The Editorials of E. Desiderius

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Monday, April 10, 2006

The Netroots and Lieberman: Why They Are Both Wrong

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One thing is clear: the left hates Senator and once time VP candidate Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Daily Kos has endorsed his primary opponent Nick Lamont, and the hysteria over his comments that he would consider running as an independent has exploded across left-wing blogs [1]. “Ego, they name is Lieberman. Even if the Democratic voters decide to get rid of him, he's just too important for Connecticut. Right, because Connecticut just can't get enough politicians in Washington who think the Iraq war is going great.” [2], sneered AmericaBlog. “Lieberman as God's gift to the people of Connecticut, as according to Lieberman. I imagine the Democratic voters in Connecticut are going to take a different view. They deserve Ned Lamont, and the country deserves Ned Lamont.” Proclaimed DailyKos [3].

Bloggers are in a huff over Lieberman primarily because of the Iraq War, but many staunch Democrats remember his denouncement of Clinton’s ethical lapses, as well as tolerance of religion in public life. On the issue of the war, he is one of the only high-profile Democrats that remains staunchly in favor of it, he has incurred the wrath of the party’s anti-war wing, with statements such as "I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead." [4]. It wasn’t long before Pelosi and Harry Reid issued a damnation for his deviant behavior.

The truth about Lieberman is that he is a left-leaning centrist, who believes in safe, legal abortions, albeit with restrictions. He believes in a progressive tax code, and campaign finance reform. He believes in universal health care, and expanded Medicare coverage for 55 to 65 year-olds. He believes that our homeland faces a danger from Islamic Jihadist, and that more money should be spent on homeland security. He is rather hawkish neo-con, who also is a strong Israel supporter. He issued a typical Democratic dodge on the issue of gay marriage, by personally opposing it, but indicating his strong desire to leave the matter to the individual states. These are the makings of a moderate; and a left-of-center one at that. Lieberman is not the demon that the netroot bloggers would have you believe. Instead, he is a classic Third-Way New Democrat. It is perfectly acceptable for the netroots to back a more leftist candidate like Nick Lamont. However, the large-scale denunciation of Lieberman that has occurred on the left since his presence on the Gore ticket is far overblown.

As for Lieberman, his promise to run as an independent is equally absurd. As Daily Kos noted, he would have to file paperwork the day after losing the Democratic primary, and thus would have to collect signatures while still running in the Democratic primary and before the result is known. Lieberman should accept that there is anger concerning his positions during the last six years, and should run a clean, honest primary campaign. If ousted by the Democratic Party, he should quit gracefully, without re-entering the race as an independent. Such a move would make a Republican victory of his Senate seat extremely likely, and 2006 is not an election year in which Democrats can spare losing seats in pity inter-party squabbles.

The left-leaning blogs need to accept that the Democratic party has room for dissent on the opinion of a subject as complex as the war, and that Joe Lieberman is not the darling of the Bush Administration that they believe him to be. Senator Lieberman needs to recognize that his positions have caused controversy, and accept a possible primary defeat with humbleness and grace, without causing a dispute that would surely result in his Senate seat being taken by a Republican in a crucial election year.

-E. Desiderus

[1] AP/Yahoo! – Lieberman Won’t Rule Out Independent Bid
[2] America Blog -Joe Lieberman won't rule out running as an Independent
[3] DailyKos - The ME Democrat: Lieberman Will Run Indy If Dems Don't Nominate Him
Joe Lieberman – The Wall Street Journal - Our Troops Must Stay

Posted by George Gordon | Monday, April 10, 2006 | E-mail this post

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