Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whither Lieberman?

Posted by Jabawacefti

Rich Lowry speculates on the fate of the Democratic party as it attempts to purge Lieberman:

A Lieberman loss could signal a turning point as significant, in its way, as the rise in the GOP of the Goldwaterites, who vanquished the liberal Rockefeller Republicans, or the ascendancy of the McGovernites, who sent the old hawkish Scoop Jackson Democrats packing. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Lieberman-style hawks left in the party to begin with, which is Lieberman’s problem.

33 Comments:

At 11:00 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Here's what i don't get about Lowry's article (and to be fair, it's not just Lowry who's taking this position):

Sen. Joe Lieberman has been a stalwart supporter of the war, and the left-wing blogosphere — representing the party’s mad-as-hell antiwar base — has resolved to make him pay. Antiwar challenger Ned Lamont is such a threat to Lieberman that the three-term incumbent and former vice-presidential candidate is preparing to run as an independent in the general election, should he lose the primary.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't the point of a democracy to vote for the candidates you agree with? If Lieberman's views are unpopular, and the people disagree with him, isn't that just sort of the way it's supposed to work?

There's been a ton of talk about how the "lefty bloggers" (who seem to have replaced the MSM as the source of ultimate evil, at least for the time being) are trying to make Liebs "pay," or how poor Lieberman is being attacked.

But the people complaining are the same people who regularly, and just as viciously, attack the dems.

It seems paradoxical, and hypocritical. You want power in the people's hands? You want the courts to stay out? Then why all the anger and outrage over what's essentially the democratic process in action?

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I don't think he's saying it's anti-Democratic. What he's saying is that he thinks it's bad for the Democratic party.

When the "liberal bloggers" push their candidates further and further left and away from the mainstream, those candidates lose their appeal to the mainstream public. Which appears to be one of the reasons they keep on losing, despite the Republicans repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.

I don't see anger and outrage (nor do I see where others see it), nor do I see what this has to do with "the courts," but more a curious acknowledgement of the decline of the left's anti-totalitarian roots.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

How would you define that decline?

I'd argue the opposite - that many conservatives are threatened by what they percieve to be a recklessly individualist opposition unwilling to put the needs of this country over their mistaken ideals.

That seems anything but acceptant of Totalitarianism.

Couldn't you just as easily say that the "Right's" recent embrace of wire-tapping, secret spying, torture as "necessary evil," limitless detention and curtailment of civil liberties amounts to a wholesale endorsement of totalitarianism?

I'm not going so far as to suggest that. You know already that I don't believe in monolithic power structures. But can't that argument easily be made in response? And doesn't that put into question the whole idea of one party knowing what's "best" for America and it's security?

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Couldn't you just as easily say that the "Right's" recent embrace of wire-tapping, secret spying, torture as "necessary evil," limitless detention and curtailment of civil liberties amounts to a wholesale endorsement of totalitarianism?

Sure. And it's a good point, if a little off point, so to speak, with which I'm inclined to agree. But it's still hard to fail to acknowledge the embrace from some on the left of the fascist tyrants they used to so readily attack (if not militarily). Can we not preserve some of the righteous rage directed at our President towards the fascist tyrants threatening to do so much harm?

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Absolutely. And I think if Mr. Lowry would listen, he'd hear concern over N. Korea, Iran, Putin's new Russia, and several others.

Maybe it's not that the "Left" doesn't worry about these things as much as it is that in general, the Left has decided that our priorities are screwy?

More succinctly: Why the hell did we invade iraq, when it was and is obvious that there are multiple, greater, threats?

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Haven't I answered this already? At least three times? Please say someone reads my posts.

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

You have. The problem seems to be that "the Right" thinks their answer to that question is somehow definitive, and should close the issue.

There are many people who would disagree with that, simply on the basis of preparedness for future war, let alone moral or ethical objection.

Just playing D.A.

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous portia said...

It's a myth that opposition to Lieberman is 'all about the war' in the first place. He's long split from the majority of CT residents' views on all sorts of issues: women, social security, foreign policy, the judiciary, etc.

