Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ned Lamont vs. Joe Lieberman

As some of you undoubtedly know, all hell is currently breaking loose in Connecticut. Joe Lieberman, an 18-year Senate incumbent, is facing a primary challenge from Ned Lamont, a local businessman. This race, initially not very interesting, has exploded into one of the most exciting things to happen this summer.

I've never been a fan of Joe Lieberman - Personality-wise, I find him boring, uninspiring, and slightly noobish. Politically, I viewed him as just another DLC moderate. However, over the past 6 years, Joe Lieberman has separated himself from Democratic moderates, by both his positions on the issues as well as his complete abandonment of party unity.

Let's take those two factors one at a time, starting with Lieberman's positions on the issues. I don't have a problem with moderates in the Democratic Party, hell, many people consider me one. I happen to be a huge fan of Harry Reid, the current Democratic leader in the Senate who is also pro-life. Why do I support him? Because he is a party stalwart - voting his conscience on the issues important to him but never, ever, throwing the party under the bus, and working tirelessly to promote Democratic values.

Joe Lieberman has consistently been on the wrong side of several issues. When George W. Bush was attempting to privatize social security, the Democrats in the Senate were *almost* united in opposition. Why was there not complete unification you ask? Well, one needs to look no further than Joseph Lieberman. While most Americans, and even a lot of moderate Republicans, were opposing Bush's proposed privatization of Social Security, Joe Lieberman (Along with 2 other Democrats who were from deep red states) publicly flirted with the idea. Why? Two Words: TV Time.

Faith-Based Initiatives? Count Lieberman in!

The Iraq War? Lieberman remains foolishly ardent in his support for a failed policy that has cost the lives of over 2,500 brave American soldiers. Perhaps even more quizzically he remains a stalwart supporter of Donald Rumsfeld, a man who obviously, has made a crapload of mistakes.

Now I'm going to get to the really, really sad positions...

Terri Schiavo? Ol' Holy Joe Lieberman was jumping on the Republican bandwagon there too - supporting Jeb Bush's efforts to keep Terri Schiavo alive despite her husband's, and HER, wishes.

Emergency Contraceptives for RAPE victims? 'Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so. "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said...' Yes, there's Joe Lieberman, telling recently raped women to take a 'short ride to another hospital.'

The list can continue for pages and pages, but the simple fact is this: Joe Lieberman's views do not represent the views of most Democratic (Not to mention Connecticut) voters. Ned Lamont's do.

But what about the second factor I mentioned above, how is Joe Lieberman working against party unity you ask? Well, we can move beyond the example given where Lieberman was fouling up Democratic unity against social security privatization, and take a ride back to the lovely 1990s. At the height of the Clinton impeachment fiasco, when Democrats were struggling to support Clinton, in ran Holy Joe Lieberman, firing off rhetorical moralistic broadsides against Bill Clinton, and playing right into the GOP hands. But presently, Lieberman's antics work every single minute of every single day against the Democratic Party. Every time he gets on the television and supports the current planless situation in Iraq, Lieberman gives credence the failed Republican policies, and makes Democrats look more divided than we actually are. Yes, that picture is real.

The primary challenge against Joe Lieberman is NOT solely about the Iraq is about wanting a Senator in office who represents the views of his constituents, a Senator who will not actively and gleefully seek to undermine his party and its principles. Joe Lieberman has recently announced plans that if he legitimately loses the Democratic primary, he'll run as an independent. So much for party loyalty or respect to the democratic and Democratic process...I suggest all of you to call your Senators, and encourage them to support the DEMOCRATIC nominee, not an 18-year incumbent who doesn't want to play by the rules.

Check out Ned Lamont's new campaign ad:

The first Lieberman-Lamont debate will be tonight, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, on CSPAN and MSNBC.


aria said...

we can start by calling boxer...

Greg Wannier said...

Poor Joe

Quite a fall politically from should-be VP of the country, to almost getting kicked out of office by a non-politician.

You have to feel for Joe a little. Here he is, doing his best to accomplish what every pundit in America claims to want (greater inter-party cooperation, going by his morals, being willing to consider issues and take unpopular stances if that's what his conscience tells him to do), and he's the pariah of the country. Not that I agree with his choices - but that's the point - he's not letting democratic lobbyists tie his decision making.

It sort of digs, fills, and covers up the grave for true interparty cooperation that we saw in the earlier part of this century doesn't it, when the one guy who tries is put on trial for it.

I agree that Democrats face a semi-crisis right now, that we seem to be unable to assert ourselves as a legitimate party with legitimiate aims at the majority, and that Joe isn't helping matters at all with his Republican-smooching - and for that reason, even I can't really support Lieberman over Lamont. But it just feels sad to me - Lieberman will be replaced by a guy who votes the way we want him to - rain or shine - and we'll lose a (admittedly tool-ish) diplomat to the other side.

The independent thing sort of takes away Lieberman's moral highground in my view, but I don't even know that I can really blame him - and I don't think that Lieberman in the Senate as an independent would be such a bad thing (Jeffords in Vermont is doing fine after leaving the GOP). Not that I'd vote for him or anything, which I guess makes me a hypocrite. But that's the principled idealist versus the scared passionate democrat duking it out in my head.

Long comment - hope it adds to the discussion

Kristina said...

Well I'm glad I don't live in Conneticut and have to vote on this because I guess I'm torn. On the one hand, I agree with Greg that everyone always says that they want politicians who can work with the other side and say true to their convinctions, yet we'll call them closet Republicans when they actually do.

On the other hand, there is a difference between being a bridge builder and someone who makes their party feel like he left them high and dry. I guess when you choose the role of someone who reaches across the aisle, you have to walk a very fine line and accept a large responsbility. There are many people who have done this well, Lieberman is not one of them.

In the end, I guess voters will decide how much that 10% of time that Lieberman disagreed with the party (albeit, very public 10%) matters. If Lamont seemed like a stronger candidate I would probably support him. However, I haven't been particularly impressed from his debate and the wish-washy stances from what I've read. So right now, I'm undecided...which I guess doesn't matter since I don't get to vote anyway.