FERMENT AMONG THE DEMOCRATS
The triumphant supporters of Ned Lamont, including the Daily Kos and Arianna Huffington, somehow seem to forget that he has only won the Democratic Primary. As Senator McGovern proved in 1972, one can win a Democratic Party nomination supported by the left-wing Party base, and still lose in a landslide in the general election. Right now, polls show that incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman, now running as an independent, has a big lead over Lamont.
With that in mind, we present the following guest column from Paul Kujawsky, the former President and currently the Vice President of Democrats for Israel, and a member of the California Democratic Central Committee. Please note that the views expressed are Paul's own, not those of the Hedgehog Blog. The Kosher Hedgehog, who still maintains his Democratic Party registration in respectful memory of his parents, FDR, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy and Henry "Scoop Jackson," has been voting Republican since the 2000 Presidential Election.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEEDS ANGRY LIEBERMANIACS
By Paul Kujawsky
Joe Lieberman is a politician with a notoriously sunny disposition. But Jewish Democrats (and former Democrats) who support Lieberman’s sort of politics can best help their party and their country by getting mad.
Joe Lieberman, a sensible liberal throughout his political career, was about the best the Democratic Party had on offer. He was thrown over in the Democratic primary by a rich novice who ran on a single issue: the Iraq war. Lieberman supported President Bush because he agreed that Saddam Hussein was evil, that Islamism poses a threat to this country, that our long-term security depends on liberal democracy taking root in the Muslim world, and that retreat will embolden our enemies—genuinely liberal positions. For this, the left wing of the party declared war. They’ve won this round.
Many Jewish Democrats are wondering, If there’s no room in the Democratic Party for Joe Lieberman, what am I doing here? The Republican Jewish Coalition is ready with its answer. It has launched a nation-wide ad campaign that argues, "What was once the radical Left—with its antipathy toward Israel, its indifference to anti-Semitism, and its desire to appease terrorists instead of fighting them—is now emerging as part of the mainstream in the Democratic Party." It’s designed to make Jewish Democrats ask, "Is this the political party I want to be part of?"
The answer remains yes. Don’t give up.
True, one is inclined to grieve over the state of the Democratic Party. The five stages of grief one is supposed to pass through are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Certainly, some Jews are in Denial, at least publicly, about the disheartening state of the Democratic Party. But that won’t do—you can’t fix a problem you won’t own up to.
My recommendation is that people who support Lieberman-style politics and are upset that he lost—call them Liebermaniacs—get stuck in the stages of Anger and Bargaining, and put them to good use.
The leftiest activists are defining the Democratic Party, but they are not actually the weight of the party. Opinion polls consistently indicate that about twice as many registered Democrats consider themselves "moderate," as opposed to "liberal."
These centrists have to get Angry, and become activists themselves. In every race, find the most reasonable candidate and sign up for his or her campaign. Give money and give time. Let politicians know that Democrats demand genuine liberalism, not illiberal leftism. Join Democratic Party clubs, caucuses, committees—be part of the grassroots.
Then start Bargaining. Don’t let the left wing rule the party unopposed. Make demands, submit resolutions, raise objections, engage in debate, and initiate some changes.
The alternative is Depression over the current state of the Democratic Party, and Acceptance of the notion that it can’t change, and switching to the Republican Party.
But giving up on the Democratic Party is inadmissible, for a simple reason: in a country with a two-party system, it’s dangerous if one party completely loses its mind. We must not let that happen.
It’s possible that the Democratic Party has reached a point of no return for Jews who support Israel and see its struggle in the context of the global war against Islamism. But I prefer to see a pendulum, preparing to swing back. It depends on us.