I was happy to learn that Joe Lieberman lost the Connecticut Democratic primary, and that Democratic leaders are closing ranks around the victor, Ned Lamont. It wasn't just that Lieberman supported the Iraq war--he also contributed to a climate in which dissent was deemed to be disloyal, and in which opposition to fighting in Iraq was tantamount to opposition to fighting anywhere. I also grew tired of his moral preening, his self-righteousness which is so prominently on display in his stubborn bid to run as an independent.
And yet I also share Jacob Weisberg's concerns that Lieberman's loss is a signal that the Democratic Party is taking a sharp left turn on national security:
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. ...
The party's Vietnam-era drift away from issues of security and defense—and its association with a radical left hostile to the military and neutral in the fight between liberalism and communism—helped push a lot of Americans who didn't much like the Vietnam War into the arms of Richard Nixon.
Well, OK, so I too happen to see Iraq as a symptom of a cynical and polticized response to Sept. 11. But I also think it's a big problem that Democrats is continue to lack a coherent national security strategy, and that too many of their standard-bearers seem overly reluctant to exercise American military power under any circumstances. One of the reasons John Kerry lost to George W. Bush is that many Americans decided they'd rather have a president too quick to use force than one who is too slow. Until Democrats erase that perception, it may be quite some time before Americans trust them with the presidency, Iraq or no Iraq.