The Moose examines the politics of national security.
The 2006 election will largely be about the incompetence of the Bushies. As Dukakis might say, it's about incompetence not ideology.
The problem with the Bushies is that they are giving hawkishness a bad name. The failure to implement a successful post-war strategy and provide sufficient troop levels have had disastrous consequences. And while the Administration has talked tough they have failed to follow through on their rhetorical flourishes. North Korean and Iran are running wild.
If our politics were not so polarized, it is likely that a hawkish critique of the Bush Administration would have emerged both from the Republican and Democratic parties. In the seventies, for instance, Ronald Reagan from the right and Scoop Jackson from the left offered powerful critiques of detente. Today, there is hardly any Jackson faction within the Democratic Party (with the important, notable exception of Joe Lieberman) and the Republicans have circled the wagons around their beleaguered President.
Only hawks are elected President. Democrats should not deceive themselves that the American public will turn left on foreign policy because of the difficulties in Iraq. Even after the disaster in Vietnam, doves did not fare well.
That is why it is so imperative that Joe prevail next Tuesday. His victory will be a powerful rebuke to those who seek to move the party in a more dovish direction. And Joe's victory will both revitalize the dormant Scoop wing and send a powerful message to the '08 wannabees that winning the affections of the nutroots and the activists does not translate into victory in the general election - even in a state as blue as Connecticut. Make no mistake about it - a Lieberman victory would be a massive repudiation of the tin-foil hat, pajama clad, nutroot, bloviating bloggers who would make it impossible for the party ever go to the White House except on a visitor's tour.
If Democrats want to take the big prize in '08, they should be rooting for a Lieberman victory in '06.
(Speaking of Scoop Jackson Democrats, the Moose bids a fond farewell to his colleague Steven Nider who is leaving the Progressive Policy Institute after fifteen years of effectively advocating for a strong national defense.) --