Lieberman is Leavin' 'Em, and Why the Left Has Shifted Instead of the Right
One of the main arguments used against conservatives nowadays is about conservatives nowadays: they've completely gone off the Right-wing deep end compared to their predecessors. Progressives will claim they've been stagnant in their approach and steadfast in their outlook; if anything, Democrats have been pulled slightly to the Right. Jonah Goldberg wrote a great column about this a couple months ago, and I recommend giving it a read.
But, in listening to The Dennis Prager Show this afternoon, I was struck with something during his interview with Sen. Joe Lieberman. Here we have a Senator who was an elected Democrat for nearly 40 years, since being elected to the Connecticut Senate in 1970 and eventual US Senate seat in 1989. And it wasn't like Lieberman was some irrelevant Senator over these years, one who the party bigwigs knew little about or didn't associate with; he was the Democratic Party's pick for Vice President in 2000.
Then, six years later, in his fourth run for the Senate and in a surprisingly contested Democratic primary, Lieberman found himself unaligned with his lifelong party and running as an Independent. Through a combination of his views having changed along with the voters' views, Lieberman had a hard time calling himself a Democrat. What does this tell us, that a once-considered true blue Democrat was suddenly out of place within his own party? Was it that, after so many years in Washington, he'd suddenly become more conservative? (We know how often that happens, right?)
In the interview, Prager asked Lieberman a few questions regarding the Democrats' feelings on the national debt, and when Prager suggested that Reid and Co. weren't too preoccupied with the escalating debt, or placing it as a high priority, Lieberman did not refute it; Prager later suggested that the Left prioritized equality (as in making people equal) over prosperity, and Lieberman all but agreed without openly saying so.
Former Rep. Arthur Davis also comes to mind as someone fairly prominent who has waved goodbye to the Democratic Party recently (so much so that, after being out in front in endorsing Obama in 2008, he's now supporting Romney). But in both Davis' and Lieberman's cases, I think their inability to really identify with a party they were once so devoted to isn't so much that they left the Democratic party first to establish a new identity, but that the Democratic Party left them first and allowed them to find this new identity away from it.