Monday, August 07, 2006

Lieberman will lose, they say

Just been talking about Joe Lieberman and the election autumn in the United States with Dick Erixon for the TV-show Studio 24 (watch it here). (If you are not familiar with Lieberman’s race against Lamont, read this article for example).

I made three basic points during the show. First of all, if Lieberman loses it will of course strengthen the “left-anti-war-wing” of the Democratic Party. That will create political turmoil within the party and strengthen demands for bringing the troops back home. But in the long run we must not forget that the voters know that it was George W Bush who started the war in Iraq, and they are generally unhappy about that. The war hurts Bush and the Republican Party as well. This point did not seem to bother Dick Erixon.

Secondly, I think that the Democrats will strengthen their positions in the midterm elections in November. Gubernatorial elections can be a real success, and even if we (I say we on purpose) don’t win back the majority in the House of Representatives (the Senate seems like lost cause), we might get the following scenario: modest gains in 2006, continued opposition and opportunity to criticize Bush, and thus a golden opportunity to win majority in both Houses and the Presidency in 2008.

Thirdly, the Democratic Party needs two wings to fly, as Jesse Jackson famously said. Lieberman’s standpoints might be necessary within the party in order for a Democrat to win the Presidency, but the most important issue for Democrats across the US is to unite around a progressive platform that should be strong but still built on multilateralism. We need some of Lieberman’s positions (for example on free trade), but we also need to show that we are a distinct and very different alternative compared to the current administration.

In the long run, the current situation will force Americans to think twice about their role in the world, the link between war and terror, and oil and climate change. This will benefit the Democratic Party and progressives worldwide. Then the bird can fly again. And maybe the leader of the bird will be called Al Gore.


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