Debra J. Saunders

That said, Lieberman is a cut above the routine D.C. politician who habitually runs from difficult votes and unpopular positions. While his constituents have soured on the war in Iraq, Lieberman is sticking by his early support of the war -- even if it costs him re-election. He has shown a dedication to principle that voters like to think they want. Except that the Nedheads -- as Lamont's supporters are called -- object to Lieberman's support of President Bush. As the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti reported, the most popular campaign button among Nedheads features Dubya's embrace of Lieberman after his 2005 State of the Union address. They are incensed that Lieberman is not a Bush hater. Indeed, the Nedheads are so angry about the Big Hug that they are willing to torpedo a man who campaigned against Bush in 2000.

Hoover Institution fellow Morris Fiorina told me it scares him to watch the extremes dominate each party as they chase moderates out of office. In this case, Connecticut Dems may be "willing to sacrifice" a shot at taking control of the U.S. Senate from the GOP -- Lieberman would be the surer bet to win in November -- "for the sake of their ideological purity."

While many Democrats say they want to see an end to partisan rancor, Fiorina added, Lamont's supporters "are the kind of people who thrive on partisan rancor." Where moderates see bipartisan bonhomie, they see a traitor.

As Fiorina sees it, when busy moderates sit out primaries, they "abandon the field to all those people who have extreme views." You can forget all those "re-elect Gore" bumper stickers so dear to the angry Left. Because Lieberman gets along with the president of the United States, they have a new slogan: Dump Joey.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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