Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reasoned Discourse

I just want to highlight a line from one of the replies to Mr. Gerstein's last post:
Go stick your head back up Holy Joe's a** where you usually dine, loser.

He also called Mr. Gerstein incompetent and "a D.C. pimp." Now I don't know anything about what happened with Sirota's job application with the Lieberman campaign. But I'm glad to see such high-minded rhetoric coming from Mr. Sirota's supporter.

I find it interesting that this commenter and so many others on the Lamont side resort to name-calling. Mr. Gerstein is more than capable of defending himself, as he showed with his impressive and fact-based retort to Sirota's heated, name-calling reply. So I'll move onto myself, and hope that anyone looking to attack this blog as a Lieberman campaign set-up will read this and be preemptively corrected.

My name is Matt Smith. I started this blog and am its sole administrator. I live in Philadelphia, where I'm finishing up my Master's degree in educational policy. I am and never have been connected to Joe Lieberman or his campaign in any way, shape, or form; in fact, I have never volunteered for any major Democratic candidate except Howard Dean.

I actually would encourage any Lamont supporters out there to just try and find a connection, because I would love nothing more than to see Lamont-ites waste their time like that.

This blog was started because I was tired of seeing ridiculous, hate-filled quotes (like the one above) coming from Lamont supporters - and seeing those statements go unchallenged on the web. This blog was set up to provide a voice for practical progressives who wish to debunk the myths that are so frequently told about Senator Lieberman. As Mr. Gerstein says below, we had never spoken until two days ago.

In contrast to the person quoted above and others of his ilk, I intend for the posts on this blog to be rational and fact-based rather than hateful and filled with name-calling, though I obviously can't control those (including Mr. Sirota) who choose to comment on LieberDem posts. If anyone wants to read more about Mr. Sirota's job application with the Lieberman campaign, Mr. Gerstein said that he will discuss it on his personal blog ( ).

Hotheads like Mr. Sirota are just going to have to live with the fact that a sane, rational, progressive, regular old people-powered Democrat has started a blog which is decidedly not anti-Lieberman.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colbert talks Lieberman:

Joe Lieberman - America's Fox News Democrat

7/13/2006 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Colbert piece is brilliant, thanks. As far as a slogan for the Lieberman campaign, my current favorite is:

Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006

7/13/2006 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't post much here because it's kind of like trolling but I just wanted to say one thing. I have personally heard Senator Lieberman on Sean Hannity's show when Hannity has attacked Democrats as traitors and claimed that we wanted to lose the war. I have never heard Senator Lieberman give anything more than a tepid rebuttal to those disgusting attacks. I have heard him say that Hannity is "a great American." Great Americans don't attempt to divide this country using disgusting lies as Hannity has done over and over again.

I strongly defended Senator Lieberman through-out the primaries. I defended him because he does have a strong record of backing Democratic causes for decades. However, I can no longer defend a man that refuses to defend us against disgusting attacks by people like Sean Hannity and the rest of the hatefull people like him. If Senator Lieberman had defended us half as hard as I have defended him he would not be in the position he is in today.

Mike S.

7/14/2006 12:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...

While character attacks are too common a tactic in modern political campaigns, it strikes me that there is something unique about the campaign that has been waged by the Ned heads against the character of Mr. Lieberman. Their primary complaint against the Senator regarding his character seems to be that he has too much of it. He is too polite. He is too willing to listen to all sides. He is too respectful of those with whom he disagrees. He is too willing to compromise. He has deeper loyalties than those to his political party. He is too moderate. And, in addition to all this, they frequently deride him as "Holy Joe."

Do the supporters of Mr. Lamont really imagine that the voters of Connecticut consider "holy" to be an insult?

7/14/2006 12:55 AM  
Anonymous david mizner said...

Matt Smith, the 'sphere no place for the thin-skinned. Do you understand that you're using GOP talking points when you complain about the alleged anger of netroots activists? Do you have any idea how whiny, pompous, and out-of-it you seem when you complain (boo-hoo) about all the mean things said about Lieberman (or your colleague Dangerstein, who apparently can't defend himself) Especially since you fail to address the substantive criticism of Joe. For example, I'm still waiting for someone, anyone, from the site to address Joe's quote in which he criticizes criticism of the president. I'll say it for the third and final time: until you address this quote--you know the one--this site lacks credibility.

