Like Joe Lieberman’s successful reelection bid in 2006, extreme elements within the Democratic Party are promoting a primary challenger against incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Lieberman was not sufficiently anti-war for the Moveon.org types, and so cable gazillionaire Ned Lamont received the party’s blessing to represent the Dems in November. Lamont, who announced a gubernatorial bid a few weeks ago, may have been lacking in a great many necessary qualities, but he was against the war, a quality which seemingly trumped all else. Lieberman ran as an independent and won. Despite the party’s disloyalty, the Democrats managed to save the seat in reality, because Lieberman continues to caucus with the party. In conservative Arkansas, dividing the party in this manner is not such a safe gamble.
In recent years, Republican RINOism (Republican In Name Only) has served to alienate a growing portion of moderates who might otherwise vote for the GOP. By continually forcing the Republican Party’s ideology to the right, the party’s appeal has therefore narrowed to the point where it is in danger of becoming what its critics have long claimed it to be: a club for old white guys. Even after shattering defeats in 2006 and 2008, it is not entirely clear that the Republicans have abandoned this unfortunate form of self-sabotage.
Yes, But He's Against The War
In contrast, the Democrats have become increasingly confident in recent years. With a cocktail of grass-roots fundamentalism, limousine liberal money and increasing party discipline, the Democrats were seemingly shedding their long-standing (and to no small degree deserved) reputation as the fraternity of do-gooding also-rans. Of Democratic presidents in the second half of the 20th Century, only the empathetic lip-biter, Bill Clinton served two terms (so hold your horses, LBJ apologists–while the legendarily endowed Texan did serve parts of two terms after Kennedy’s assassination in late 1963, he was only elected President once in 1964, stomping arch-conservative Barry Goldwater). Jimmy Carter, the Dem’s other surviving ex-president, is a symbol of the benign impotence of the Democratic Party for much of the second half of the 20th Century.
But with the Clinton Bump in the 90’s, the Democratic takeover of the legislature in 2006 and finally, Obama’s masterful victory over John McCain, it appeared that the Democratic Party had found itself at last after so long in the wilderness, consigning the GOP to bumble its way into obsolescence. The poisonous combination of arrogance and a leadership out of touch with contemporary America led the Republicans to what promised to be their Waterloo in 2008. There was an outpouring hand wringing and gnashing of teeth from GOP loyalists in the days following Obama’s victory, while the Democrats made no attempt to contain their glee. Both sides were heralding the same event: the ugly death of the Republican Party.
This may have been premature. That the Republican Party has not only survived, but is perhaps ascendant, is creditable less to the GOP than to the Democrats themselves. Failing to learn from the opposition’s mistakes, the Democratic Party has ceded authority to a fringe minority, one which shows every evidence of being as crass and autocratic as were the Republicans who preceded it. Despite the very clear will of the people, the Democrats persist in pushing through a big government agenda that Americans fear will fundamentally change the character and nature of the nation, and doom America to generations of economic serfdom.
Unless wiser heads within the party prevail–an outcome by no means certain, 2010 will be a very bad year for the Democrats.