Saturday, July 29, 2006

Even Bill Clinton Can’t Save Lieberman Now

The primary race in Connecticut is heating up, especially now that Joe Lieberman is trailing his opponent Ned Lamont in the polls.  For an incumbent, that is bad news indeed.

This race is about more than just who will be the next Senator from Connecticut, it’s about what it means to be a Democrat and the voters in this small state seem to recognize the significance of this primary and are sending the message to the National Party that Republican lite isn’t where it’s at.

Despite the fact that Democrats are leading in national polls and most Americans are disgusted with the lockstep Republican led Congress, Democrats have some problems of their own.  First and foremost is their inability to get behind issues with majority support, such as Universal Healthcare, a livable working wage and withdrawing our troops from Iraq.  If Lieberman loses this primary, perhaps the rest of the Democratic delegation will get the message that we want them to start acting like Democrats again, and if they fail to do that, they can and will be replaced.  Cross your fingers for a Lamont win and even better, send a few dollars his way.  He’s even vowed to match any contribution made online so your dollars will make double the impact right now.


Blogger RobertinSeattle said...

I'm glad Ned Lamont got the endorsement of the NY Times. I contributed money to his campaign first thing this morning - right after hearing about the NY Times.


3:16 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why Leiberman is so much worse than any other Democrat who voted for the war (for example, Hillary Clinton). Besides the war, he has a reasonably progressive voting record, more progressive than some Democrats who aren't facing netroots-backed primary opponents. If Leiberman is being targeted solely for the war, then why doesn't Hillary have a primary opponent? And if he's being targeted solely for the war, what is the difference between progressives voting against him on one issue and the religious right voting against candidates on a single issue (say, abortion or gay marriage)? Are we really prepared to say there is no room anywhere in the Democratic Party for anyone who supported (or supports) the war?

10:10 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

local crank~

Wait no longer! Check out here, here and here -- and that's just for starters, the place I knew of just off the top of my head with fresh threads. The only people who still think Lieberman's imminent "dethronement" (is that a word? "disenthronement"?) is solely because of his war position (as if that weren't bad enough) are the beltway establishmentarians who are disengenuously spreading that falsehood, probably out of a combination of their own bewilderment coupled with being mortally offended at the lack of deference to nobility.

12:18 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Okay, well I'm hardly a "beltway establishmentarian." Hell, I couldn't even get elected state representative! But all of your links relate to the war. Are there no other issues where Leiberman has voted against his party? And, again, how were his war votes different from, say, Hillary Clinton's?

2:24 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

(sigh) Okay, I'll hilite the shiny bits for you:

...I'd love to know what "really bad stuff" has been stopped by Joe Lieberman lately. The last I heard he was signing on to illegal domestic spying and indefinite prison sentences at Gitmo. He didn't think Abu Ghraib was such a big deal and certainly didn't lead the fight against torture. I haven't heard a word from him about signing statements or what to do about the black hole money pit that is Iraq...


Joe Lieberman is apparently determined to run as an independent and put the safe Democratic seat at risk.


There's only one Democrat being held accountable for his "heresies" and that's Joe Lieberman. And that's because this election is a referendum on George W. Bush and Republican rule. Unlike many Republican politicians, Lieberman refused to distance himself from Bush and the Republicans when presented with a challenger.


And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration’s most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates. Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation’s longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort.


In 2004, Mr. Lieberman praised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for expressing regret about Abu Ghraib, then added: "I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized." To suggest even rhetorically that the American military could be held to the same standard of behavior as terrorists is outrageous, and a good example of how avidly the senator has adopted the Bush spin and helped the administration avoid accounting for Abu Ghraib.


(H)e appointed himself defender of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the administration’s policy of holding hundreds of foreign citizens in prison without any due process. He seconded Mr. Gonzales’s sneering reference to the "quaint" provisions of the Geneva Conventions. He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons. There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.


(T)his was a defining moment for Lieberman and perhaps it gets to the heart of why the visceral resentment among Democrats is so strong. Here's a man whose reputation rests upon his moral rectitude and he could not see that the horror of Abu Ghraib was a sign of abject immorality (and failed leadership) that required condemnation of the chain of command that endorsed it... (Bill Clinton) lied about a sexual affair and the details were splashed all over the media by Republican withchunters, using the legal system as a partisan tool. Yet Joe felt he had to speak out against the president on this because the nation's moral authority was at stake and the president's misbehavior was sending a bad message to the nation's youth. Abu Ghraib, on the other hand, didn't even deserve a GOP kangaroo congressional investigation or a call for the firing of the man who was in charge when it happened because it might make the administration "less aggressive" in the future.

Had enough? If not, here's some more from Firedoglake:

Joe simply could not imagine that his opposition to affirmative action, his patronizing attitude toward the CBC, his 42 minute approval of Michael Brown or his love for George Bush (who has trashed just about every institution in the government that protected the rights of minorities) could be regarded with anything but loving admiration and fealty by the African Americans of Connecticut.


Michael Schaivo (held) a press conference to remind everyone what a sanctimonious, meddling, holier-than-thou, politically opportunistic tin-eared prick Joe Lieberman was during the difficult last days of his wife’s life.

Oh, and here's a little gem from Atrios:

Not enough has been said recently about Lieberman's membership in the "gang of 14," a bipartisan group of Republcian bullies and Democratic losers. Basically the Democrats in this group endorsed the very important principle put forth by the Republicans that the Republicans had the right to cheat. The principled Democrats in the gang managed to get the very important compromise which basically got the Republicans to promise to not cheat as long as the Democrats didn't give them a reason to ever want to.

If, after all this, you're still stuck on "Billary voted for the war too," then I'll just make one more point: I can't find the quote now but I just read recently that the range of "acceptable" Dem opinions on Iraq runs from Biden's "get it right" to Murtha's "get out;" it's only Joementum who's voicing the unacceptable option "stay the course."

4:14 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Okay, but besides the Terri Schiavo incident, all of the shiny examples you cite while rolling your eyes relate to the war. If you are claiming that Leiberman is the ONLY Democrat taking the "stay the course" position (and I'd like to see some proof of that because I think Hillary comes perilously close), that still begs the question of whether or not opposing Leiberman is solely a one-issue campaign.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Now you're being deliberately obtuse. Please explain how the Gang of 14 relates to the war ("We must not allow the Democrats to fillibuster or the Shiite separatists win"?), or illegal domestic spying, or his Alberto Gonzales sponsorship, or unconstitutionally expanding executive authority without oversight under the guise of national security.

Holy Joe is being targeted for being a sanctimonious, odious toad, and his irrational support of an illegal invasion is only the most odious expression of his toadiness.

8:44 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I am not being deliberately rounded at the free end. All of those issues, other then the "Gang of 14" relates to the Iraq War and terrorism. And why don't any of the other Democrats in the Gang of 14 have primary opponents supported by the netroots? You still haven't shown me what is so unique about Leiberman compared to other Congressional Democrats that he so desperately needs to be beaten.
Oh, and btw, just for future reference, "Joe is a poopy head" is not a very convincing argument.

9:32 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Here ( are some good arguments against Joe Leiberman, though again, they don't make him unique among Congressional Democrats and don't really explain the seemingly huge outpouring of anger against him. My personal theory is that for many progressives, Leiberman (who really does come across as arrogant and condescending at times) has become a symbol for perceived spinelessness in the Democratic Party and DINOs who hew too close to the GOP for the sake of political safety.

9:52 PM  

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