How About Operation Sanity Next Time?
By Bruce Walker
May 19, 2008
Operation Chaos, Rush Limbaugh's campaign to do maximum damage to Democrats during their nomination, appears to be working. But there is a much better way to address the continuing radicalization of the Democrat Party: A genuine, moderate conservative Democrat should mount a serious campaign for the Democrat nomination in the next election cycle.
Who might this be? Zell Miller, perhaps could fill the bill. Joe Lieberman would be even more effective. If Lieberman had run this time, and if conservatives had opened their wallets to support him in the Democrat nomination campaign, as well as crossing over or registering as a Democrat de jour to vote for him in the primary, consider just how much better American politics would be now.
On policy issues, Obama and Clinton are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, which leaves the dreadfully dull comparison of experience and vision or the gaffes and muck of both candidates as the deciding factors (or, even worse, the gender or race of the candidates). This is no way to run a presidential campaign, if we care about the American people.
Lieberman would have offered a straightforward policy difference between all the many early candidates and, if ultimately only Hillary and Obama survived among the Leftist candidates, Lieberman would have had a wide open field - everything to the Right of the most Leftist Democrat candidates in history.
What that would have meant is that Joe Lieberman could have run as a genuine moderate. He could have supported victory in Iraq, opposed tax increases, supported some of the social conservative issues which he has traditionally done, and yet reminded voters that if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000, he, Joe Lieberman, would be the Democrat candidate right now.
Having a moderate like Lieberman continue running for the Democrat nomination would have had another important effect: many moderates in "open" primary states would have stayed out of the Republican race and would, instead, have voted for Joe Lieberman. The Republican nominee would have then been more conservative.
Suppose, today, Lieberman had run and stayed in the race this year. Instead of "Operation Chaos," Rush Limbaugh could have run an "Operation Lieberman." Republicans unhappy about voting for Hillary could have eagerly, and quite sincerely, have changed registration in Pennsylvania to vote for Joe and he might have actually won a plurality of the votes. Certainly, after the Republican race was decided, Republican voters in Ohio and Texas would have had every incentive to vote for a moderate Democrat like Lieberman.
Given the tenacity and arrogance of Hillary and Barack, it is highly unlikely that either candidate, with a third or so of the delegates and the nomination uncertain, would have withdrawn at this point. The result would have been a deadlocked convention, with Lieberman holding the balance of power. He could be tapped as the running mate by either, which would significantly dilute the Leftism of the ticket. He could swing his delegates behind one candidate in exchange for specific and public policy concessions. Or Obama and Clinton could cut a deal behind his back, and Lieberman could decline to endorse either or even endorse the Republican candidate.
The ultimate consequence of having a genuine moderate or moderate conservative or moderate liberal respected by conservatives (like Lieberman) run for the Democrat nomination is that the entire spectrum of partisan politics would be shifted to the Right - the Democrat ticket would be more conservative and the Republican ticket would be more conservative. This is exactly the opposite of what happened this election cycle.
What can be done in the future? Conservatives need to reassert themselves in the Democrat Party. Conservative candidates in 2010 ought to run for the whole range of offices as Democrats. Many will lose, some will win. Those who win can be groomed for higher office and can begin to develop into the sort of Scoop Jackson Democrats who are, at the very least, like Lieberman, patriotic Americans committed to the survival and expansion of freedom around the world.
There is a real need to get patriotic, honest and serious Democrats back into office and into influence within the Democrat Party. An utterly unbalanced and completely defeatist major political party is not good for America. The Democrat Party has been taken over by radical Leftists who do not represent America or even a substantial part of the Democrat Party. If Operation Chaos can help disrupt two radical fighting for the title of the most radical nominee in major party history, then perhaps in four years an Operation Sanity can make the restoration of sensible moderation and serious patriotism within the Democrat Party a goal around which all conservatives can rally.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.