I think I missed the memo wherein we lefties were directed to "embrace fascist tyrants;" would someone mind clueing me in?

 
At 1:11 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Can someone fill me in on what "women" issues are?

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Specifically in this instance, the big one is Lieberman's support of Catholic hospitals in CT continuing to receive public funding while refusing to provide emergency contraception. His "reasoning" is: "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."

78% of CT residents (and 74% of Catholics) believe the hospitals should be required to dispense the medication if they receive public funds.

He also takes a big hit from women for his Alito votes.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Because of his Alito votes? Care to explain this?

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I think I missed the memo wherein we lefties were directed to "embrace fascist tyrants;" would someone mind clueing me in?

It's not everything, but Cindy Sheehan, darling of the left, said she'd rather live in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez than in the United States. That's example number one.

Same with Michael Moore, also darling of the left, and his embrace of Zarquawi and his murdering thugs as "Iraqi Minutemen." Yep. And Stalin was really the Easter Bunny.

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Also, since we're talking about being out of touch, and resultant poll numbers, from washingtonpost.com as of January this year:

"As hearings begin today in the Senate on his nomination, the survey found that 53 percent of the public says Alito should be confirmed to serve on the court--virtually identical to the proportion that supported John Roberts' confirmation as chief justice four months ago. One in four--27 percent--say Alito should be rejected by the Senate."

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Hate to pile on, but Mr. Codemorse, if you could explain to me (and to those on the right not here), what specifically about my response you disagree with, then perhaps I can explain further.

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Sure. Of course, this IS stuff you can look up yourself, or perhaps already know.

Lieberman voted for cloture, but against the nomination. This allows him to continue bleating about his PP/NARAL "bona fides," (which is another topic entirely) while SCOTUS immediately decided to hear the Administration's appeal to the invalidation of the PBA Ban.

'Out of touch' means something different when one considers nationwide polling versus Connecticut polling.

Thanks for clearing up the Sheehan/Moore bits. I assume the Minutemen reference was to this (http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?messageDate=2004-04-14), which is fudging the dates a bit with respect to Zarqauwi, but yeah, it's MM's typical whacked-out rhetoric. As to the other, I'm pretty sure we've covered that ground.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I guess I should have been clearer. When I asked for clarification, it was not for lack of information, but for the apparent failure of that information to support your point.

That being said, you have somewhat clarified your point, although I think it goes to show how outside the mainstream some from the left are in regard to the judicial branch.

In order for Lieberman to satisfy the extremist left wing, he would have to support a filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee whose intellect is unquestioned and temperament exemplary (if you take the word of his colleagues on the Third Circuit and those who have argued before him).

He has to filibuster a nominee because he doesn't rule on what you want?

Lieberman wasn't appointing a member of the legislature (although some people apparently are under the mistaken impression that judges are merely super legislators in a different branch).

And even assuming Alito would have upheld the ban on partial birth abortions, such a ruling would be eminently reasonable within the Constitutional framework.

The role of a judge is not to decide whether abortions are bad or good, but whether the right to one is protected under the Constitution. Given Supreme Court precedent, an argument could be reasonably made either way. But to suggest that Lieberman should not have allowed for a vote on the President's nominee (even though Lieberman apparently voted against the nomination) seems to me to be so far outside the mainstream as to almost not warrant a response.

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

I think the point, which we've sort of meandered through and around and past, is that if the people of CT decide not to vote for Lieberman, that's their democratic right.

Painting Lieberman's opposition as a "mad as hell antiwar base" is ludicrious. Lieberman's record doesn't agree with a lot of people. Take portia's example of Lieberman's support for hospitals that won't dispense contraception.

All this other stuff is fun, but window-dressing. Lowry is intentionally misrepresenting the people opposing Lieberman with the same slanderous "rabid peacenik" paintbrush that conservatives have been using since 9/11.

It's cheap.

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

That's actually fine. I have no problem with that for what it is.

But the fact of the matter is there does not appear to be any room in the Democratic Party for a centrist Democrat. It appears to be, Michael Moore or bust.

When McCain deviates from the party line, he's considered "principled" or "courageous," or whatever he is. When Lieberman does it, he's...well, I don't know what you guys call him, but I'm sure it isn't principled.