7/14/2006 2:42 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Ken, that's a very good point, well stated too. I also agree that Lamont's ProExpletive Supporters seem to trying to take down a man because he does his job correctly and well. Joe gets the job done because he doesn't alienate anyone, he works for all and he can do it because he cares for all. Lamont's supporters are sending out waves and waves of hate for everyone except themselves and as they are a small percentage of the voting public, sending out a message of Progressive Only and the Rest Be Damned is going to be their undoing. AFIC, Lamont's worst enemy is his own supporters.

7/14/2006 5:38 AM  
Blogger ReflectionEphemeral said...

So, some Lamont supporters have been obnoxious; so what?

From a pro-Liebreman commentor on your blog: "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."

That's rude, nonsensical, ungrammatical, personal, possibly threatening, and strangely hyperbolic. I guess now you have to start a pro-Lamont blog, too, to combat incivility from Lieberman supporters! Then a pro-Bush blog, to defend him from people who've called him Chimpy McHitler!

The fact that each candidate has some rude supporters does zero to answer the question, "Should patriotic Americans 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. He's told rape victims to call a cab rather than requiring hospitals to administer emergency contraception; and he voted the wrong way on Alito in the cloture vote, paving the way for his confirmation to the SC.

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.

So, rather than picking on a couple Lamont supporters who have said rude things, maybe you would like to defend Lieberman's record.

7/14/2006 5:48 AM  
Blogger Johnny99 said...

I will defend his record:

- Lieberman has voted consistently to protect Social Security. Did he want to study other options in the past? Sure. That is what thinking individuals do. At that point our party's idea was to "form a blue ribbon commission." I don't call that leadership.

- Lieberman is a staunch supporter of a woman's right to choose. That's why Planned Parenthood has endorsed him. As a young man he traveled to Mississippi and marched for civil rights. He continues to lead on civil rights issues. Maybe that is why John Lewis has endorsed him.

- Lieberman is a national leader on defending the environment, and his semi-religious take on environmental issues is brilliant in its appeal to the religious right. And it is working.

- Decades ago, Lieberman was one of the first state legislators in the country to support gay rights. Having a Senator seen as "moral" by most Americans support ENDA, gay adoptions and civil unions is a good thing.

- I don't want to waste any ink on Schiavo. I just don't care. As for Alito, the best way to prevent conservatives from getting on the court is to win presidential elections. Having effective progressive organizations might help, too. I don't think you can blame Lieberman for Bush's selection of conservative judges to the court.

- I, too, disagree with his poorly worded statement in the WSJ op ed to which you refer. But I respect his integrity for standing by what he believes. Our party has suffered enough from Democrats who continually change their opinions on important issues. That is why our party is seen as weak. In '98 he co-sponsored a bill calling for Saddam's removal. To not support the same goal just because a GOP adminstration is in office is playing politics. And he has criticized the President on his handling of the war - that is why he ran for the job himself in '04.

Lieberman has a solid progressive record and still manages to get things done in a polarized environment.

What are Lamont's progressive credentials?

7/14/2006 8:01 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Attaching Lamont to his bloggers at every moment available will identify the two as synonymous.

Keyword search "Lamont, Blog, and curse word of your choice."

Let the public see what Lamont has inspried--let them see who wants to be in control. Then let them ask themselves if these citizens, no, instead let's say nedizens are who they want making the important decisions that effect their daily lives.

Lamont has a bad identity problem, its who he can be identified with ~ his bloggers.

7/14/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...

Mr Mizner says:
"I'm still waiting for someone, anyone, from the site to address Joe's quote in which he criticizes criticism of the president. I'll say it for the third and final time: until you address this quote--you know the one--this site lacks credibility."

While I'm not "from this site", I think that Senators meaning, in context, is clear.

He first speaks favorably of some of the criticisms of the presidents plan:

"The response of leading Democrats to the president's proposal last week I thought was important and instructive. Most leading Democrats – and I include here the statements made by my colleagues Senators John Kerry and Jack Reed – did not call for an arbitrary time to withdrawal, but instead questioned some of the Administration's tactics and asked the Administration to go to the next level of detail on its proposals and plans."

Then he says:
"It is time that America’s leaders, in the White House and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, who agree on our goals in Iraq but disagree on tactics to start trusting each other again so that we can work together again. The distrust is deep and I know it will be difficult to overcome, but history will judge us harshly if we do not stretch across the divide of distrust and join together to complete our mission successfully in Iraq.

