Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bringing Down Lieberman Could Hurt Progressives' Own Cause

So says E.J. Kessler of The Forward:

Some Democrats are nervous that if Senator Joseph Lieberman loses his primary to an antiwar challenger, thousands of hawkish Jewish Democrats who see the Connecticut lawmaker as their standard-bearer will either abandon the party or sit out the November election.

That, say several political observers, could make the difference in some hard-fought Senate races — including contests in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — that Democrats must win in order to have any hope of taking back the Senate this year.


I don't agree with John Droney's ill-begotten sentiments that Jews should vote for Lieberman just for the sake of supporting home cooking. But from a purely strategic standpoint, it's difficult to deny that a prolonged, vitriolic assault on Lieberman would disaffect some Jewish voters who traditionally vote Democrat.

Of course, a Lieberman defeat in August would have negative repercussions for Democrats reaching far beyond Jewish voters. Some Republicans (like at GOPblogger.org) have already begun to use the vehement assault on Lieberman as evidence that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the most extreme partisan elements within their ranks, and gleefully predict that this will lead to Democratic defeats nationwide.

Think of the damage such charges could do in other Senate races. Conrad Burns has already been hitting Jon Tester for being a liberal in centrist clothing. If Lieberman loses in August, Burns could then add "And so what if he is a moderate? You can see what Democrats do with their moderates." The argument is obviously flimsy (Montana Democrats and Connecticut Democrats are not exactly cut from the same cloth), but history has shown that Republicans have a remarkable ability to get voters to believe flimsy arguments.

And charging the Democrats of not tolerating dissent takes away from what should be one of the Democrats' best arguments against the GOP - just look at what almost happened to Arlen Specter in '04, and what may happen to Linc Chafee this year. The Democrats have always had the high ground on being the "bigger tent" party from 2002 on, and moderate and independent voters have been breaking for the Democrats in nearly every poll since the '04 election.

The persistent attacks on Sen. Lieberman could easily turn off those key swing voters, and cut the gains that Dems otherwise stand to make in November.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article on Lieberman today at CBS:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/13/opinion/lynch/main1798658.shtml

I think this article really nails it as to why CT voters are so ready to replace Lieberman.

7/13/2006 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we are a bigger tent than the GOP.

That's well and good.

That fact does nothing, though, to answer the question, "Should Dems vote for Lieberman in this primary?"

He's been on the wrong side on the Social Security phase-out and on failed, misguided federal intervention into the Schiavo case.

Worse-- much worse-- he's suggested that criticizing the president in wartime is something like treason. That's an unforgivable assertion, by any politician at any time, and especially when the current president is so demonstrably inept and indifferent to facts.

Yes, you're right, the GOP will doubtless crank up the Noise Machine to spread the lie that defeat for Lieberman = moonbat purge.

So please stop giving them cover.

7/13/2006 9:48 AM  
Blogger Rufus said...

Oh, this is gonna be fun.

it's difficult to deny that a prolonged, vitriolic assault on Lieberman would disaffect some Jewish voters who traditionally vote Democrat.

1) American Jews are, as a demographic, better educated than most. I bet they can distinguish criticism of Lieberman on the issues from anti-Semitism. (And in the wake of the whole 'anti-neocon = anti-Semitic' kerfluffle, it's gonna sound even stupider than ever.) I'd say this is a very weak victim-card-by-proxy bit.

2) Define 'vitriolic.' Shall we define it in terms of Lieberman's own conduct? That would be a good standard, don't'cha think.

So what have critics of note said of Lieberman that's been more vitriolic than his behavior in the Lamont debate? Or more extreme than essentially accusing Bush critics of treason? Produce cites.

Some Republicans (like at GOPblogger.org) have already begun to use the vehement assault on Lieberman as evidence that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the most extreme partisan elements within their ranks...

