Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman's Stubbornness Shows Why He Lost

I like Joe Lieberman and if he had opened his eyes a little sooner, he might have saved his seat. His behavior in the last few weeks has been confusing. How can he claim to be a centrist if he continues to side with the most right wing president in our nation's history? Even The New York Times, which started out as a supporter of Bush's war, has moved on as the evidence has mounted over what a fiasco Bush's policies have been. Here's an editorial from The New York Times on Ned Lamont's win:
The defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman at the hands of a little-known Connecticut businessman is bound to send a message to politicians of both parties that voters are angry and frustrated over the war in Iraq. The primary upset was not, however, a rebellion against the bipartisanship and centrism that Mr. Lieberman said he represented in the Senate. Instead, Connecticut Democrats were reacting to the way those concepts have been perverted by the Bush White House.

Ned Lamont, a relative political novice, said he ran against Mr. Lieberman because he was offended by the senator’s sunny descriptions of what was happening in Iraq and his denunciation of Democrats who criticized the administration’s handling of the war. Many other people in Connecticut may have felt that sense of frustration, but no one else had the money and moxie to do what Mr. Lamont did. Mr. Lieberman was stunned to find himself on the defensive, and it was only in the last few weeks that the 18-year veteran mounted a desperate campaign to reclaim his party’s support.


Mr. Lieberman’s supporters have tried to depict Mr. Lamont and his backers as wild-eyed radicals who want to punish the senator for working with Republicans and to force the Democratic Party into a disastrous turn toward extremism. It’s hard to imagine Connecticut, which likes to be called the Land of Steady Habits, as an encampment of left-wing isolationists, and it’s hard to imagine Mr. Lamont, who worked happily with the Republicans in Greenwich politics, leading that kind of revolution.

The rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved over the last few years as the country has seemed to be galloping in a deeply unmoderate direction. A war that began at the president’s choosing has degenerated into a desperate, bloody mess that has turned much of the world against the United States. The administration’s contempt for international agreements, Congressional prerogatives and the authority of the courts has undermined the rule of law abroad and at home.

There is nothing moderate about a party that advocates the use of nuclear weapons, torture, rendition, the manipulation of American voters into supporting what turns out to be an optional war, the denial of global warming for the sake of big oil campaign contributors, a series of attacks on the US Constitution, the swift boating of John Kerry, the smearing of opponents, the outing of a CIA agent in political revenge, a deficit as far as the eye can see, the gutting of environmental legislation, corruption from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, etc., etc., etc. For once and for all, let's stop pretending that Bush and his Republican friends on the Hill are the least interested in bipartisanship. Democrats at times went along with Bush for his first two years but Bush rarely kept his side of the bargain.

The Democrats are made up of liberals, moderates and even a handful of conservatives and they do their job well but Lieberman kept doing business with people who were not being honest with the American people. Perhaps talk that he might be appointed secretary of defense under Bush clouded his perceptions of what is happening in the world. He might have saved himself but he showed poor judgment and is in danger of being left behind in November if the country decides it's time to move on. This country is better than anything Bush and his friends can offer and we deserve a change.


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8:39 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Craig, the bottom line of your post is excellent.

Lieberman could've impressed everyone and gone a long way toward getting back in Democrats' good graces if he had said something like this:

Connecticut Democrats have spoken and although I think they're mistaken about me, I will respect their judgment. I'm not going to run in November, but instead will cast my vote for Ned Lamont.

Then, he could've gone to ground for a while, watching for a chance to run for governor or make himself available for a Cabinet post, should a Democrat win in '08.

As it is, his talk about promoting bipartisanship is unrealistic, self-serving blather. As mentioned, Bush doesn't do real bipartisanship. He's the decider and heeds only his base made up of radical-right/Christian right/big-money backers. He's been that way for six years and isn't about to change. Most congressional Republicans are no better.

9:21 PM  
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