Lamont Beats Lieberman in Round I

Lamont beat Lieberman, but unfortunately we have a Round II to look forward to, which will be an unwanted distraction from the real battle this fall for Democrats to attempt to take control of Congress. Hopefully Lieberman’s support will fall further as a consequence of losing the primary, and Lamont’s support will increase. If this battle continues, it will also provide further ammunition for conservatives. Conservatives will claim this is all about Iraq and a sign that Democrats are out of the mainstream, but a majority now oppose Bush’s policies in Iraq. This is also over far issues beyond Iraq, including party loyalty, toleration for dissent, and separation of church and state.

Conservatives will claim this is a sign that the far left has taken over the party, and Democrats no longer show toleration of the center. This criticism would more appropriately apply to them. Republicans normally approve of contesting centrists candidates–as long as they are Republicans being challenged by conservatives. They approved when Ronald Reagan ran against Gerald Ford, and a moderate Republican Congressman in Michigan faced a similar challenge from the right today. Republicans frequently write off other Republicans as RINO’s, and they are history in the party if they refuse to sign Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes.

They will even continue to raise charges of anti-Semitism as the reason Lieberman is opposed, even though well before the primary a poll of Connecticut Jews found them supporting Lamont over Lieberman by 50% to 41%. I’m in the company of many Jewish bloggers in preferring Lamont over Lieberman including Matt Stoller, Lindsay Beyerstein, Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald, Matthew Yglesias, Max Sawicky, and David Sirota. Josh Marshall has remained neutral with some posts defending Lamont, and Atrios supports Lamont while one side of his family is Jewish.

A Lieberman backer tried to use the anti-Semitism card just before the primary in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately the author provides some examples of liberal anti-Semitism from comments around the liberal blogosphere. While this exists, it is a minority position on the left. There are far more Mel Gibson’s on the right than the left (even if I was surprised by the defense of Mel Gibson which precipitated my departure from my previous blog).

It is notable that such a view was expressed by a Lieberman supporter on the editorial page of such a major publication of the right wing noise machine. Similarly Joe Lieberman announced his plans to run as an independent on Fox News the day before the primary. Real Democrats don’t run as an independent against the winner of the Democratic primary, and generally don’t announce anything on Fox News.

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