Lieberman's been guilty of pushing this meme long before he even had a primary opponent. The most important reason to get him out of the Democratic Party - way more important than his Iraq stance - is to deprive him of a platform for smearing it from within. Constructive criticism is one thing; supposed Democrats who use their frequent appearances on the Sunday talking-heads shows to negatively brand their own party make it doubly hard for Dems to sell a positive brand image. The GOPsters can say, "this isn't just my partisan POV - why, even Senator Lieberman agrees that this is what the Dems are like."

"And so what if he is a moderate? You can see what Democrats do with their moderates."

We've got lots of moderates we aren't trying to defeat. We love Sen. Ben Nelson, who's probably to the right of Lieberman domestically. But Nelson doesn't spend his time tearing down his own party.

This is what we do with 'moderates' whose guns are strictly aimed left: we return fire. We're not Gandhi; we're fighting Dems. We like Dems who want to take on the GOP. We don't like Dems who kiss up to the GOP and attack their fellow Dems. This shouldn't be a surprise. And any propaganda points the GOP has here, it's Lieberman who gave the GOP those points.

So the best thing for the Connecticut Dems to do is replace Lieberman with a real Dem on August 8, and then they can go into the fall unhindered by the party's leading underminer.

7/13/2006 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lieberman got another endorsement from Ann Coulter today:

http://www.newshounds.us/2006/07/12/joe_lieberman_gets_another_hug_from_ann_coulter.php

What kind of "Democrat" would Ann Coulter endorse?

7/13/2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rufus-

You seemed to completely ignore two critical sentences from the post:

"The argument is obviously flimsy (Montana Democrats and Connecticut Democrats are not exactly cut from the same cloth), but history has shown that Republicans have a remarkable ability to get voters to believe flimsy arguments."

He never said the argument is good - quite the opposite. And Republicans have certainly shown that they are capable of getting voters to believe bad arguments. It's the only reason they keep winning.

Anonymous 2 -

Read up on the facts of Lieberman's history before you talk, because you clearly have no idea about his long support for Social Security (and against privatization) and his staunch support for abortion rights. I disagree with his stance in the Schiavo case, but I don't excommunicate everyone who I have a few disagreements with. Read up - the article below this one is a good start.

Anonymous 3 -
Ann Coulter never endorsed Joe Lieberman, and that you'd provide a link to the article which confirms your lie that is quite amusing.


Lieberman has been a solid, progressive Democrat for 40 years - just ask John Lewis, NARAL, Human Rights Campaign, and virtually any other Dem group that has been with the party for more than 5 years.

You all say that a big beef you have with Lieberman is that he tears down other Democrats. Act like you believe in that, then you'll have some credibility.

7/13/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lieberman's history is irrelevant. He may have been a progressive sometime in the past. Somewhere around the time Lieberman sold out on the Gore recount, something went terribly wrong with Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman has become an unbelievable Bush shill. All you have to do is look at the fact that Lieberman is a regular on Fox News, shilling for insane Bush policies.

What more do you really need to know? This speaks for itself. No insane bloggers or left-wing jihadists needed.

Joe Lieberman - Fox News Democrat

7/13/2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

"Lamont and the Left Wing Jihadists"

like Benny and the Jets or

Bruce Springstein and the East Street Band.

It should be synonymous and always said together--like peanut butter and jelly, fire and brimstone.

Lamont and the Left Wing Jihadists.

7/13/2006 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, if anything hurts Democrats in other states it is Joe Lieberman leaving the Party.

7/13/2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "left-wing jihad" is what real Americans call "democracy in action"

7/13/2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: agree with the democracy point.. Here is another example of how "principled" our favorite Senator is:

Lieberman Flip-Flops on Iraq
http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/frontPage.do

Lieberman is so weird. First he accuses poor Ned Lamont of waffling on Iraq (which he actually hasn't), then he goes and does it himself.

7/13/2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

"LAMONT: I think it's important to look at the facts on the ground, and we're not making the situation better by our frontline presence there.

LIEBERMAN: Absolutely untrue. I have said the sooner we get out of Iraq, the better. But if we get out too soon, it will be a disaster for the Iraqis and for us.

