Over at the WSJ, Jeanne Cummings observes that "An anti-incumbent mood is striking hardest against politicians aligned with the president, regardless of their party." And many moderate Republicans rely on Democratic and Independent votes, which will probably not be forthcoming this year.

Regardless of the outcome of Lieberman's plight, I'm calling it a victory for democracy when an 18-year incumbent is actually forced to fight tooth and nail to hold onto a senate seat that he has long taken for granted.

When incumbents easily win 83 percent of the time, we are not talking about a democracy!

But back to Loserman's plight.

E. J. Dionne writes in today's WaPo about the competing interpretations of Lieberman's battle. Dionne takes on the absurd claim that Lieberman's woes are all the fault of lefty bloggers. (kos has an excellent post on the subject. Dan Balz also addresses the absurdity.)

Dionne also gives us a taste of the crazed rightwing interpretation with a quote by PNAC-er Billy Kristol: "What drives so many Democrats crazy about Lieberman is not simply his support for the Iraq war. It's that he's unashamedly pro-American."

Sheesh. How, or why, do you even respond to such simplistic grade-school accusations?

But Dionne's best line is the lesson all incumbents -- regardless of party -- need to learn from today's historic battle in Connecticut:

"[If] Lieberman miraculously survives, it will be because he finally realized that the last thing an incumbent wants to be this year is George Bush's best friend and enabler."

Even if Lieberman survives, formerly safe and smug incumbents everywhere are suddenly on notice. It could happen to them.

That's how democracy is supposed to work. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually had a functioning democracy?

You can do your part for democracy by helping Lamont over at Moveon.org.

Update: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds: "Eighty-one percent of Democrats say the war was not worth fighting, and 70 percent feel that way 'strongly.'" Joe, you are screwed.