In any case, he would be the best one to put up against Bush. He's the least priggish of the crowd, the least liberal -- at least in a way that's easy to caricature. Kerry can be tied to the tax-and-spend post. Dean is looking less and less thoughtful everyday, though I think he'll still strip enough of the activist base from Kerry to be a minor spoiler in the Northeast. If it all goes well for Lieberman, his only big challenge will be Dick Gephardt, who is looking mighty fresh for an old warhorse. I don't think his health care plan will sell in a general election, but he's hitting the right primary buttons. What's your take from the position of a potential primary vote to be captured?
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Dems for '04: I've been thinking about Peter Beinart's op-ed in the WSJ yesterday on Joe Lieberman. I really think he's nailed it. Lieberman is the Dems' best hope for 2004 for a number of reasons. First, he's a hawk. Second, he's got built-in name recognition. Third, he's historically a bit of a maverick (though you wouldn't know it from 2000). He's positioned to run the McCain campaign this cycle. Beinart's thesis is that Lieberman is a natural to buck the traditional liberal line with issues like vouchers and (to some extent) taxes, hoping to cobble together a new coalition within the party -- blacks and moderate whites. I think it's possible, though maybe a long shot, due to several liabilities. For one, Lieberman is on record as a theoretical, if not active, foe of affirmative action, a stance he had to spackle over in 2000. For another, he's very pro-Israel, whereas the traditional activist base is not. If Lieberman can peel away the black vote and energize the less-traditional white base, he'd have a good shot without coddling the unions and the fringe cases (though he'd still have to kiss Sharpton's ring, which may be incompatable with pulling suburban white vote).