Everyone talks about the Blood Angels. Fuck
that, the Space Wolves will take care of
the heretic Lieberman. We will do what the
Ultramarines could not.
A Troublesome Joe
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2006
Let's get the conventional wisdom about Joe Lieberman out of the way: Yes, he has become a target of the Democratic Party's antiwar ranks because he supports the war in Iraq. Yes, he's a part of the evil Washington establishment. Yes, he is every Republicans' favorite Democrat. And yes, President Bush once even hugged him. Worse still, Lieberman hugged back.
And so Lieberman is locked in a Democratic primary battle against political neophyte Ned Lamont, a wealthy, antiwar liberal with a very Connecticut pedigree, much like Lieberman. Maybe in another year, or in another war, Lieberman's forays across the aisle regarding foreign policy would impress Connecticut's elite moderates. Only this year, regarding this war, proper New England etiquette has clearly been replaced by a full-blown revolt. And Lieberman is the poster child for the uprising.
But it's too easy to say that Lieberman is endangered only because he supports the war and most Connecticut Democrats do not. After all, Lieberman is an 18-year Senate veteran with a past: He's the Democrat who angered liberals when he took to the floor to chastise Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He's the guy who confused moderates when he happily forfeited some of his long-held "new Democrat" ideas--like school vouchers for inner-city kids--when he became Al Gore's running mate in 2000. He was even willing to compromise with Republicans on real Social Security reform.
Blog fodder. That's putting it mildly. The lefty bloggers consider him close to the Most Evil Man in America, and their vitriol and name-calling are enough to make anyone want to vote for Lieberman. But make no mistake--that world counts, big time: Primaries are all about voter turnout. Turnout is all about intensity. Intensity brings out the true believers. And the Democratic believers, in election 2006, are against the war. What nobody can truly figure out yet is whether those feelings will translate to the rest of the Democratic ranks. Howard Dean expected it to materialize in the 2004 campaign; it did not--at least not for him.
No doubt about it, there's going to be a significant debate on foreign policy inside the Democratic Party before the next presidential election, and it's going to be high-stakes--establishment vs. outsiders; antiwar vs. pull-the-trigger Democrats. "We can't send the wrong kind of message that we don't take these [national security] threats seriously," says William Galston, a former Clinton domestic policy adviser. "If that becomes the public face of the party, then we lose."
They will quote any asshole.
The GOP has been a miserable failure in national security, as the burning suburbs of Beirut provide ample evidence. But it's the blogs with the vulgar attacks on poor Joe Lieberman. It couldn't be that he's out of touch with Connecticut voters, could it?
The fact that most Americans oppose the war really hasn't reached the Beltway, has it?
Atrios explains why Lieberman is unpopular
Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman
A blogger's blast at the embattled Connecticut senator. Hint: It's not just Iraq.
Many political observers have tried to paint the candidacy of Lieberman's challenger, Ned Lamont, as merely a referendum on the invasion of Iraq, which Lieberman supported. This newspaper's editorial board declared it "disturbing" that the senator has been "targeted for defeat by national fundraisers based on his foreign policy views." The reason for Lamont's popularity, explained the Washington Post's David Broder, "is simple: the war."
The war is certainly a reason — and given how events continue to devolve in Iraq, a perfectly sufficient one — but those who focus only on that miss the broader opposition to Lieberman and the kind of politics he represents.
For too long he has defined his image by distancing himself from other Democrats, cozying up to right-wing media figures and, at key moments, directing his criticisms at members of his own party instead of at the Republicans in power.
Late last year, after President Bush's job approval ratings hit record lows, Lieberman decided to lash out at the administration's critics, writing in the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages that "we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." In this he echoed the most toxic of Republican talking points — that criticizing the conduct of the war is actually damaging to national security.
Lieberman has a long history of providing cover for the worst of Republican actions while enthusiastically serving as his own party's scold. After the Senate acquitted President Clinton on all impeachment charges, Lieberman called for his censure. More recently, he rejected a call by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) to censure Bush over the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, calling the attempt "divisive."
Lieberman looks happiest when playing a "Fox News Democrat," as he did in a February appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program, during which the two exchanged compliments and expressions of friendship and Hannity offered to campaign for him. The senator seems to enjoy Sunday talk shows more than actually doing his job. New Orleans could have been spared the hacktastic performance of Michael Brown, the unqualified former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had Lieberman not shooed him through the confirmation process in a breezy 42-minute hearing.
posted by Steve @ 9:49:00 AM