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

It is time for Republicans in the White House and Congress who distrust Democrats to acknowledge that greater Democratic involvement and support in the war in Iraq is critical to rebuilding the support of the American people that is essential to our success in that war.

It is time for Americans and we their leaders to start working together again on the war on terrorism. To encourage that new American partnership, I propose that the President and the leadership of Congress establish a bipartisan Victory in Iraq Working Group, composed of members of both parties in Congress and high ranking national security officials of the Bush Administration."

He no where questions the motives of those who wish to impeach the president, or refuse to acknowledge his office. He no where says that they are are disloyal, or questions their patriotism. He merely disagrees with the tactic, and has concern about what he fears might be the consequence. To say something is perilous is a different matter than to suggest it is treasonous.

Instead, he called for a substantive debate, rather than character attacks. And rather than demand a muting of criticism of the president's policy, he asked that the President, and Republicans in congress, heed their critics, and adjust their policies in the light of Democratic concerns.

Compare this reasoned discourse, addressing substantive, tactical disagreements, to that of Lieberman's critics who question character, motives, and loyalty. Compare, for example, to the zealots in this thread who insist that it is not enough that Lieberman consistently supports abortion rights, and the widespread avaiability of abortion and emergency contraception, but that he must also support compelling faithful Catholics who disagree to perform such procedures.

Is there truly no room in this party for those who tolerate respectful disagreement on matters of conscience?

7/14/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous david mizner said...

Ken Balberi. Thanks for commenting. They should hire you for this site since you're willing to do the heavy-lifting that they're unwilling to do.

You say that Joe didn't questioni the patriotism of those who criticize the president. Fair enough, but it's amazing that you have to clarify this point. You write:

"To say something is perilous is a different matter than to suggest it is treasonous."

It's perilous to criticize the president, a president who cherry-picked intelligence, exagerrated the threat the Iraq posed, and failed to plan for the aftermath? To criticize him, to mistrust him, is perilous? Please tell me, Ken, what has president Bush done to earn our trust. Do you, does Joe, trust President Bush? Isn't the job of an opposition party to oppose, to criticize? I'll accept that Joe wasn't questioning my patriotism. But I can't accept his belief that criticism of the president is "perilous."

7/14/2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Mr. Mizner-

You'll have to forgive me for not responding to your post. Please understand that I work two jobs - a 9-5 job plus a tutoring job. I barely have the time to write my posts, and have quickly discovered that I simply don't have the time to do much more than read comments now that most posts are getting 15-20 (or more) comments. If I reply to one, people will accuse me of picking and choosing which comments to reply to and which not to, and I'll be facing more accusations of refusing to do the "heavy-lifting" as you call it.

I'm sorry you took my silence as somehow ducking the issue; I assure you it was nothing more than lack of time. Besides, as you yourself said - Mr. Balbari did an excellent job of answering the critique and providing it's context. I'm glad to see germane, dignified, two-way discussions going on in the comments.

I hope that I've addressed this to your satisfaction, and in any case I now have to get back to work until at least 5 PM.


7/14/2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous david mizner said...

Hey, I get it, Matt. Work, we've all got to do it. Maybe tonight when you're done your day job, you can explain this quote from Time's Michael Ware. Peace.

"I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting."

7/14/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger ReflectionEphemeral said...

Thanks, Ken and Johnny99.

Ken: the offensive quote from Lieberman is less bad in context; but it is still plusungood, rather than being doubleplusungood.

Criticizing mistakes in wartime is the essence of patriotism. I want America to win the war in Iraq & the war on terror because I think America is greater & better than our opponents. So, it's super duper important to do things compentently, and to preserve things that are good about America, and maintain the moral high ground. Equating "undermining presidential credibility" with hurting America is just not what democrats-- small d-- oughtta think.

As to your plaintive question, "Is there truly no room in this party for those who tolerate respectful disagreement on matters of conscience?", yes, there is room. But they cannot then say, "hey, it's only a short trip to most other hospitals, anyway, for rape victims." That's what Lieberman did that has raised hackles.

Johnny99, Lieberman didn't want to study other options re Social Security; he refused to stand against Bush's phase-out plan when it really mattered. The good guys won that one despite Lieberman.

