Apart from the democratic morality and constitutationality of nationalizing local elections, another more pragmatic question remains: Is it smart? Does it work? Look at this email I got today from Moveon.org:
It’s absurdâ€”Joe Lieberman is throwing a fundraiser this week to protect Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the key pro-war votes and one of the most vulnerable Republican senators.
Lieberman is still sort of a Democrat, and Collins has always been sort of a Republican, so it makes sense that one would work for the other.
Interestingly, Collins is also one of the Senators that Kerry targeted. It is because she is a moderate Republican that she is vunerable. The GOP does not support, does not even like her. And New England is getting bluer and bluer. So let’s say that Collins does feel pressure from a Kerry-funded opponent, how will she react?
a) Move further left. This is the point of the campaign, to get her to vote with the Democrats on key issues like Iraq.
b) Move further right. Differentiate herself from her opponent, appeal to the GOP base, and use the advantages of incumbency to retain her seat.
So here you have someone who already votes with the Democrats frequently. By working against her, there’s a good chance that you may force her further right. You also further diminish the centrist part of the Senate, already whittled down beyond belief.
(Sid: In Kerry’s letter, he calls out how he is going after four vunerable Senators, and Mitch McConnell. As he says, “McConnell is the top ranking Republican in the Senate. Where our other targets are weak links at the fringes of their party, going after McConnell is getting to the heart of the matter. McConnell has been a bulwark of the GOP leadership and if we can distract, or even defeat him, with a tough electoral challenge in 2008, we’ll send a clear message that no Senator is safe if they insist on trying to stop the Democratic Senate from enacting the will of the American people. Polls in his own state show him to be vulnerable to a strong challenge; letâ€™s make sure we give him one.” I’m not sure I agree with Kerry, but he is not deluding himself that is an easy task.)
Question to my suddenly voluble commenters: Are Kerry’s tactics good ones? Is it an effective to spend money? Will it help or hurt the Democrats?