Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lieberman is Loserman

Sometimes I wonder what circumstances would compel me to vote Republican. I'd say a gun to the head, but that usually just reinforces my advocacy of gun control. I'd say a kick in the nuts, but that just reminds me of their bully mentality. I'd say being tied to the railroad tracks, but seeing as how the GOP has slashed Amtrak funds, I doubt I'd get hit anyway. Then I ask myself why I'm worried about these things if I'm voting. So far, I've managed to vote in relative privacy, in a booth next to a table full of septuagenarians who have my back in case there's a throwdown.

But I can think of one situation in which I might actually go GOP: a John McCain-Joe Lieberman presidential race. Granted, McCain lost my respect a bit by clinging to the administration that turned his P.O.W. experience into political R.I.P., but he still has signs of life. I can only hope that I don't have to ever face this situation; it's like having to choose between freezing to death or burning alive. Fortunately, current midterm trends are showing that such a compromising situation will probably never happen:

AP--Three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman fell to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont in Connecticut’s Democratic primary Tuesday, a race seen as a harbinger of sentiment over a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 2,500 U.S. troops.

Lamont, a millionaire with virtually no political experience, ran on his opposition to the Iraq war. He led with 52 percent of the vote, or 144,005, to 48 percent for Lieberman, with 134,026, with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

What gets me is that Lamont beat Lieberman based almost entirely on an anti-war platform. He didn't have Lieberman's experience, political clout or anything else that should have justified such a strong showing in the primary. But this is exactly why Lamont's victory is so important--because it shows that people are increasingly resistant to war as a political asset. True, it's only a Connecticut primary, and other races haven't yet made that point. But it's a start.

Joe Lieberman is the George W. Bush of the Democratic Party: a hyper-religious sort who doesn't exactly electrify the room with either his stature or his commanding oratory. Additionally, both are deeply committed to their respective causes: Bush to the GOP agenda, and Lieberman to, well, the GOP agenda.

Consequently, Lieberman is very popular with Republicans. I still can't decide if that's "bridging-the-bipartisan-divide" popular or cynical, "let's pretend we like this guy to tank the butt-kissing Democrats" popular. All I know is that I don't buy the line about Lieberman needing to win to gain bipartisan favor. The Democrats are in enough political traction already; uniting behind their most Republican figure would only deepen the wound.

To be fair, though, Lieberman would bring a much-needed trait to the White House: open-mindedness. While Bush leads with a "my way or the underfunded highway" mentality, Lieberman is more than happy to fold to the opposing party.

In any event, Lieberman is not giving up. He announced beforehand that, were he to lose this primary, he would re-enter the race as an independent. Now that's devotion to public service! Or political expediency. Either way, he clearly knew he was done for among Democrats.

The only reason I suspect the Democrats put up with him as long as they have is because they would otherwise look like fools for cheering the guy at the 2000 convention. Even I found that difficult six years ago, and that was before Bush so drastically lowered the bar for linguistics. Lieberman as Gore's running mate was a true case of, "anybody but Cheney." I guess they thought they had it all sewed up in 2000. Hopefully this primary showing will mark the beginning of the undoing of the damage.


Jester said...

Another leftist goes down in flames, eaten alive by his own party. Good deal. The DNC should change their mascot from the donkey to the one of the snake eating its own tail.

Ian McGibboney said...

Lieberman, a leftist? Funny. His political demise is the best thing to happen to the Democrats since Bill Clinton.

Cajun Tiger said...

Be careful what you cheer for. This will definitely bring the wackos out of the woodwork on the far left which will do nothing to help win either chamber back for the Dems.

Jester said...

Too true: Lamont makes Lieberman look like Limbaugh! (rimshot)
Tiger's right. Nobody but Lamont's supporters, the ultra far-left kook fringe (DU, DailyKos, MoveOn), votes for him. Last I checked that's not a very big group. It's one thing to win a small primary; it's another to win a big election.

Michael said...

Not you, too, Ian!

Lieberman lost yesterday because he was so busy kissing up to the Shrubbery that he forgot about the people who sent him to Washington. He's out of touch with his constituents, two-thirds of whom don't think Bush is worth supporting or that we should be staying the course in Iraq--at least not when that course is the one that Bush has been setting.

Sure, the war played a part in Lieberman's loss, but nobody in his/her right mind could believe that the Iraqi débâle would be enough to get half the registered voters in Connecticut to go out to the polls on a lovely day in August. Shoot, we have a hard time getting half the voters to show up for the general election in a presidential year, much less an off-season primary.

As to Jester's comment, well, I suppose Lieberman looks like a leftist when one is somewhere politically to the right of Attila the Hun. To those of us in the reality-based community, on the other hand, Lieberman was a right-centrist. He was a Republican in all but name--and I suspect that fact had more than a little to do with his loss last night in the Democratic primary.

Nick said...

Icon, you would call someone who votes with the Republican Pary 90% of the time a righty, correct. Hell, you'd probably even call him a far-right Repub. Well, that's exactly what Lieberman has done, except it was voting with Dems. 90% of the time. Lieberman does vote with Lefties most of the time, and is considered a leftist congressman by just about everyone outside of the crazied congregations at Democrat Undergroud and Daily Kooks.

Personally, I don't care who wins in CT, especially if the race is going to come down to Lieberman or Lamont.

Ian McGibboney said...

CT, I disagree completely. The Democrats have nothing to gain by pandering to the moderate-right, because that's exactly what they've done for the past six years. And look where it's gotten them! Though I can understand why your side wants the D-Party to keep doing that.

Jester, apparently there are enough "kooks" in Connecticut to make a significant difference.

Michael, I expect voting trends to be similar in other states. I think we're going to see voting trends like never before. And your point about Attila the Hun is the same point I've been trying to make to jester about the media.

