Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Dissenting Opinion

If the Pentagon can use football analogies to describe the bureaucratic give and take of administration then it is left for the Senate to be described in terms of baseball analogies. In many ways Connecticut’s relationship with Joe Lieberman is in its 9th inning. In 2000, when Lieberman was the Vice Presidential Candidate and later in 2004, when Lieberman ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Lieberman was in baseball parlance, looking for a trade. The national political stage is the big show, and on it Lieberman has opened himself up to criticisms of being too much of anything but a true Democrat.

But the real question for Democrats to ask is not whether Lieberman is a purer bluer Democrat than the next guy, but whether a lifetime of service to the state can be tossed out because of post game comments that seem to provide “appeasement” to the enemy, in political terms the Bush administration.

And like a baseball game, the Senate, a body of only 100 players, there is no single Senator that drives policy single-handedly. It’s a body of deliberation, of give and take and of compromise. Where the unruly House can vote on party lines despite misgivings on any position, the Senate has held itself to a higher standard. The Senate is the check to the impetuous House. And like any good baseball team, there are roles to be played in the Senate that require special skills and hard work in order to win the game.

Under this reality, Senator Ted Kennedy can broker a deal with the Bush administration and push horrible legislation such as NCLB. And Senator Diane Feinstein can vote for a Medicare Bill that is also horrible legislation. But for Joe Lieberman, his comments in support of the Iraq war are deemed a betrayal to the Democratic party.

It wasn’t always so. In 1998, when the House Republicans were screaming for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, it was the deliberative Senate that checked the partisan fury. Bill Clinton would have been impeached had it not been for Joe Lieberman, stepping into the breach, and providing the very public moral scolding that diffused the momentum of the rancor amongst his colleagues.

The NYT has insisted that this race is not about resumes. But it is. In its endorsement of Ned Lamont, the NYT had one sentence to say about Lamont. The unfailing truth is that if Ned Lamont had been a Senator these past 6 years, nothing would be different. We’d still be mired in Iraq, Bush would still be appointing hacks to federal agencies, and the vote totals in the Senate would still reflect the reality of a Republican majority.

It was just last year when the Republicans under Bill Frist were threatening the so-called nuclear option, over the decision that some within the Democratic caucus wanted to stop Bush's high court appointments. Frist’s reaction was to threaten to change the Senate rules to permanently bar the use of filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Lieberman and other moderate Democrats then worked a compromise, with some more tempered Republicans, the gang of 14, that protected the right of the minority to filibuster court nominees in the future in extreme circumstances.

But back to Iraq. The war against the war, was fought and lost in 2003 and then again in 2004. Bush was re-elected, and gained stronger majorities in Congress. Instead of focusing on the defeat of Republicans Connecticut Democrats have put in office, the anger against the Bush administration has been pushed onto Lieberman, not because of his votes, but because of what he’s said in punditry land. Never mind that Lieberman’s position to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein dates to 1998, before Bush took office. In 1998, he co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act, which passed unanimously in the Senate, and made regime change the official policy of the Clinton administration.

Washing our hands of Iraq may sound appealing as a campaign tactic, but that debate revolves around our politics, and not about what is good for Iraq. And this thinking is so short term. Just as the Clinton administration understood the need for a stabilizing force to prevent Bosnia from igniting an extremist breeding ground of terrorists, so we must look at Iraq under the pragmatists eye of what could go more terribly wrong were we to abandon the country to Shiite fundamentalists.

To abandon Lieberman because he is willing to have this debate is an injustice to the ideals of a democracy. If nothing else, there has been too little debate about Iraq, and to stifle the very thing that a deliberative democracy is known for harkens another era in another sea change of armed conflict.

Lamont campaigns solely on his one note on his one issue, that he is not Joe Lieberman. But being principled despite the prevailing election winds is what marks Lieberman as the most JFK style Democrat of politicians. As John F. Kennedy wrote in Profiles In Courage, “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience - the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men - each man must decide for himself the course he will follow."

For these reasons we dissent with the majority and support Joe Lieberman.

22 comments:

BRubenstein said...

GAME Over for you Turfgrrl....the new 10,000 u to d's are Lamont folks....counting the 20,000 who signed the petitions..and all the rest, i see a significant victory for NED LAMONT next Tuesday.

If you feel confident that Joementum will win then make me a wager..

Blog Reader said...

Bill Clinton would have been impeached had it not been for Joe Lieberman, stepping into the breach, and providing the very public moral scolding that diffused the momentum of the rancor amongst his colleagues.

We will never be able to run that experiment (impeachment without Lieberman's speech), but at best you're guessing. There are many politicos who would disagree with you.

