Joe Lieberman was a non-factor in the Democratic primaries early this year, politely tolerated for his service as Al Gore's understudy in 2000 but not much more. In a year in which Democrats were seized with anti-Bush and anti-war fervor, he was clearly the crazy aunt.Greg notes that it is "more than a little overblown, but still good for comic relief to the dozen or so of us committed Joe fans from the past campaign." I support Senator Lieberman. I waited until Senator Lieberman decided to run before I decided who I was backing. I even have my "Liberals for Lieberman" button that I got in the mail.
There's nothing like a lost election to trigger a turning of the fashion worm. Democratic eyes are falling increasingly on Simon Rosenberg as a potential new leader of the Democratic National Committee. He's currently head of the New Democrat Network, which Mr. Lieberman founded and co-chaired along with retiring Sen. John Breaux. Mr. Rosenberg's elevation would be a clear and welcome vindication of Liebermanism.
It doesn't hurt that his group was relatively low-profile in the recent Kerry loss. NDN had originally expected to play a bigger role thanks to the McCain-Feingold reform that shut off the Democrats' soft money spigot. But it was rapidly outshone by the sudden arrival of MoveOn.org and the Media Fund, which raised millions for "independent" advertising in support of the Kerry campaign. Those efforts (especially MoveOn.org's) are now being second-guessed by Democrats as having done more harm than good with their Bush-bashing and conspicuous overtone of Hollywood arrogance.
A campaign aide to Bill Clinton, Mr. Rosenberg created his PAC in 2000 to battle paleolibs in raising money for "New Democrats" who adhered to modern positions on economics and national security. He's increasingly seen as a palatable alternative to Howard Dean (too liberal because of his antiwar stance) and former Rep. Tim Roemer (too conservative because of his anti-abortion beliefs). Speaking at a cattle call in Orlando earlier this month, Mr. Rosenberg talked intelligently about the need to groom new Democratic candidates and operatives who are more in touch with mainstream America. "Republicans are winning with growing regions and groups," he pointed out. "They won in 97 of the fastest growing 100 counties; most of the so called red states are gaining population, the blues ones losing."
Unfortunately, Mr. Rosenberg's biggest obstacle may be memories of NDN's first big battle, in which the group raised millions in corporate dollars to support and defend Democrats who voted in favor of liberalized trade with China. That's exactly the kind of responsible position-taking the NDN was created to encourage and reward -- and which the party's protectionists and union bosses are not likely to forgive or forget.
--Holman W. Jenkins Jr.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Thanks to Greg for the following article, in which I have chosen to place here: