Morning Report: August 9, 2006

Transitions. A staff shuffle in Israel's top ranks brings new plans for its northern campaign; and in the US, Connecticut Democrats reject a hawkish centrist while Georgia Democrats oust a combative leftist.

Lieberman, McKinney lose Democratic primaries. The Democratic primaries saw upsets in two closely watched races. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman lost to challenger Ned Lamont by 48% to 52%. Despite losing the Democrats' nomination, Lieberman intends to run as an independent in the general election. Meanwhile, Cynthia McKinney lost the Democratic runoff in her Georgia district. Lieberman, who consistently supported the liberation of Iraq, is seen as a bellweather of the party's willingness to adopt strong defense policies; McKinney is widely regarded as an erratic, far-left Democrat. Neo weighs in: 'Joe Lieberman was defeated last night in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, thus proving (as if it needed any proving) that the Democratic Party has veered to the left. The Democrats seem to have abandoned the "big tent" concept--the idea that a party shouldn't position itself so far to either side that it becomes marginal and exclusive. Who is Ned Lamont? A deep-pocketed novice--very deep-pocketed indeed. We'll see what happens in the statewide election. ...' (ABC: Lamont "deep-pocketed novice".) The American Thinker: 'The Connecticut Yankees no longer seem as practical-minded as they were in the day of Mark Twain. Voters in Cynthia McKinney’s district in Georgia knew enough to reject nutty left wing oppositionism, even in an incumbent.' Coverage from Pajamas Media. (various)

Israel approves ground push to the Litani. Debka: 'The decision Wednesday, Aug. 9, by 9 votes, none against and 3 abstentions limits the expanded operation in time to 14 days and includes areas as far north of the border as the Nabatea plateau and Arnoun beyond the Litani River. The objective of the extension is to reach rocket-launch centers. It deepens Israel`s thrust to some 45 km from the border and calls for a further large influx of army reserves. DEBKAfile’s military sources add the extended operation does not promise the total stoppage of all rocket fire against Israel, but could potentially bring about a sizeable reduction from up to 200 a day to some 30 or 50. The ministers who abstained were Dep. PM Shimon Peres, Labor’s Ofer Pines and Shas leader Eli Yishai. DEBKAfile’s military sources add the extended operation does not promise the total stoppage of all rocket fire against Israel, but could potentially bring about a sizeable reduction from up to 200 a day to some 30 or 50. ...' Arutz Sheva: 'The security cabinet gave the IDF the go-ahead on Wednesday to broaden ground operations and take control of southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. The vote was unanimous, with three abstentions. Shas party Chairman and Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai spoke to reporters after the meeting, which took several hours. “The assessment is that it is going to last 30 days,” he said somberly. “I think it is wrong to make this assessment. I think it will take a lot longer.” Yishai was one of the ministers who abstained from the vote. Vice Premier Shimon Peres (Labor) and Minister Ofir Pines also abstained.' Jerusalem Post: 'The Security Cabinet on Wednesday approved a wider ground offensive in south Lebanon that was expected to take 30 days as part of a new push to badly damage Hizbullah, Cabinet minister Eli Yishai said. The decision was made with nine ministers in favor; Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Minister of Sport Ophir Paz-Pines, and Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai abstained. The Security Cabinet authorized troops to push to the Litani River some 30 kilometers from the Israel-Lebanon border.' This follows the appointment of Major General Moshe Kaplinsky by Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz to oversee operations in the North. (Debka, A7, JPost)

MK Avigdor Lieberman: Hamas preparing rocket attack on southern Israel. Arutz Sheva: 'The chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu party, Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman, said today that the Hamas terrorist group currently in power in the Palestinian Authority is preparing to wage a war on southern Israel modeled on the Hizbullah war on northern Israel. He also expressed criticism of the media for ignoring the ongoing PA Kassam rocket attacks on the cities of the Negev.' (A7)

West Point thesis challenges anti-gay policy. Edge New York:
Alexander Raggio says he was 16 when he learned one of his relatives was gay - and watching that person’s struggle gave him a grim introduction to discrimination against gays.

He carried those feelings into West Point, and in his senior thesis argued that the military’s policy banning gays is not only wrong, but harmful to the Army.

The Pentagon may not agree, but the U.S. Military Academy gave him an award for the paper.

"I love the Army and I think that this is hurting the Army,’’ said Raggio, 24, in an interview this week from his new military post at Fort Riley, Kan. "I see it as my obligation to say ’I don’t agree with what you’re doing.’ I’m not being insubordinate - I just think we’re making a mistake here.’’ ...

While the topic was controversial, and the argument contrary to the military’s ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, Raggio was presented the Brig. Gen. Carroll E. Adams Award for the best senior thesis in the art, philosophy and literature major in the academy’s English department.

Commentary. Given the amount of invective directed against Senator Joseph Lieberman from the left end of the Democratic Party, I'm not surprised that he wasn't able to defeat Lamont in the primary. What is interesting, though, is that he lost as narrowly as he did. "Glass 48 percent full" department: this means that, despite all the attacks from the far Left, forty-eight out of a hundred Connecticut Democrats still wanted Lieberman to represent them in the contest for a US Senate seat. Meanwhile, the eccentric McKinney was defeated by a somewhat wider margin in Georgia. I'm reluctant to draw any sweeping conclusions from these two races alone, but it may be a sign that the Democrats' left-wing contingent isn't as strong as it would like to think.

Meanwhile, Israel prepares to shift its tactics to meet the northern threat (better late than never, some would argue) while another Lieberman warns of a threat from the south. Israel's survival will depend in large measure on its agility.

The same might be said of political battles. In our generation, America's Democrats have successfully crafted a reputation for social liberalism, winning the support of African Americans, Jews, gays, women, and other historically disenfranchised or marginalized groups. But recent years have brought advances by minority groups and growing tolerance among Republicans and other conservatives; so attempts by Democrats to demonize their opponents as fundamentalist bigots are now carrying less weight than they once did. Meanwhile, it is the Republicans and not the Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) who have aggressively pursued the overthrow of two fascist regimes in the Muslim world, and upon whom the Jewish homeland now depends for its American support. The old labels mean nothing now, as the landscape of the ideological battle shifts almost beyond recognition. The winners - both in the United States and beyond its borders - will be those who can best adapt to the new world.