He weaseled around the issue when it mattered, because attention from the president and talk shows matters more to him than any asserted principles. It has been said of David Brooks that he writes "not out of any actual principles, but of a pathological need to seem reasonable," and of John Breaux that he "lives to split the difference." These descriptions better characterize Lieberman's determined triangulation, rather than allegiance to (always unnamed) principles.

I guess it's not too surprising that you profess indifference about the Schiavo episode. It's much easier not to care than to try to justify that assault on federalism, judicial independence, reason, and human decency.

You write, "I don't think you can blame Lieberman for Bush's selection of conservative judges to the court." No one on the whole planet disagrees with that trite truism. However, Lieberman does come in for valid criticism for failing to work to prevent the confirmation of those justices. Sure, their presence will in all likelihood be a disaster for every issue you've mentioned in your post, but hey, the man has a pathological need to seem reasonable. Oh, wait, sorry, "principles," that's what we call that, he has principles. Strong principles. No one seems to be able to pinpoint them, exactly, but he absolutely has them, somewhere, you hear people talk about them all the time.

I agree that Supreme Court-wise, it would be best for Dems to win the presidential election. By giving cover to the GOP for false, damaging stereotypes about Dems, and false assertions about the perils of criticizing the president, Lieberman makes that general election victory less likely.

I know nothing about Lamont; for all I know he's a baby-eating closet facist, or Canadian, or a cousin of Dick Cheney or something. But Democratic frustration with Lieberman is well-founded.

7/14/2006 12:48 PM  
Blogger Sundog said...

Taking a rabid commenter to task is the mark of a total Internet newbie. That's what they do, no matter what agenda they have. Welcome to the Internet.

People like the execrable Marshall Wittmann DAILY dump an inexcusable load of verbal dung on their fellow Democrats, insulting them in every way possible. So it's just a LITTLE hypocritical to call out a commenter.

I don't like to be crude, but I will admit that Mr. Wittmann's Karl Rove-like insults enrage me. The general tone of "you damn kids shut up" displayed by the Lieberman camp has enraged MANY of us, and it is ridiculous of you not to expecct some payback.

7/14/2006 1:56 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

If any of you people were literate or honest enough, you'd note that he never said he wasn't willing to accept criticism. You see, centrists are actually are willing to deal with people who disagree with us (I don't know if the people on this site are centrists...I'm just assuming).

All he said was that he wants to see the criticism be based on facts rather than name-calling, which is hardly an unreasonable request. Though $100 says you all aren't capable of being quite so civilized.

7/14/2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...

David Mizner asks:

"It's perilous to criticize the president, a president who cherry-picked intelligence, exagerrated the threat the Iraq posed, and failed to plan for the aftermath? To criticize him, to mistrust him, is perilous? Please tell me, Ken, what has president Bush done to earn our trust. Do you, does Joe, trust President Bush? Isn't the job of an opposition party to oppose, to criticize?"

I'll note that Lieberman never said not to criticize, only that we should "acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years". It was pretty well known that Bush cherry picked intelligence, lied about the threat, and completely bungled post war planning in Iraq. All of that was known by 2004 and the people elected him anyway. I don't think that should stop Democrats from criticizing, opposing, and maybe even calling for censure or impeachment. It hasn't stopped me. But I might not be a very good Senator, for that very reason.

Lieberman's position is that of someone who would still like to see the effort in Iraq succeed, and who believes that is still possible. His statement is clearly calling on both sides to put aside past disagreements and try to work together to address a critical issue.

There is a difference between constructive criticism, and "undermining Presidential credibility" in "matters of war"--by for example, calling for impeachment or censure, less than a year after the people have already had their say in a national election. The President has done more than enough to undermine his own credibility. And I certainly don't mind Democrats emphasizing that point, repeatedly, in the midst of an election campaign. But after the campaign is done, there comes a time to think about what needs to be done to make good policy, rather than good politics, in Iraq. And Senator Lieberman was calling on both parties to make that effort.

Democrats have also long been the party of good governance. And the Senate has long had a reputation as the home of the most deliberative of our elected representatives. If Democrats are to govern effectively when we do regain the majority, we will need more men like Joe Lieberman in the Senate. If, instead, we too try to make policy out of politics and ideology, as the Republicans have, then we too will fail--only in different ways.

7/16/2006 11:00 AM  

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