A dangerous incrustation of conventional wisdom, congealing around us as we speak, is that the Lieberman victory invalidates the strategy of primary challenges against conservative Dems. However, that could only be true if the strategy that got Lieberman elected were repeatable. And it is not. To re-elect Joe Lieberman, the Republicans had to betray their own candidate and force their own backers, members, and organization to work towards the re-election of a Democrat that had spent almost two decades vilifying.
There will be a cost to this, not visible but nonetheless real. Any potential Republican candidate who wants to take on a Conservative Dem now has to wonder if their party will stand beside them if the Dem is primaried out. This is likely to cost them some candidates, good ones who will not run simply for ego or to make a point, but only if they see a realistic shot at victory. But once can be a fluke. If the Republicans pull this again, they will create a civil war in their party between those who advocate this strategy, and those who fear having a bus hitch a ride on their backs.The Republican Party would be declaring war on itself. Since they so love declaring war, they could not pick a better target. Such a civil war could be a useful for us as replacing a centrist Dem, so, by all means, let's Lamont them again.
One element of the Republican coalition that may feel that can claim Park's legacy without embarrassment are the Libertarians. After all, Libertarians certainly would oppose a government telling people where they had to sit on a bus or requiring them to surrender their seats to others. But the Libertarians would have all buses private anyway. Would a Libertarian support having the government prohibit private entities from imposing whatever rules they like on their own buses? It would, at the least, be a compromise with the soul of the Libertarian philosophy to do so, and I have heard Libertarians defend racial discrimination in housing on similar grounds.
Would "the market" then work to effectively stop such discrimination, making government intervention unnecessary? In the social context of the American South in the 1950's, it's hard to see how. The majority clearly favored and benefitted from such discrimination, and, besides being the numeric majority, this group had more disposable income per capita than the oppressed minority, giving them even greater clout in the market than they would have from their numbers alone.
A bus line that required blacks to surrender seats to whites would get a much larger share of the white market than one that did not, given prevailing attitudes. It would lose much of the black market, of course, but its non-discriminatory competitor would be limited to that less lucrative market. Even if such a competitor could remain in business, which is doubtful, it could not run as many lines, nor be as frequent, which, of course, also makes it less competitive. In fact, the discriminatory bus line could well be better off banning blacks entirely. It's not going to get much of their business anyway, and the whites would probably prefer not to see them at all (if the whites enjoy the power that comes from forcing others to vacate, this might not be true. I don't understand the underlying psychology of the time and place well enough to make this call. But "whites only" seems to be what the South went for when it could, so I think it reasonable to assume that would be their "consumer preference") The logical result would be two bus lines, one for whites and one for blacks, the latter clearly inferior in service, assuming it was economically viable at all. If not, the result would be that only whites could ride busses.
Notice that this is actually worse for blacks than what racist government intervention produced. In a sense, the market here is behaving as advertised: it is filling consumer preferences more effectively and efficiently than the government does, and possibly than the government could. It is not producing greater efficiency in use of resources; multiple bus lines serving similar routes is less efficient than having one bus line. (in fact, the logical market outcome would be racially segregated bus lines run by the same company, but even that is less efficient). But that productive efficiency loss is compensated for the fact that a white consumer preference is being met that otherwise would not. The market would have to pass on this cost with somewhat higher prices or reduced service, but prejudice seems to be more emotionally compelling than minor increases in bus fare, and the public would never be exposed to the alternative to form a basis for comparisons anyway.
When the government imposes discrimination, it is imposing a social norm. When it prohibits such, it is also imposing a social norm. Although I believe greatly in individual freedom, I don't think there is any way around the fact that the government is going to impose some norms. To arbitrate which norms should be imposed, you have to get down to the substance of the norm. It cannot be a purely procedural debate.
"If the President knew or should have known that the intelligence justifying the war with Iraq was falsified or deliberately distorted, it is grounds for impeachment."
This is something the Democrats should begin pushing as a resolution and talking point, and also ask Harriet Miers about in her confirmation hearing. Because it is hypothetical, it makes no accusations. However, it puts those who would oppose it in a difficult position. If they vote "No", they are saying that a President can legitimately lie us into war without consequence to him, as impeachment is the only recourse for a sitting President (If the Repubs want to split hairs and say censure not impeachment, that moves the debate greatly in the direction we want.) That's a difficult position to defend, and Congress people who take it will be binding themselves more tightly to Bush and his questionable Iraq justifications, even while they are currently trying to distance themselves. On the other hand, if they vote for it, they will be hard-pressed to vote against impeachment later, if the hypothetical is confirmed. Simply lobbing the "I" word into the air constitutes a sea change. Thus, this is a "win either way" situation for us, which is what you ideally want in politics.
Some others pointed out that, according to the Times' accounts, Miller got Fitzgerald to limit his questions to Libby on the premise that there was no other significant source - then credited the words "Valerie Flame" in her notebook to some other source that she can't recall. Another problem that I haven't seen discussed is in this passage:
"Mr. Abrams [Miller's lawyer - M] said Mr. Tate [Scooter's lawyer -= M} also passed along some information about Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife."
Isn't revealing grand jury testimony a crime? Especially to someone with a clear stake in the testimony? Especially to someone with an incentive to coordinate the testimony? Isn't that witness tampering?