An article in this morning's Chronicle discusses this now obvious cause of Democratic inaction in the context of Liberman's upcoming bid for the Dem nomination for his reelection effort. He's got a challenger over which he's so concerned, he's set to run as an independent if fails to get the nomination.
Some party strategists warn that to oust Lieberman over Iraq would send a chilling message to candidates not to deviate from the centralized party line.I'm sure he's great on a lot of stuff. Except that, right now, our problem is that, to many people - and I wish more - that other stuff doesn't add up to equaling the one area where he's way off the mark. And as far as Gary South's laughable comment about Lieberman being a good progressive, well, how can that statement be given full credit? Like it or not, the current cultural understaning of "progressive" is linked to anti-War, anti-establishment Democrats like Howard Dean. Not Joe Lieberman.
"If we're going to purge good, progressive Democrats because they deviate from what the self-appointed grassroots of the Democratic Party believe on one issue ... we will never take back the House, we will never take back the Senate, and we will not win the White House in 2008,'' said Garry South, a California Democratic consultant who was a senior adviser to Lieberman's unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2004.
"On nearly every issue, whether it's labor rights, gay rights, consumers, the environment, he is a mainstream Democrat -- or Gore wouldn't have picked him, and I wouldn't have worked for him,'' South said.
Yet others cite Lieberman's announcement on July 3 that he would begin collecting signatures to run as an independent -- or as Lieberman called it a "petitioning Democrat'' -- even if he lost the primary as another example of putting himself before his constituents. It reminded some of Lieberman's decision during the 2000 presidential campaign not to give up his Senate seat, which, had the Gore-Lieberman ticket won, would have allowed the state's Republican governor to appoint a Republican to the seat.
"It's the second insurance policy that he's taken in his political career,'' said Donna Brazile, who as Gore's campaign manager recommended Lieberman as a running mate.
Brazile, like South, pointed to Lieberman's strong record on other progressive causes, his endorsements from groups such as the AFL-CIO, NARAL pro-choice America, and the Human Rights Campaign -- the nation's largest gay rights organization -- and insisted that Lieberman has much more in common with the liberal Internet groups than they think.
And as for the implication that ousting Lieberman over Iraq "would send a chilling message to candidates not to deviate from the centralized party line: I'd argue that opponents of Lieberman's hawkish ways would do the opposite and encourage more deviation from the centralized party line.
Because right now, the only centralized party line he's supporting is the Republican's.
Lastly - if grassroots aren't "self-appointed," they aren't really grassroots, are they.
Let's trade him in and try someome else. The new guy will be every bit as good on labor, choice, and gay rights - but maybe he'll actually think like a Democrat when it comes to long term national security and foreign affairs, instead of like a little blue elephant.