Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Donkey post, Iraq, and education

Good post today over at the New Donkey blog. It combines some reasoned criticisms of Lieberman with refutations of the hyperbolic statements that are so frequently made about him. The post is lengthy, but well worth the read. Here are the last couple paragraphs, which I particularly liked:
I frankly do not agree with either side of the Lieberman-Lamont fight in their contention that this is some sort of Democratic Gotterdammarung that will perpetually resolve every intraparty dispute. Much as I stubbornly admire Joe Lieberman, it's clear he is a clumsy politician who lives in the pre-Karl-Rove atmosphere that permitted genuine bipartisanship. The Clinton New Democrat tradition in the party would survive his defeat.

But I also think the savaging of Lieberman as "vicious and reactionary" is a terrible sign of the defection of many progressives from reality-based politics. And to respond specifically to Matt Stoller's questions, the idea that Joe is the epitome of the "Democratic establishment" is a krazy-kat reflection of the false belief that Clintonism completely conquered Washington, and is the source of every D.C. establishment vice. If you took a straw poll of the consultants, the DNC types, and safe-seat House Members who surely represent an important part of the D.C. Democratic Establishment, I doubt you'd find anything like majority support for Joe Lieberman. He's only the embodiment of the Establishment when viewed through the looking glass of those who view all their friends as brave insurgents, and all their enemies as The Man.
I do, believe it or not, agree that Lieberman's view of the role of bipartisanship is outdated. I think it's one of two major topics, the other being the Iraq War, on which Lieberman's outlook is unjustifiably optimistic.

Since I've mentioned it, I'll use this opportunity to clarify my personal take on the Iraq War. First, I do believe Saddam Hussein needed to be removed from power, but I would not have voted for the resolution which gave Bush the authorization to use force in Iraq. Simply put, I think that any full-scale invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation should be done only with the active participation of the U.N. Security Council, or at least NATO (which was used in the Kosovo intervention). Coalitions of the willing are simply not a substitute for a true international force. Saddam Hussein was an absolutely brutal dictator whose regime needed to be changed, but it's not the job of the United States to decide when and how that regime change should have happened. In the words of my favorite author on foreign policy, Joseph Nye - right war, wrong time, wrong way.

In the years since the Iraq War began, Lieberman has refused to acknowledge the inevitable result of occupying a nation larger than California without a strong international mandate. His outlook on Iraq seems Panglossian in its outlook. In fact, I am often reminded of a lyric sung by Pangloss in Leonard Bernstein's operatic version of Candide when I think of Lieberman's persistent optimism on Iraq - "I've clung to my sanguine position/In the teeth of the ugliest facts." (Sorry...8 years of singing musical theater was bound to find its way into this blog sooner or later)

So there you have it. I disagree with Lieberman on Iraq and quite strongly. If you want to slam his position on it, you won't get any argument from me. What I will argue with is the notion that Iraq is all that matters, or even that it's more important than all the other vital issues facing this country.

If I had to zero in on one issue that is most important to me, it would definitely be education.
On this issue, Joe Lieberman has been a leader in fighting for greater educational opportunities for underprivileged students. It is often forgotten in the progressive blogosphere that the education system in this country is broken for tens of millions of students, and few leaders in either party have shown the political courage necessary to instigate real change.

Despite all the heat that No Child Left Behind gets from both ends of the political spectrum, NCLB represents the biggest push to improve the quality of education for underserved students since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. For that reason, I believe Lieberman was absolutely right to join Ted Kennedy in leading the Democrats' push for its passage. But George Bush went onto ensure that the act's title became a horrible irony. The fact that George Bush and Tom DeLay refused to provide the funding for NCLB is a despicable insult to the millions of students and teachers whose schools desperately need the money promised by NCLB, but who were shafted out of it by the GOP leadership.

I have spent the last two years studying education policy, particuarly its impact on low-income and minority students, and have personally seen failing inner city schools in Philadelphia. The students at these schools will never have a fair chance without the money promised by NCLB, and Lieberman has been among the most vocal proponents of fully funding NCLB. He has also repeatedly pushed for expanding access to and increasing the size of Pell Grants, which remains the most progressive financial aid program ever introduced in this country, and has fought against efforts to increase the interest rates on Stafford Loans. Even without bringing in his strong advocacy for the environment, stem cell research, and civil rights (the other issues which I feel most strongly about), Lieberman's strong progressive record on education nearly offsets my strong disagreement with him over Iraq.

