For those of us who live in New Hampshire, the presidential primaries are a bit more interesting than in some other states. We tend to get a close look at the candidates before they get too big and end up stage-managed and controlled by their campaign’s machinery. In fact, there’s an apocryphal story of one New Hampshire voter being asked her opinion of one candidate: “I don’t know; I’ve only met him three times.”
Back in 2000, I recall being remarkably underwhelmed by the candidates seeking my vote. I was a registered independent at the time, and with New Hampshire’s open primary structure, I could walk in to the polling station, ask for either ballot, cast it, and then re-declare my independence. (I forgot to do so, meaning I spent the next five years as a registered Democrat, but that’s another story.)
As the primary drew nearer, I started paying a bit more attention to the race. My intention was to see which party had the more competitive race, then vote for the candidate that I found the most appealing. And as Bill Clinton couldn’t run again, it was pretty much open on both sides.
The Republican race quickly boiled down to George W. Bush and John McCain. I wasn’t that impressed with Bush — he seemed to have no real plans or ideas, and I got the impression he was running just because that’s what his father had done, and it was his family obligation. McCain struck me as decent and honorable, so I favored him.
The Democratic race was far more interesting, however. Gore was Clinton’s heir apparent, and I’d almost liked him when he ran in 1988. But I felt he’d “sold out” to the Clinton smarminess and corruption, tossing aside the things I’d respected. I ended up voting for Bill Bradley, but even as I did so I knew it was a wasted vote — Gore had it in the bag.
Then, when the actual election came about, I remember looking at the two candidates and shaking my head. My choices were between two candidates I had weighed months ago — and found wanting.
Ironically, though, both men had picked vice presidents that I respected considerably more than themselves. Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, to me, brought a certain maturity, integrity, and competence to the tickets. I found myself wishing we could just dump both Bush and Gore, and let Cheney and Lieberman run the country.
That was November, 2000. After the election that eventually put Bush in the Oval Office, I still wasn’t impressed. He seemed to be a “caretaker” president, with no real agenda or plan or vision, just a general notion to “restore dignity” to the Oval Office (which desperately needed it, after eight years of Bill Clinton treating the White House as his private bordello). I shrugged, figured he’d at least not do too much damage until the next election.
Then September 11, 2001 arrived, and the world changed.
In the years since, my opinions of the four men who were on my ballot in 2000 has evolved. Bush found the purpose and cause of his administration, and rose to the challenge admirably. Cheney has proven to be an able and capable vice-president. And Lieberman has shown the integrity and character I discerned back then.
Al Gore, unfortunately, has grown into a full-blown moonbat.
And it is that moonbat element — the ones that used to be tagged as “the lunatic fringe” — that is fighting — and winning — for control of the Democratic party. After a string of defeats, they’ve finally won one, going after Joe Lieberman and defeating him in his quest for a fourth term in the Senate.
Joe Lieberman is now planning to run as an independent to keep his seat, having been rejected by the Democrats. I’m glad he is. As much as I disagree with most of his positions (he is definitely and unabashedly a classical liberal), he strikes me as a man of principle and honesty, a rare commodity in national politics.
Further, while Connecticut is a very Democratic state and the chances of the Republicans taking that seat are absolutely negligible, it must be remembered that the Senator will represent all the people of Connecticut, not just the Democrats. The good people of the Nutmeg State (I’m tired of typing “Connecticut”) have chosen Joe Lieberman to represent them on three occasions before, and polls indicate that he would likely win a general election.
If Lieberman does run and does win, there is little doubt that he will continue to vote with the Democrats the vast majority of the time. The question is whether the Democrats will welcome his support, or treat him as a pariah. That will likely depend on how successful the moonbats are in November.
Ned Lamont’s success in defeating Lieberman while running a one-issue campaign reminds me of the classic quote from Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus. He had defeated the Romans in battle, but at a ruinous cost. His statement on that — “another such victory over the Romans and I am undone” — gave us the concept of the pyrrhic victory.
I sincerely believe that the lunatic fringe will eventually self-destruct. The only question is when. In the meantime, every single victory they achieve simply means that the eventual fall will be that much more spectacular.
And increase the damage they will cause in the process.