In its endorsement of Ned Lamont, the NYT had one sentence to say about Lamont.

At least three, actually, including the most important one: "We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut."

The unfailing truth is that if Ned Lamont had been a Senator these past 6 years, nothing would be different.

If that's your argument, then prospectively -- elections are about the future, remember -- Ned Lamont would make a great replacement for Senator Lieberman, because in the close votes he'd side with his constituents and with Democrats more often.

The war against the war, was fought and lost in 2003 and then again in 2004.

It was? The Democratic Party's position on the Iraq War was incoherent during that election cycle, and Lieberman had at least some role in that. The Party nominated someone who voted for the Iraq War and did not nominate anyone who opposed the Iraq War. Kerry's "voted for the war before I was against it" is now a legendary formulation, and the essence of his argument was "elect me, I'll fight the war more competently."

Incoherent.

To his credit, Kerry has changed his position. Lieberman hasn't.

In 1998, he co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act, which passed unanimously in the Senate, and made regime change the official policy of the Clinton administration.

That's a great Republican talking point, thank you (and Senator Lieberman) for that.

Bill Clinton did not unilaterally invade Iraq to effect regime change. The U.S. has plenty of experience securing regime change without war and invasion.

Just as the Clinton administration understood the need for a stabilizing force to prevent Bosnia from igniting an extremist breeding ground of terrorists, so we must look at Iraq under the pragmatists eye of what could go more terribly wrong were we to abandon the country to Shiite fundamentalists.

Bosnia is not Iraq. And there are a lot of smart people who think what you're describing is like trying to unbreak an egg. I'm very sorry Shiites are asserting their power in Iraq, and that Iran is now gaining power as well, but what did you expect? Shiites are the majority of the Iraqi population. A lot of smart people pointed that out before the war, too.

To abandon Lieberman because he is willing to have this debate is an injustice to the ideals of a democracy.

Actually, he's not willing to have any debate about Iraq. He's certainly not talking about Iraq now. Is there any mention of Iraq on his campaign Web site? In his campaign literature? All he says is that his position on Iraq is about "principle." What principle is that? The principle to be wrong?

Lamont campaigns solely on his one note on his one issue...

No he doesn't. He's got a veritable laundry list of criticisms against Senator Lieberman, and they happen to be policy issues. Though I think it's reasonable for Lamont to give war top billing since, you know, it kills people.

As John F. Kennedy wrote in Profiles In Courage, “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience - the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men - each man must decide for himself the course he will follow."

OK, but Ned Lamont's conscience dictates that the Iraq War is wrong, bad policy, and we must change course now. Kennedy said nothing in that passage you quote about which conscience voters should choose.

Don Pesci said...

A noble dissent Turfgrrl. You've made a better case for Lieberman than Lieberman has. I think he was intimidated by the opposition, always fatal for a politician who has taken a course that demands sacrifice and perseverance. Even as Israel now is under direct attack from Iran and Syria, we are still talking about WMD’s. Pitiful. And of course, you are quite right about Lieberman’s denunciation of Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes providing moral authority to Lieberman when he argued that Clinton’s actions did not rise to impeachable offenses. He put that fire out himself. It looks like we’ll have to wait for history’s judgment on the Iraq war; and depending on what we do there, history can be very stern.

TrueBlueCT said...

As 70% of Republicans like Joe, it is know surprise that Turfgrrl is a Lieberman fan. (too bad for her, she can't vote in our Dem primary.)

Democrats have been sold out for years by DINO's like Joe, who are far too quick, and far too happy, to reach across the aisle. Where will the Republicans be without him?

justavoter said...

Turfgrrl you have the right to your opinion but the realty is that you have choosen a road to defeat.

The Lie that you support is just that a hollow person without any progressive social values left in his system.

People have to stand for something and if they do not stand for in the Democratic Party Progressive Social values whats the point of a two party system?

There are people that think we need to include all points of view in the Democratic Party I disagree.

That why we have the Republican Party etc,Greens and other lesser known Parties in our State and Country.

All the Conservatives like you need to create your own Party or join Lie's Party when he lose's August 8th.

Bye Bye Lie

MightyMouse1 said...

Justavoter said, "There are people that think we need to include all points of view in the Democratic Party, I disagree."


That is the driving force behind the primary, right?

TrueBlueCT said...

JustaVoter--

Turfgrrl thinks we should be including her Republican point-of-view in our Party, that's for sure.

There's room in my party for an anti-choice Democrat like Rhode Island's Jim Langevin. As long as he doesn't befriend Sean Hannity, and/or kiss-up to George Bush.

Anonymous said...

