Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

August 19, 2003

by V

Lieberman, heading over a cliff

The headline isn't one I would have chosen, but the article is packed with interesting quotes.

Lieberman Rejects Strategy Of Running to the Left (washingtonpost.com)
In appearances before crowds of Democrats looking for sharp attacks on President Bush's tax cuts, trade pacts and foreign policy, Lieberman is sounding a bit like a Republican as he laments the "old" and "outdated" solutions advocated by many Democrats. "It's right out of Karl Rove's playbook," said Dean's spokeswoman, Patricia Enright.

..."It's a bad strategy in a primary where Democratic activists are sort of on a shopping spree for someone who will fight and defend party principles in 2004," said Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Gore-Lieberman in 2000. Brazile is not backing any of the candidates. "Alienating a large segment of the Democratic Party base will not bode well for the future. How do you bring [liberals] back [if] during the primary you made them feel like they were unwanted and unneeded? It's terrible for Joe."

Democratic strategist Joe Lockhart, President Bill Clinton's former spokesman, said it is "not good for the party," either. "I don't think anyone finds it helpful to be painted as an extremist," he said. Lockhart, who is not affiliated with any of the presidential campaigns, said many Democrats he has talked with consider Lieberman's recent string of attacks "over-the-top and counterproductive" to their efforts to oust Bush. "This can be calibrated a little softer," he said.

..."The party has come much further than the DLC gives them credit for," said Elaine C. Kamarck, a former adviser to the Gore-Lieberman campaign who sits on the board of the DLC's main publication, Blueprint magazine. "To attack on a left-right dimension strikes people as a little stale."
Senator Lieberman is going for broke by running against the core of his party; the questions this raises in my mind are: How quickly will this strategy fail? How many party leaders is Joe comfortable having speak out against him? Will he stand up to public rebukes by Gore? (He's already out of sync with Gore's positions as stated in his MoveOn.org speech.) Or by Bill Clinton?

And the biggest question is, of course, how soon will Lieberman drop out? Because he's certainly not going to win the nomination with this strategy.

Personally, I think his 3rd and 4th quarter fundraising numbers will be dismal and his poll numbers will continue to decline, leading to a withdrawal right after he comes in a distant 4th in Iowa (though he could also withdraw in November, when the writing on the wall will already be clear).

Using right-wing talking points about your fellow Democrats is not the way to win an election, let alone the nomination of your own party.

Kerry's use of the 'Gore claimed he invented the Internet' canard may just be a one-time thing; Lieberman has clearly adopted large chunks of the right wing's vocabulary for regular use, and so is much more deserving of scorn.
Posted by V at August 19, 2003 11:31 AM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

In Association with Amazon.com