I just think it's bad when the party submits to its extremist base. For Republicans and Democrats.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

I'd agree with you on that, Jabs. But I do wonder whether ambiguity on, or outright disagreement with, the war should put any person on the "fringes" of their party.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

A short answer to your question (was it a question?):

I do not think that disagreement or ambiguity on a person's position on the war makes someone extremist (as part of a political party).

There are opponents of the war who are extremist, and opponents of the war who are reasonable. Just like there are proponents of the war who are extremist, and proponents of the war who are reasonable. No crazy insight there.

But it appears (and I may perhaps be mistaken) that the real push and drive to kick Lieberman out of power is not coming from those who merely disagree with him on his war position, but from those on the radical fringes of the left who are generally disgusted with a number of his centrist positions, i.e., women, social security, foreign policy, the judiciary, etc.

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous portia said...

Yeah, Lieberman's a centrist like McCain's a maverick. How novel.

Jabs, you appear to be confused on a couple of points: first, that I'm somehow "radical fringe," and second, that the average person (right OR left) who disagrees with someone's judiciary votes (just to stick with a current example) has to have a specific amount of legal justification for doing so (which legal reasoning somehow is more prevalent on the Right? I think not). On the latter point I sympathize with your frustration as an occupational hazard, but it's still unwise.

Actually, I'd say you're also missing another critical point: centrist Democrats are not those Democrats who go out of their way to help the Bush administration. Rather, they're those Democrats who at least gesture towards providing some kind of Congressional oversight.

And on the first point, I think it would be unhelpful to our discourse for me to begin referring to your views as those of a reactionary conservative. Food for thought, and all.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Actually, I think it is you that is missing the point.

This entire debate is based on point of view. Whether McCain is a maverick or a moderate, whether Lieberman is a centrist or a Bush enabler, whether you ("Portia") are part of a radical left fringe, or whether I am a reactionary conservative/fascist, is all relative.

I obviously think of myself of a moderate conservative, libertarian, contrarian, neoconservative, classicly liberal, buffalo wing eating, Northwestern football team loving, superhero (minus the superhero).

Were I Michael Moore (God forbid), I might think that I (Jabs) is a fascist warmongering necromonger demon. And so on.

That being said, it is my humble opinion (occupational hazard or not), that the belief that Lieberman's refusal to filibuster a Presidential nominee because of his inarguably reasonable judicial decisionmaking as somehow violative of "women's issues" is, yes, I'm sorry to say, "fringe."

And to be clear, I don't think it's that bad. We all have a fringe belief or two, due to personal experience or otherwise.

When I was robbed at gunpoint with a female friend of mine, I thought the guy who did it should have been strung up by his balls (to the extent he had any). Fringe? Of course.

I think my views of what should happen to Andrea Yates could be considered fringe. I just don't care. We can call it my Javert complex.

But for future reference, you can call me a reactionary conservative, a big hairy Jew, or whatever else comes to mind. I promise I've heard worse (although admittedly mostly from ex-girlfriends). Just as long as you promise not to call me a Red Sox fan.

 
At 1:27 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Heh. Why argue (or care about) anything at all, then? Fun and games, I suppose, which is enough sometimes.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

This is the sort of argument I've dreamed of seeing here.

Thank you to all participants.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Good God, I'm a nerd.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Well, if you're not having fun and games when you're arguing, then I don't know why one would do it.

Other than the free booze.

Wait.

There's no free booze.

Screw it. I quit.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Man this was good. A touch over my head, but good.

 
At 4:35 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Hang on: I really thought this was an open-bar party. I am SO disappointed.

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

BYOB, hon.

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Grrr. And a corking fee, no doubt, you cheap bastards.

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

No, the corks are free.

We've got tons. Mostly so I can stuff one in "it" every time I start to run off at the mouth.

And who're you calling cheap? I've yet to see the customary "Thank you for allowing me to post on your website" sixer of guinness that you were expected to provide.

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous portia said...

Sugar, where I come from the host provides the beer, the guests bring the party. It's a good system.

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I totally get behind what Portia says.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home