NE-Sen: RedState - This Isn't Like Lieberman At All!

"We did not abandon Chuck Hagel. He abandoned us."

And so it begins. The opening shots in the right-wing blogosphere's "Lieberman moment." I've spent a lot of time on the similarities between this race and Lieberman/Lamont (as well as some of the differences.) But you have to wonder if the right-wingers see it this way.

Well, maybe not. Venture with me into enemy territory, after the flip...

The first comment in the thread at RedState (emphasis added):

This is not "snark" by CrabCakes

or whatever one calls it these days. But how is this any different from what the Democrats (of whom I am one) tried to do to Lieberman last go round?

Both are pretty much down the line party members except in regard to Iraq. Both represent states which are pretty solid for their party. When Lamont challenged Lieberman, the idea was derided on this site as silly. How is this different?

More importantly, how is this bid going to be any more successful than was Lamont's, especially when most Nebraskans support a timetable for withdrawal (although not as high of a percentage as does the nation at large), the only place where Hagel and any Republican challenger will differ?

The response?

Well, for starters, Jon  by Erick

Well, for starters, Jon Bruning is a popular statewide candidate who has twice been elected statewide -- the second time uncontested.

Next, Lieberman was quite popular in his state across parties. Hagel is not.

Then, there is the fact that Hagel has talked favorably of impeaching the President of the United States who happens to be the leader of his own party.

Lastly, there is Hagel's craven disregard for the troops in the field just so he can get on TV.

At what point, if not this one, do we find a new candidate?

Point by point:  by CrabCakes  

1) and 2) have to do with electability. I'm sure that Bruning will run a competive campaign in nominated, but do you really think he would be more of a lock than Lamont would have been if Lieberman hadn't gone indie? The GOP candidate came in a distant third in Connecticut.

3) and 4) have to do with party loyalty, especially the vocal manner in which Hagel displays his disagreement. That was precisely what irked Democrats so badly about Lieberman. He wasn't happy being the pro-Iraq war Democrat; he had to go on TV every weekend to talk about how wrong-headed his party was, not to mention that every pro-Iraq measure got the "bipartisan support" label when it was really the GOP plus Lieberman.

I'm not one to tell Republicans when to run a primary opponent or not. I'd actually love to see Bruning get the nod so that the Democrats could compete in another state. I just don't see any real difference between Bruning's and Lamont's bids, except for the fact that a Bruning primary win could potentially mean a Democratic general election win.

The Democrat here pretty much shoots down the argument that there's any difference. Because, well, on its face, there really isn't. Still, the arguments being refuted were at least grounded (aside from the "anti-troops" B.S.) in reality. That didn't last long.

Differences  by Neil Stevens

1. We don't put Sen. Hagel in blackface

  1. We don't attack Sen. Hagel personally
  2. We aren't flipping out because he hugged a political opponent
  3. We aren't doing any of the other nasty things the online left does routinely, either

Yeah, like calling Chuck Hagel a traitor? I'm sure that wouldn't be considered a personal attack. #3 is largely symbolic of Lieberman's figurative embrace of Bush's Iraq policy - precisely the opposite of the right's problem with Hagel. #4 is just a strawman argument.

The only difference is this: this a strategically awful move for the Republicans, one that could potentially take a safely Republican seat and put it in play for the Democrats. Woefully ignorant of the Democratic candidates in this state - and the state Democratic Party's desire to get this seat back at any cost - they assume that this will be an easy "get," that Bruning will smoke Hagel and walk away with a general election win. Hagel wouldn't be the de facto candidate for the Democrats because the law that allowed Lieberman to run as an independent in Connecticut doesn't exist in Nebraska - in fact, it's explicitly forbidden.

Hagel Support?  by imdunn  
Hagel has a 0% probability of winning an election in Nebraska. In this state, he's almost as popular as Al Jazeera, an organization he will forever be associated with. His presence on a ballot would guarantee victory for his Democratic opponent, in this red state. The worst thing that could happen to Bruning would be for Hagel to lose/drop out of the primary, and end up supporting Bruning. We have long grown tired of Hagel's tirades, and the negative PR he has carefully manufactured for this state.

By all means, let them tear each other apart. We'll be there to pick up the pieces.

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Tags: 2008, Chuck Hagel, ne-sen (all tags)



Re: NE-Sen: RedState - This Isn't Like Lieberman A

There is one very important difference between the two races - Lamont actually had a strong majority message to convey, which is why he won the primary so handily.  Hagel's primary opponent has no such card to play.

I welcome this primary challenge, both as a big-D and a small-d Democrat.  Are the people at RedState really under the impression that there's a strong constituency, anywhere in this country, for an unapologetic pro-Bush and pro-war candidacy?  If they really think so, then let's put it to the test, and may the best man win.

by Steve M 2007-06-13 10:39PM | 0 recs
Re: NE-Sen: RedState - This Isn't Like Lieberman A

Well, I think a lot can change in 11 months, but Bruning is - sadly - in agreement with the majority of Nebraska Republicans. Though it's mostly about the war, don't underestimate the impact of Hagel's immigration stand on this race, either. Ironically, he supports the President on immigration.

But we'd be wrong to root for Hagel here. The best thing that can happen for Nebraska Democrats is for Republicans to nominate the extremist they so badly want to nominate. I'm hoping Hagel decides it's not worth it and drops out of the race. It solves two problems at once.

by Dave Sund 2007-06-13 11:10PM | 0 recs


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