I realize that I will never be able to convince someone that Lieberman is acceptable if their opposition to the Iraq War is so strong that they can see little else. But I think that such a single-minded focus on the war is a grave mistake when there are so many other problems in the country which will affect tens of millions of Americans for decades after the Iraq War ends.

34 Comments:

Blogger babablacksheep said...

Matt,

Thanks for the new post, and the opportunity to start a new thread.

Do you see any difference between the Lamont and the Lieberman approach to education. Obviously Lamont cares about education, given that he has volunteered in an inner city high school.

8/01/2006 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006

8/01/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I greatly respect Lamont's volunteering in inner city schools, and wish that more people chose to follow his lead. But the problems that face the education system are so widespread and complex that mere commitment to educational improvements and limited on-the-ground experience in schools is not going to be sufficient to make real progress.

The convoluted tax structures, bureaucracies, and politics behind education policy are so complex that it is difficult for me to imagine that someone with no experience working in the field of educational policy will be able to make an impact in the near future. Since educational improvements are desperately needed in the near future, this is one of those areas where I think experience is a vital factor.

I will say that I think Lamont has the intelligence and initiative to learn the ropes quickly, but Lieberman has the experience and a proven record on the issue that is impossible for me to ignore.

Hope that answers your question, and have a good night. I need to get back to fixing my a/c...

- Matt

8/01/2006 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Vote4Joe said...

Great post, Matt! Thanks!

On another note ... I don't get "Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006." Did somebody really sit down, think that up, and then post it over and over again, thinking that others would get it????

8/01/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Unfortunately, NCLB is one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated on the American people.

Nobody ever asked the people who actually KNOW something about education--the teachers--for their input. It isn't enough to "study" the issue and blather about "reform" when the person pushing it hasn't a clue what really goes on in schools.

This law was a con pushed by the likes of the Business Roundtable and by groups wanting an excuse to push vouchers through the backdoor.

I have NEVER, EVER met a teacher who thought this unfunded mandate--NOT required of the joke "superior" private schools--was any good.

Lieberman was wrong on this, but so were many, many politicians.

8/01/2006 9:08 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Lieberdem, with all due respect you are peddling falsehoods about the state of public education. Some of us out here really DO know what we are talking about and are stuck with having to implement garbage you "reformers" are trying to shove down our throats.

8/01/2006 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lieberdem, I'm so glad I found this website. This really should be a one-issue campaign about No Child Left Behind and Senator Joseph Lieberman's leadership on public education (and vouchers for private schools).

I hope people realize that this is much more important that the War in Iqaq, especially because Senator Lieberman told as during the July 6th debate with his opponent that the situation in Iraq is improving and better than it was a year ago. And he should know, because he has been to Iraq and seen for himself the good news that the LIBERAL press refuses to report and he has been a senator for 18 years.

Thank you Lieberdem. Keep up the great work.

8/02/2006 1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thought from this insomniac fan of Senator Joe Lieberman.

As other Jewish supporters of Joe know, 18 is a very special number in Jewish tradition, represented in Hebrew by the character "Chai" which is also the word for "Life."

Wikipedia says,

There have been various mystical numerological speculations about the fact that according to the system of gematria, the letters of chai add up to 18 (see "Jewish use of the Tetragrammaton" and "Lamedvavniks"). For this reason, 18 is a lucky number in Judaism, and many Jews give gifts of money in multiples of 18 as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chai_%28symbol%29

And because Joe has been a senator for 18 years, this is a very lucky year for him! (For example, he has been able to raise $10 million dollars in this campaign, much more than he raised for other compaigns, and he will spend more than three times as much as his opponent! Go Joe!)

So I'm voting for Joe, because I thnk he deserves another 18 years in the senate (I think an additional 36 years is just too much to expect).

This feels like a very lucky year for Joe. Lucky 18! Let's work hard over the next 6 days to give him a well-deserved gift of another 18 years for Joe!

8/02/2006 2:16 AM  
Anonymous soccermom said...

Good morning! This blog goes well with my first cup of coffee for the day.

I really do appreciate Joe's leadership on education issues and his ability to work with his powerful friends across the aisle to increase federal funding through NCLB, or at least I think that must be true. But we must be careful about making this the signature issue for our campaign. I did a google search, and some problematic stuff come up.

Lieberdem, we must be careful not to call attention to this...

On the heels of the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, the Connecticut Education Association endorsed Ned Lamont today. There will be a press conference tomorrow officially announcing the support: AFT boasts 26,000 members including Hartford teachers, paraprofessionals and educational personnel. Connecticut Education Association (CEA) represents more than 36,000 members in Connecticut.

and another article...

