The shell game

Things seem a bit curious these days over at the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton is re-positioning herself towards the center to the general acclaim of her party. Meanwhile, though, the party’s dominant left-wing attacks Joe Lieberman, the Democrat who most prominently occupies the ground toward which Hillary purports to be moving. This despite the fact that Lieberman remains a fairly reliable liberal voter (yesterday, for example, he voted against new oil exploration in Alaska). It now looks like Lieberman may well face a challenge in the 2006 Democratic primary. Perhaps the Democrats think Hillary will look more like a centrist if the true party centrists are purged.
In 2004, the Democrats’ idea of a good strategy was to take the Senate’s most liberal member and cast him as the moderate alternative to Howard Dean. Now they consider it shrewd to take the party’s major left-wing lightning rod and cast her as a centrist. But who is to say it won’t work? Clinton is less implausible in the role than Kerry was. And even Kerry might have won if the economy had been one year slower to turn around.

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