First of all, very well written piece Turfgrrl. It's sad that so many are so willing to attack with such anger simply because you are stating an opinion different from theirs.

Second, thank you justavoter. Your comment ("There are people that think we need to include all points of view in the Democratic Party I disagree.")is just further evidence of how far left and wrong the Democratic Party has strayed. The Democratic Party was the majority party across the nation, because it did represent the "Big Tent". It no longer is, nor will it be even with the debacle of the Bush Administration, the war, the budget deficit and Tom Delay, et al. running Congress. The Republican Party will still be the majority party after this November's elections, all be it a much smaller one, because of the sharp left turn the Democratic Party has taken and the unwillingness to accept different opinions.

Just food for thought: yes the influence of the Religious Right is too strong in the Republican Party (although it is weakening, i.e. Ralph Reed's loss in Ga.), but there are many moderate, pro choice, pro-environment Republicans in Congress and Governors across the country, even beyond the Northeast. How many moderate Democrats are there? Other than Bob Casey, are there any pro-life Democrats allowed to run for office anywhere in the country? Sorry to pick such a prototypical "wedge" issue (and I am staunchly pro-choice btw), but it does highlight that despite the noise from the Religious Right, there is more room for dissent in the Republican Party than there is in the Democratic Party. Your comment is proof, and that is why you will continue to be in the minority across the country (sadly not here in CT, although Jodi Rell will be re-elected easily). You Democrats are doing what the Republicans used to do; remember, we thought it would be better to elect a Democrat than a Republican that strayed from the party platform? Does 1988 ring a bell? Republicans gave Lieberman the victory, and hurt their chances in Congress. This year, while you may still retain the Senate seat, your primary is significantly hurting your candidates for Congress and Governor.

So, I say "Thank you."

Anonymous said...

Turfgrrl.... Well I admire your courage to stand up and support Our US Senator Joe Lieberman.

I had written a post But the censors apparently trying to keep my pure disdain for Keith Crane off the blog.

All those Liberal Left Wingers are wrong I have known Senator Lieberman for 20 years and I feel he has done a great job and just Because Keith Crane doesnt like him and starts all this trouble with his website and then overtalks everyone with his liberal point of view I would still like to know Crane's background and why he hates Joe so much.

Anyway I was on a DTC in Litchfield County until Last Thursday I resigned Because of The pro-Lamont sentiment there.

I think Lieberman has done a great job and will continue to do so I really believe it isnt over until the last vote is counted and I personally think Keith Crane and The Lamont Left Wing Yahoos are too cocky, arrogant and way overconfident A lot can happen in a week. One stumble and NedMania could fall apart.

Good Post...Keep The Faith
GO LIEBERMAN>>>>>The Real Democrat and The Real American in The US Senate Race

bluecoat said...

the Senate minority leader Harry Reid opposes abortion in most cases from what I know; and as far as I know most Americans are pro-life but they don't all oppose abortion; some people can be so simple.

matt said...

Anon 422: "The Real American in The US Senate Race"?

Are you trying to suggest that Lamont is being supported by a foreign power?

That's pretty much over the line, I think. Especially since Lamont supporters go out of their way to protest similar claims about Sen Lieberman. It's B.S. - they both have very different ideas about how to further the U.S. national interest.

Anonymous said...

No one here will care but rest assured all those people overseas who rejoice in American weakness will revel in a Lamont victory.

No, that does not mean I think Lamont is some sort of un-American quisling. (He has no clue about Iraq other than blind opposition, but that's hardly unique or evil).

But unfortunately he will need to deal with his new offshore fan club...many of whom would love to see the Round Hill Club as a smouldering ruin.

Neddy, it won;t be the backcountry anymore

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Blog Reader said... "... Kerry has changed his position. "

Kerry changed his position?

I'm shocked!

My goodness that's not like him at all.

justavoter said...

Anonymous you miss my point completely so don't thank me .

The Democratic Party was different from the Republicans because we supported the Votings Rights act Womens rights,Equal Rights for minorities,Environmental issues etc.
When you talk about how the Republicans have moderates why can't we thats the problem we already have the conservatives in the Democratic Party in Washington and they have worked well with Bush and the Republicans.

If you want to start a moderates Party go ahead.

We need a Progressive Democratic Party one that opposes Oil drilling off the Gulf Coast which they approved the other day.

We need a Democratic Party that stands up to special interests in Washington .

If the Democratic Party gets rid of the Conservatives in the Party we will be stronger and win many more elections .

Because people want candidates who understand there concerns many in Washington including your buddy Lieberman the Big Lie do not are completely out of touch with reality and the Democratic voters here in our state.

Maybe you should join the Republican Party I am sure they will love you for it.