Nick, like I said before, if the GOP is not all far-right wingnuts, then the more moderate elements need to stand up and represent. But back to your point: in your haste to namedrop DU and Kos every chance you get, you forgot to consider that Lieberman is considered a DINO by almost everyone who pays attention. It's not a talking point; all you have to do is listen to the man talk for about 10 minutes and you know.

Nick said...

But my point is that you would consider anyone who votes with Repubs. 90% of the time to by a far-right wingnut. Joe Lieberman votes with Dems. 90% of the time. The only time he does not vote with them is on the Iraq War, and if you look at the voting records, Hillary Clinton has been quite the Lieberman herself. Are you going to support her if she wins the Dem nom. for Pres., which she probably will?

I guess I've just been too dumb to realize that someone who votes with Dems. 9 out of 10 times is considered a DINO.

By the way, why are you concerned about DINOs anyway? I thought you were an Independent? That's why I never use phrases like RINO or DINO, they mean nothing to me.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, very few Democrats please me. I have issues with Hillary just as I do with Lieberman. The point is, ol' Joe has proven through rhetoric and relationships that he is more eager to go along with the GOP than makes me comfortable.

My dislike of Lieberman stems from his statements and his repeated contention that we must give the GOP the benefit of the doubt and trust them. His party affiliation is irrelevant to me, except in one respect: he represents the path the Democrats need to not take. I'd support Hillary before I supported Joe or any Republican, though I'd admittedly be conflicted about it. But what else is new?

As for my partisan affiliation, I don't have one. I am a liberal unaffiliated with any party, because I choose not to toe any straight tickets. How hard is that to grasp? You and Tom have such a hard time with that. You guys seem to think that no party affiliation means you are completely neutral.

Cajun Tiger said...

I hope all libs are reacting to this as you are that the lesson is to run futher to the left!!!

Cajun Tiger said...

Let's see...Lieberman voted against all the Bush tax cuts, against banning same-sex marriage, against banning partial-birth abortion, against the confirmation of Judge Alito, against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in favor of the Kyoto accords. Yep...definitely all center right votes...sign him up for the vast right wing conspiracy quick.

Nick said...

I understand that having no perty affiliation does not mean you're completely neutral. I'm not affiliated either. However, that means that the words DINO and RINO should have no real concern for you. And again, someone who votes with Democrats 90% of the time or more is hardly a DINO and would be considered one only by fringe Left/Democrat voters.

But again, I could personally care less who wins in CT. I don't live there. However, something is certainly up when someone with a voting record as liberal as Lieberman is considered by liberals to be aligned more with the GOP.

Ian McGibboney said...

CT, I am, as are most Connecticut voters, most focused on Lieberman's sustained support of the Iraq War. His attitude and his votes have continuously given Bush carte blanche in handling the war. And for all of the good he has done--all politicians have at some point or another--I do not think that his stance is where the Democrats need to go.

It's not that he's compromising (indeed, I wish Bush were more like that), but that he's basically a pushover in terms of foreign policy. Which is why I suspect the GOP likes him so much.

Nick, I AM concerned about what happens in Connecticut, because it may very well illustrate where we're ALL going to be as a country in the upcoming years. Nobody lives in a vacuum. And it's people like Lieberman who make me not align with the Democrats, because I wouldn't in my conscience vote for the man. Thousands of voters in the United States feel similarly disaffected, and hope to send the message to Democrats to stop trying to kiss up to the Republicans. Maybe then we'd jump on board.

Cajun Tiger said...

So he is wrong on one issue and it's walk the plank...nice big tent you libs have. Once again...please continue down that path.

"pushover in terms of foreign policy"

Are you kidding me? He is anything but! He is a man of convictions and sticks to his convictions despite what it means to his own political career.

A pushover would have voted for the war before voting against it or is that a flip flop...darn memory!

Ian McGibboney said...

It's more than one issue, CT. Politics is as much about name and presence as it is about issues. And, in addition to being an uninspiring leader, Lieberman is second only to Zell Miller in the right-wing Democrat department. Sure, he's cast some high-profile Democrat votes; but that doesn't make him some kind of activist. His economic stances are decidedly Republican, and he was one of the first to grant Bush braod powers in the wake of 9/11.

You seem to be telling me two things: 1) that Lieberman is a far-left liberal and 2) that, by dumping him, the Democrats are drifting to the left. Which is it? I think it's the second one, and I have no problem with that. Especially since it riles you up so much.

And I agree with what you said about convictions. But it's like I always say about other bone-headed politicians: if your convictions are wrong, then sticking to them does not impress me.

Cajun Tiger said...

Besides war on terror votes, please name me his right-wing votes.

How are his "economic stances decidely Republican" when he voted against every Bush tax cut?

Ian McGibboney said...

You know, Lieberman's sustained support of the war is enough for me to not trust him. Kind of like how conservatives often make or break a candidate based on abortion.

That said, Lieberman has repeateadly voted with the GOP on legal issues dating back to the 1990s: he favors the death penalty for minors, and limits appeals thereof; voted to build more prisons; to limit product-liability damages; and to restrict class-action lawsuits. Much of his retraction from these positions has been in the past three years, which doesn't smack of opportunism at all.

Additionally, he supports school vouchers (albeit in a different capacity than Bush--but I'm opposed to any form of vouchers); voted to deregulate electrical standards; voted for the 1996 welfare "reform"; used the Lewinsky affair to decry the national culture; voted to tighten Cuban embargo after voting to end Vietnamese embargo; flagellates between free and fair trade; is against gun registration and liability on the part of arms manufacturers.

And while he shares these views with some other Democrats, that doesn't make me like him, or think that he's the way the Democrats need to go.