First, let me say that as a resident of the District of Columbia I have no senator at all, nor a voting representative in the House, but I do understand how upset some Democrats must be that Scott Brown is the Senator-elect in Massachusetts. But the big loser yesterday wasn’t his opponent Martha Coakley, President Obama or even the Democratic Party.
It was Joe Lieberman. He and the right-most of the Democratic senators, but mostly Lieberman on his “Independent Democrat” raft. My thought — not original, I’ll confess — is that the Democratic party is so broad as to be unmanageable. With a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, a Democratic majority in the House and Democratic president, no sane Republican would consent in substantive policy issues that had any chance of failing or alienating the rest of the caucus. With sixty votes to prevent a filibuster, every Democrat (or ersatz Democrat) counts, but the most unreasonable wield a disproportional power that seems more harmful to me than negotiating with an opposing minority. And now they must do that, and so Lieberman et alia lose.
The times, fate and the legendary Democratic circular firing squad set the stage for a Republican revival in 2012 if not before. At least that’s one theory. Though the large national party that seems in worse shape than the Democrats are the Republicans, so I wouldn’t place bets yet.
Still, when Democrats act like second-string Republicans, the process goes all the faster. I’m still fuming about the bank bailout, the escalation in Afghanistan and the Fierce Advocate’s AWOL defense of the gays. So a thought: would I, had I lived in Massachusetts, have voted for Coakley? Perhaps. Given her money? No. Support her again? Never. Liberal Democrats have nothing to gain by the current cycle, so perversely may be accounted among the winners last night, from the liberating energy and blame deflection we earn. Whether it proves a Phyrric victory remains to be seen.