Since you act and talk like a Republican just like your friend Lieberman.

Wolcottboy said...

Just a Voter... said "
The Democratic Party was different from the Republicans because we supported the Votings Rights act Womens rights,Equal Rights for minorities,


Ahem...

Our REPUBLICAN PARTY freed the slaves. Period.

You can't begin granting rights unless the people bestowing or reciving the grants are FREE.

Wolcottboy said...

Turfgrrl...

Good dissent. It proves that the Dems are the short-minded party of this great nation.

Joe Lieberman certainly is a Democrat in all the major issues except the war. The Democrats still don't have a plan on how to get out of Iraq. He has a solid record on homeland security. Lamont worries me in that regard. Despite what I heard on the Colbert Report- his typical stump speach - If he decides to turn from Iraq so quickly, will he balk at Homeland Security measures too?

justavoterwho'stiredoftheBS said...

Justavoter sez ... We need a Democratic Party that stands up to special interests in Washington.

I heartily agree. Please begin with the AFL-CIO, after which you can stand up to NOW, NARAL, PETA and Greenpeace.

Or did you mean just some special interests?

Anonymous said...

Folks, one important Lieberman behavior not addressed in any of these posts is his failure to fight the assault on civil liberties that the Bush Administration has initiated. The long-term consequences of the Patriot Act and specific illegal activities by the Bushies in ostensible pursuit of terrorists endanger free speech everywhere. The other point I'd like to make is that Lieberman signed on to the outright lies of the Bush Administration about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the putative role of Iraq in the 9/11 attacks. It was not just that he backed the war in 2003-4 and that is "over" now. He participated in a BIG LIE propaganda campaign and has never repudiated his support of that effort.

CT-Freeper said...

Turfgrrl, this is an excellent endorsement of Lieberman. As a conservative Waterbury Democrat, I will be proudly casting my vote next Tuesday for ol' Joe, and supporting him in November no matter where he is on the ballot - row 'B' or elsewhere.

Are the Democrats willing to stand-up and actually be the big-tent party that they have always claimed to be? Are the Democrats the party of inclusiveness? Sadly, I think not - this title may rightfully belong to the Republicans. A Democrat like myself who is strongly pro-life can hardly get a break (with some very few exceptions), yet pro-choice Republicans are plentiful.

So Lieberman supports the War on Terror. Good! We should all want to see terrorists eradicated from the globe. Is this the only thing Lamont has on him? It is pathetic to see so many people ditching Lieberman – who has helped out Connecticut tremendously (Groton Sub base, anyone?) – in favor of a one-issue candidate.

Anonymous said...

I was voting for Lamont because I felt that Joe had strayed from the party. This commentary puts things in another perspective. I'm voting for Joe.

justavoter said...

I have to laugh at this Anonymous said...
I was voting for Lamont because I felt that Joe had strayed from the party. This commentary puts things in another perspective. I'm voting for Joe.

11:16 AM, August 02, 2006

How shallow a mind have you if I tell you the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale will you buy it because I said its for sale.

If you truly understand the issues and really supported Lamont then you would understand that Leiberman worked with the Republican Party and Bush to Privatize Social Security,He supported a bad energy bill in 2005,he voted against John Kerry and another Senate bill on Cspan to prevent bringing the troops hope at some point.

He voted with the Senate Republicans a few weeks ago on this Do you support the War?

What Leiberman has done in the past is not the same Lieberman you see today in 2006 if it was we would all be supporting him.

I suggest you dig deeper into what Leiberman has done on behalf of President Bush and his friends in the Republican Party.

I now wonder weather you really were a Lamont supporter.

As far CT-Freeper a Conservative Democrat voting for Lieberman go join the Republican Party Conservatives your in the wrong party and when some say the Democratic Party needs to be a big tent that been the problem in recent years.

We lose elections because we do not stand up to the Conservatives in the Republican and Democratic Party in Washington D.C. .

Will be a a better party once the Leibermans in office are defeated by progressive Democrats.

So to that proud Waterbury Conservative. You are a Democrat registered but your a Conservative.

What we need to do is get rid of big corperate control of the Democratic Party they are the special interests that control our party.

I say what I think and I have nothing good to say about Conservatives and lobbyists of big companies who want to control the Democratic Party .

The old machine needs to go for good.

The only people not happy with Progressive Democrats are the Conservatives who support Leiberman.

If you support Lieberman then you support stay the course and President Bush.Its that simply will you be a Democrat or a Bush supporter on August 8th?

cgg said...

Our REPUBLICAN PARTY freed the slaves. Period.

And only a few decades down the road enacted the Southern Strategy. You know your civil rights record is poor when the last thing you can point to happened in 1865.