Searching for the fountain of Democratic moderation

George Will on Joe Liberman’s prospects. Will gets to the heart of the matter earlier in the column when he surmises that, because Lieberman “panders less, having a long record of centrism at the national level,” he may have an “insurmountable problem.” However, Will sketches a scenario in which he thinks Lieberman might succeed — one in which Dean knocks out Kerry and Gephardt in New Hampshire and Iowa, leaving Lieberman to confront him in supposedly more moderate venues, such as South Carolina, Delaware, and New Mexico.
I’m no expert on how geographic distinctions affect the thinking of Democrats. Permit me, though, to be skeptical of the notion that any state in which only Democrats vote is a moderate venue. Since when did New Hampshire and Iowa become bastions of radicalism? These two states are moderate when the entire electorate votes and hard-left when just Democrats vote. The second part of the preceding sentence is true, I suspect, pretty much across-the-board. Analysts might say this is because of the African-American vote in the south; the prairie populist tradition in the midwest; and so forth. Just as likely it is because the Democratic party has driven away the moderates who used to give it balance. In any event, I agree with George Will’s initial hypothesis — Joe Lieberman has an insurmountable problem.


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