I fought this fight during the '90s when Republicans tried to get President Clinton to set a deadline for when we were getting out of Bosnia. It was wrong then; it's wrong now.

If you tell your enemy when you're going to leave, they'll wait and create disaster.

If you want to turn Iraq over to the terrorists, follow the policy you've enunciated. But at least -- this is your fifth different policy on withdrawal -- but at least you've said something, and I'm going to hold you to it. "

And what is that you were saying Anon?

How many people does Lamont want to see murdered by their "fellow citizens" with an immediate cut and run? How much forethought does Lamont actually have? Did he think about this at all? What is his logic here? Please explain why Lamont wants an immediate withdrawal and what he predicts will happen to the population from that?

Explain it. Succinctly.

7/13/2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Immediate withdrawal" is not something Lamont has advocated. Lamont has said that we should "start bringing our troops home now", but that is not the same as pulling everyone out at once, as you well know. Your distortions of this won't work.

The Lieberman "Stay and Pray" strategy is clearly insane, and even Lieberman knows it. Lieberman, finally bowing to reality, changed his "principled" position today on the Imus program. What's Lieberman's new position? Ned Lamont's.

Those are some "principles"...

7/13/2006 12:51 PM  
Anonymous centristdem said...

Lieberman, finally bowing to reality, changed his "principled" position today on the Imus program. What's Lieberman's new position? Ned Lamont's.

That's a lie. What Lieberman actually said was:

"The question now is what do we do to get out. I think the sooner we get out of there, the better for us and the Iraqis. But if we get out too soon, it will be a disaster for us and the Iraqis."

That's what he's always believed, always said, and you won't be able to offer anything that contradicts that.

But I can see why you would be confused. It's pretty hard for someone to take a position on Iraq that doesn't agree with at least one of Ned Lamont's.

7/13/2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

""Immediate withdrawal" is not something Lamont has advocated. Lamont has said that we should "start bringing our troops home now", but that is not the same as pulling everyone out at once, as you well know."

Oh, so Ned would like to see a gradual end to our occupation.

Like Joe. It's so nice to see Ned thinking rationally.

7/13/2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the "flip" that came before the "flop". These words came out of Joe's mouth last month. This is the Lieberman/Bush "Stay and Pray" plan:

http://lieberman.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=257662

Quite a far cry from what Joe "Principles" Lieberman said on Imus today.

In particular, note that the Levin amendment is very reasonable and moderate in its approach - start bringing some troops home this year. Joe voted against the Levin amendment (against the Democrats) on this just last month, now he says he's for the same approach.

7/13/2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger Ozy said...

Joe is done! There is no argument desired or requested. I see Lamont signs in the front yards of folks in other states. That tells us that the people whom Joe was supposed to represent have decided his Bush kissing, Fox shilling, Hannity hugging mug is no longer welcome “Among” the real Democratic Party. He has betrayed the people and the Democratic Party by selling out his principles for political expediency. Selling them to the likes of the faux propaganda group and the G.utless O.ld P.ricks makes me want to vomit! Telling the democratic voter he will run as an independent, if he loses the democratic primary race, is like pissing on my shoe!

This has sent a message to Clinton, Schumer and anyone in the DSCC. They had better back off! “We the people” in all parties are getting damn sick of the party bosses in Washington picking our candidates, especially in the primary races. If they don’t stop this attack on democracy they will be the next ones to get the boot!!

7/13/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Angry? Frustrated? Can't control yourself? Trying to be big, bad and mean?

That sounds more like "We the Bullies", it is a common thread that weaves through the far-left posts--do you have something to add to the discussion other than showing you know how to stomp your foot?

Lamont and his Left Wing Jihadists--the angry party that want to take control and do what, how? If Lamont can't work with the other side he's gonna get diddly-squat for Conn, and that IS the job--working for the people, not working for We the Bullies, but We the People, and the people include children and grandmothers from all families, regardelss of that family's political leanings. Is Lamont and his Left Wing Jihadists going to stand in the Senate and curse and swear and bully their way into helping Connecticut? He will be FrogMarched out of the building.

