“Dead With Ned”

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Mincing no words, Jacob Weisberg in Slate opines that, contra all the triumphal Kos crowing, Ned Lamont’s victory in the Connecticut senatorial primary bodes very ill for the Dems:

This is a signal event that will have a huge and lasting negative impact on the Democratic Party. The result suggests that instead of capitalizing on the massive failures of the Bush administration, Democrats are poised to re-enact a version of the Vietnam-era drama that helped them lose five out six presidential elections between 1968 and the end of the Cold War. […]

The election was about one issue and one issue only: the war in Iraq. [ … ]

Lieberman’s opponents are not entirely wrong about the war. The invasion of Iraq was, in ways that have since become hard to dispute, a terrible mistake. [ … ] The problem for the Democrats is that the anti-Lieberman insurgents go far beyond simply opposing Bush’s faulty rationale for the war, his dishonest argumentation for it, and his incompetent execution of it. Many of them appear not to take the wider, global battle against Islamic fanaticism seriously. They see Iraq purely as a symptom of a cynical and politicized right-wing response to Sept. 11, as opposed to a tragic misstep in a bigger conflict. Substantively, this view indicates a fundamental misapprehension of the problem of terrorism. Politically, it points the way to perpetual Democratic defeat.

Say it, brother. Read it, guys. Weisberg runs through the remarkable parallels to the Vietnam era (right down to the presence of Lamont’s great-uncle Corliss as a supporter of George McGovern), and concludes:

Whether Democrats can avoid playing their Vietnam video to the end depends on their ability to project military and diplomatic toughness in place of the elitism and anti-war purity represented in 2004 by Howard Dean and now by Ned Lamont.

The day after the airplane terror plot was foiled, a Connecticut friend of mine who voted for Lamont said to me plaintively, “They [the Bushies] are so lucky!” Meaning that real-world events keep oh-so-conveniently playing into their political hands. It’s the emotional logic that, one step further along, fuels the conspiracy theories: somehow Bush and Blair must have orchestrated the timing of this terror bust to smack down the surging peace movement. Alas, this is the worst kind of wishful thinking. The threat is real. The Republicans aren’t manufacturing it, they’re capitalizing on it because the majority of American voters have the good sense to recognize that we are at war. The only way for Democrats to win national elections is to vow to win the war by fighting it smarter, better, and wiser. The war cannot be wished away.

UPDATE: OMG, I hadn’t read Cicero’s post, below, until after I wrote this one. Case . . . In . . . Point.

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