Ned Lamont enters stage left

One of our good friends writes:

The MSM is already playing the Lamont win as a surge for the anti-war movement. In fact, in my judgment, it is good news for the President and Republicans generally.

There is one way in which it is bad news: It confirms the rising power of the pacifist (or, to my way of thinking, anti-American) component of the Democratic Party. In the long run, this is ominous. The country would be safer if both of its parties thought that aggressively defending it was a good idea. That the predominant thinking in one of the parties holds otherwise augers poorly for the rest of us.

In all other relevant ways, however, the Lamont win is a good thing. First, it shows that opposition to the war is NOT the overall dominant issue the Left would like it to be. Even among Democratic primary voters in a very blue state, the anti-war candidate could garner only 51.8% of the vote. The rest of the American electorate, however, is not in Connecticut, nor does it think like Democratic primary voters. What is actually surprising about the result is how weak the anti-war vote was in a decidedly Left-leaning venue.

Second, Lieberman is likely — quite likely, as I see it — to win the seat in November. I expect he’ll get between a third to about 40 percent of the normally Democratic vote, plus at least 80 percent of the Republican vote (since, for one thing, the Republican candidate is uniformly regarded as having no chance to win, and Republicans have great and justified respect for Lieberman). Eighty percent of the Republican vote in Connecticut is not an inconsiderable thing; Bush got 44 percent against Kerry two years ago. For Lamont, it’s all downhill from here.

Third, when Lieberman wins, he will, obviously, be even less beholden to the Democratic party line than he has been up to now. Yes, he’ll caucus with them, but how much will he really think he owes to the Party that tossed him overboard?

If I am right about this, the real political message to the Democratic Party will turn out to be that McGovernism means now what it meant 34 years ago, namely, defeat. If the Democrats get it, that’s a good thing; their enthusiasm for Michael Moore, Jacques Chirac, et al., will be diminished. If they don’t, that’s a good thing too; there will be more Republican office holders.

Taking up our friend’s last point, the country has obviously changed substantially since George McGovern was trounced by Richard Nixon in 1972. I think that a slightly camouflaged McGovernite Democrat — a Democrat like John Kerry — would do at least as well in 2008 as Kerry did in 2004. Which is too close to winning for taking cold comfort in the success of the likes of Ned Lamont.

UPDATE: John McIntyre, however, takes up our friend’s point: “Dems move closer to McGovern’s losing formula.”

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