He’s already given political culture one of the great euphemisms ever for having an affair. And now the Appalachian trail walker, Mark Sanford, has become a terrific example of one of the core ideas of political parties and democracy: It’s all about the primaries.
Sanford won back his old House seat in a special election on Tuesday. Smart liberal commentators noted that Republicans had little choice. Paul Krugman:
When Joe Lieberman left the Senate earlier this year, he probably muttered a final, "You won't have me to kick around anymore, you rotten hippies" under his breath. After all, there was no member of the Senate with a more openly hostile relationship with his own party than Lieberman. There are conservative Democrats who buck the party line as often, but all of them come from conservative states and tack right to maintain their electoral viability. Not Lieberman—he represented one of the most liberal states in the country. Lieberman did it for spite.
Dick Lugar hanging out with some Hollywood liberal. (Flickr/Talk Radio News Service)
Today in Indiana, Senator Richard Lugar will probably be defeated in a Republican primary by Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, 3-time failed congressional candidate, and Tea Party favorite. Lugar might be the single most respected member of the Senate, a guy who has been in office for 35 years, has carved out areas of interest and expertise that don't bring with them anything in the way of contributions or votes (foreign affairs, nuclear proliferation), and finds areas where he can work with Democrats. And that, of course, was his undoing. Perhaps Lugar's greatest sin in their eyes was that he maintained a good relationship with Barack Obama (horrors!). The Tea Party may be fading, but it had enough left in its tank to knock Lugar out.
Eight years ago, following his Democratic primary defeat, Howard Dean and some of his supporters formed Democracy for America (DFA). Among them was Howard’s brother Jim Dean, who now serves as chair of the million-member activist group. The Prospect sat down with Jim Dean to discuss the left’s lack of leverage in Washington, Occupy’s lessons for activists, and why—with a presidential election looming—DFA has shifted its focus to the states.
This November, when Barack Obama faces off against his Republican opponent, there will be a third candidate in the race, too. This candidate has already qualified for the ballot in 14 states, including California. The campaign to ensure the candidate’s ballot access in all 50 states has raised $22 million (more than the campaigns of every Republican presidential candidate except Mitt Romney), with which it has employed 3,000 paid signature gatherers and enlisted 3,000 volunteers.
For its panel on “mak[ing] Congress work” this morning, No Labels—a group that bills itself as “a voice” for the “silent majority”—assembled a group of current and former lawmakers to solve the problems of partisanship and polarization. Among the members present were Senators Joe Lieberman, Joe Manchin, Bill Nelson, and Dean Heller; Congressman Jim Cooper; former Senator Evan Bayh; former Congressman Micky Edwards; and David Walker, the former comptroller general. There was a standard issue list of bipartisan reforms: an end to negative campaigning against fellow members, filibuster reform, pay for performance, and nonpartisan primaries.
We'll be talking more about the debt deal later, but something else in the meantime: Ezra Klein points out that a year and a half from now, there will be a looming deadline in which Democrats, if you can believe it, will actually hold the upper hand:
NPR has another story that underscores the urgency of the government investigating the charlatans posing as "terrorism experts" who are indoctrinating law enforcement with Islamophobic paranoia. After a "training session" in which a local Columbus, Omar al-Omari, was identified as someone with ties to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and even al-Qaida," because he was photographed alongside members of the Council on American-Islamic relations, Omari lost his job fostering outreach between the Muslim community and law enforcement.
New York’s passage of same-sex marriage legislation Friday was immediately followed by praise for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership and his ability to assemble a coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The New York Times ran a glowing account of his maneuvering, highlighting his willingness to define a goal, stick to it, and use every method available to reach it.
Some Democrats want consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to challenge Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown for his Senate seat in 2012:
In seeking to enlist Ms. Warren for a different campaign, Democrats are taking aim at two birds. They can lay the groundwork for a potential compromise over a different candidate to lead the new agency and, they hope, they can increase their chances of reclaiming Mr. Brown’s seat by sending against him a woman who has won considerable acclaim and popularity among liberals for taking on the financial industry. [...]
When Al Gore made Joe Lieberman his VP pick in 2000, it was refreshing that there wasn't much anti-Semitism in evidence. Instead, conservative religious figures made much of their friendship with Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew. It seemed at the time to be evidence that the ground of the religious culture war had shifted somewhat, so that instead of Protestant against Catholic or Christian against Jew, the religious fault line in American politics was now religious vs. non-religious. People started using the term "Judeo-Christian" more often, pulling Jews into the circle of who "us" is. After the 9/11 attacks, it became clear to many on the right that "them" wasn't just those latte-sipping coastal ungodly elitists, but also Muslims.
I wrote yesterday about how President Obama may be wrong to believe that he has “no permanent enemies” -- especially when it comes to the Republican leadership hell-bent on destroying him. Well, once he figures that out, maybe he could teach John McCain and Joe Lieberman a thing or two.
Without further ado, a tweet from John McCain, circa August 2009: