Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's The Best Way To Win?

That's pretty much the question keeping Democrats busy as they stand at a political crossroads: do we continue our head-nodding commitment to demonstrated failure in the hopes that the American people figure it out for themselves before more blood spills here and in the Middle East or do we, like, start pointing things out to speed up national understanding?

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.

"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.
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.

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.

5 comments:

doughnut70 said...

I think the war in Iraq was a big mistake and I definitely don't have a problem with Lamont's candidacy, but I still don't understand what this Democratic strategy is on when troops are necessary. If we are going to say that is the central issue that divides the parties, then certainly the alternatives should be clear. The reason I bring that up was a story a couple of weeks back in the Los Angeles Times saying that Republicans after sinking for months were starting to gain again in poll numbers because voters weren't convinced Democrats had any real strategy for handling problems overseas. I think it's a fair comment, especially when you realize that many of the people who are complaining loudest about the war in Iraq not only supported, but encouraged the use of American troops in places like Bosnia and Haiti which were both expected by everyone to be much bloodier than they were. If Democrats want to be the ones making the rules nationally, there has to be at least some understanding of when they believe force is necessary to protect American Interests. As for Iraq specifically, most Democrats in Congress still waver on whether there should be a specific pullout date and don't bother to say what the criteria for a pullout should be. Given that kind of waffling, why should American's trust them. There is a very old saw in politics that it's not enough to say what you are against, you also have to say what you are for, that I think applies here.

Anonymous said...

"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.

What Garry South failed to mention was that he's worked for Republican groups before, here in California. And that he chose to work for Lieberman, in my opinion does not speak well for the senator.

doughnut70 said...

There are very few people in either party who have not backed members of the other party at some point in time (which is shown by how very few ballots are cast strictly for the party line) if you include ballot measures that are sponsored by Republicans, you are eliminating virtually everyone in politics in California. Garry like all people has a unique perspective on what it takes to make the nation better and they deserve discussion, not ad hominem attacks!

jvgordon said...

Regardless of the seppuku choices of some Democrats, I just wanted to say that I particularly like CD's descriptive phrase "a little blue elephant" to describe Lieberman. I can't say whether it is accurate or not, only that it is oddly evocative and cute.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think it's appropriate to point out that Mr. South isn't exactly Mr. Democrat, when he's the one quoted in the article saying, "he is a mainstream Democrat -- or Gore wouldn't have picked him, and I wouldn't have worked for him,'' South said."

All I was saying was that whether Garry South would work for someone isn't a sufficient Democratic credential. And in South's case, it's not even a necessary credential.