Friday, November 10, 2006

Krauthammer on Lieberman

Charles Krauthammer attempts to understate the relevance of this week's election, perhaps unaware of the implication of his own claims:
The Republicans had control but by very small majorities. In 2000 the presidential election was settled by a ridiculously small margin. And the Senate ended up deadlocked 50-50. All the changes since then have been minor. Until now.

* * *

The result is that both parties have moved to the right. The Republicans have shed the last vestiges of their centrist past, the Rockefeller Republicans. And the Democrats have widened their tent to bring in a new crop of blue-dog conservatives.
Unless he presupposes that the center has shifted along with the Republican party, assuming Krauthammer correct, a nation that was formerly split about 50:50 will continue to vote with a belief set that is now better aligned with the Democratic Party. This inference is also manifest in Krauthammer's claims about Joe Lieberman:
To muddy even more the supposed ideological significance of this election, consider who is the biggest winner of the night: Joe Lieberman. Just a few months ago he was scorned by his party and left for dead. Now he returns to the Senate as the Democrats' 51st seat -- and holder of the balance of power.
The same, of course, can be said for any senator among the 51 who comprise the Democratic majority. Lieberman's not even the only independent who will caucus with the Democrats. Apparently, among the 51, Krauthammer believes Lieberman to have the least loyalty to the Democratic Party and the greatest desire to demand tribute for his fickle commitment - is that truly what he believes? Further,
Lieberman won with a platform that did not trim or hedge about seeking victory in Iraq. And he did it despite having a Republican in the race who siphoned off 10 percent of the pro-war vote. All this in Connecticut, a very blue state.
Sure. And in a "red" state the Republican might have even been backed by his own party, which skews the significance of the outcome. But let's play it Krauthammer's way.

In 2000, Lieberman won reelection 63 - 34 against his Republican opponent. If it is reasonable to infer that the overwhelming majority of the 24% of Connecticut residents who did not vote Republican in 2006 chose Lieberman over Lamont, then almost half of the voters who chose Lieberman were Republican. If in fact, as he suggests, Lieberman is the big winner, Krauthammer should perhaps be acknowledging that a Democratic Party that shifts slightly to the right could dominate a Republican Party that has shifted even further to the Right.

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