So what are you trying to represent him as? A far-left-only partisan politician? Or someone who KNOWS how to get the job done. Right now you're not represnting your man too well. Extreme Partisanship is going to get nothing for the people.

7/13/2006 2:44 PM  
Blogger ReflectionEphemeral said...

Wow, it is just plain bizarre to see these rage-filled, fact-free, pro-Lieberman screeds here, on the basis that Lieberman is a man who Knows How to Compromise. Right or wrong, that's a strange non-sequitur of tone and substance.

Anyhow, the bloggers here seem to be pretty calm and patient, so let's all just discuss this like grown-ups, if we can.

The GOP lie will be that Lieberman is being purged solely for not hating Bush-- ignoring his vote on cloture for Supreme Court nominations, his Schiavo grandstanding, his unwillingness to take a stand against the president's Social Security phase-out plan until it was already dead.

Please don't help this lie by spreading it. Instead, fight lies with truth.

(I was Anon #2 above. I stand by the assertion that the worst of Sen. Lieberman's offenses is that he's suggested that criticizing the president in wartime is something like treason. That's an unforgivable assertion, by any politician at any time, and especially when the current president is so demonstrably inept and indifferent to facts.)

7/13/2006 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had to go to this site, since my screen background is that huge photo of "The Kiss"..showing two failed hacks bussing each other...two little men, obnoxiously puffed up and preening, who find something (who can know what?) in each other's eyes. Lieberman and Bush. What a team!

And Lieberman's desire to scold Bill Clinton at a time when, as Democratic President, he was wholly under fire from the right-wing zealots, about to be impeached for a minor sexual indiscretion....who can remember that now?

And why, oh why, did Al Gore determine that he would make an adequate vice-president? Boggles my mind.

Can't wait to see him lose to Lamont. Hope he doesn't run as an independent and try to sway the voters toward the Republican candidate. Wouldn't put it past him.

7/13/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger toc001 said...

The last straw for me was Holy Joe leading off for the Repugs during the Iraq redeployment debate!

It was bad enough that he was one of the last to stick with the Dems. when the Prez was trying to privatize Social Security

7/13/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Michael Carmichael said...

Following the Israeli attack on Gaza and Lebanon, there would appear to be fewer and fewer, "hawkish Jewish Democrats." In San Francisco, three Jewish groups: Break the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for a Free Palestine, are posting a full page advertisement that condemns the collective punishment of the people of Gaza. In Europe, Jews For Justice For Palestinians (JFJFP) ran a full page advertisement under the banner, "WHAT IS ISRAEL DOING?" The JFJFP ad appeared in one of the most conservative newspapers, The Times of London, owned by Ruper Murdoch. Peace demonstrations are taking place in Tel Aviv, and Rabbi Michael Lerner says, that Israel has crossed a moral boundary. It would seem that there are fewer and fewer of the so-called "hawkish Jews" that E. J. Kessler referred to as supporting Lieberman. So, this political analysis is really a very weak argument in favor of Lieberman. As for repercussions beyond the "hawkish Jews" alluded to by Lieberdem - that too would seem to be a relatively tiny group and a very weak argument as well. These political arguments simply do not hold any water given the disappointing results of his presidential campaign and his current standing in the polls. If there is any reason to vote for Lieberman, his supporters should attempt to identify it among his positions on the issues rather than resorting to fallacious political arguments like Kessler's that constitute raising the religion card.

7/14/2006 8:12 AM  
Blogger Sundog said...

Of course, this totally ignores the news reports about prominent Jewish leaders who are not at all enamored with Lieberman.

Besides, this is a shameful point to make.

Let me clue you in here. Many of us are watching open-mouthed as Lieberman self-destructs, with his idiotic bear cub ad, his screaming defenders like Marshall Wittmann, and so on. This blog is just one more nail in his political coffin.

But please, don't believe me. Keep doing exactly what you're doing.

7/14/2006 2:12 PM  

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