The state's two major teachers' unions threw their endorsement to the Greenwich-based challenger in a press event outside a Hartford middle school.

The two unions, the AFT-Connecticut and the Connecticut Education Association, have never endorsed Lieberman in his three previous Senate campaigns.

8/02/2006 2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt Smith, kudos to you for having the courage to say, "Lieberman's strong progressive record on education nearly offsets my strong disagreement with him over Iraq."

I think this deserves repeating with emphasis: Lieberman's strong progressive record on education nearly offsets my strong disagreement with him over Iraq.

-- With Senator Liebermans many years of experience and his strong principles we can be thankful that the federal government spends MORE than one tenth as much on education as the war in Iraq!

-- I konw it is hard to think about moral equivalency with an issue as important as education, but with LESS than 100 people dying violently per day in Iraq, I'd say education is more important. But if it gets to be worse, say maybe 120 people per day, then I think I would have say that Iraq is slightly more important. What do you think?

-- I think Lieberman may have been on to something with this school vouchers idea. Maybe if we gave out school vouchers in Iraq, the kids might be able to go to a safer school. Just brainstorming.

-- Lamont is wrong to say that it would be better to spend the $250 illion per day that we currently spend on Iraq and invest it in education and other priorities. We are getting very good value for what we spend in Iraq. It is making us safer, I think, and isn't it better to fight the terrorists over there than to invest in education over here.

-- During the past 17 months, Joe Lieberman has visited Iraq four times to EDUCATE us about the situation there.

8/02/2006 3:24 AM  
Anonymous CT GOP said...

I'm glad you're rallying the troops back to Joe. Republicans want to help.

8/02/2006 5:31 AM  
Blogger babablacksheep said...

Lieberdem,

This is a sincere question.

(1) You and most CT democrats don't agree with Lieberman on his positions on the War and his perception of how well things are going there. And he keeps saying this is a "one-issue" campaign, which means that he does not believe there are significant policy or ideology difference with Lamont.

(2) Pretty much everyone agrees that Lieberman's "bipartisanship" among Democrats in counter-productive in the age of Karl Rove. Lieberman has been worse than ineffective, he has actually enabled the Republicans to push their extreme agenda.

Therefore, wouldn't Connecticut be better served by Lamont, who has proven himself to be a good candidate, a strong, articulate, likeable voice with positions that are more consistent with the views of CT voters.

8/02/2006 5:58 AM  
Blogger Y.G. Brown said...

Considering that I have been called a Nazi and received two emailed death threats in the past three weeks, being called a campaign plant by people who know nothing about me actually feels like an improvement. - LieberDem (the guy), 7/31/06

Awww... you were called a NAZI?! Damn. I gotta say, that is completely inappropriate and utterly beneath contempt. I would hope that if that happed on a blog that the Site Administrator promptly denounced such anti-semitic, hateful, childish ad hominem attacks.

What's the matter guys, is Ned Lamont a racist?? According to this little article, I just think he could be. Ned is a loser, just like all you Lamont Nazi's are. - LieberDem (the site, brought to you by LieberDem the guy), 7/19/06

Last, I said that you were either a shill or that you got played by Gerstein. Sounds like you are declaring the correct answer to be "played." You and he keep making these absurd distinctions (he wasn't a site admin, he is only the official spokesman for the campaign but not the paid official spokesman for the campaign, etc.) because you know that the credibility of this site is toast.

8/02/2006 5:59 AM  
Blogger babablacksheep said...

Good post y.g. brown.

It is too bad that this blog is not credible, because it would be good to have some kind of voice representing the Lieberman campaign besides a stealth campaign bus tour, paid ads, paid LieberYouth, and sleazy flyers, so we could have a real discussion.

The content of this site always seemed to look like (bad) press materials, long-winded diatribes and long lists of info.

8/02/2006 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006

8/02/2006 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Red State Donkey said...

On the topic of NewDonkey, new Democrats, and Clinton...

Apparently Bill Clinton received a standing ovation from a largely anti-war crowd at Benaroya Hall in Seattle after speaking to supporters of Rep. Jim McDermott. He did it by doing something you rarely if ever see from the anti-war/far left crowd - lining up an agenda of issues Democrats can agree on for the midterm elections and work on if they retake the House and/or Senate.

A standing ovation. From a far left crowd. But it gets even more interesting.

The agenda put forth by Clinton - the issues and policy proposals which ranged from increasing the minimum wage to restoring college loans - are backbones of the DLC’s American Dream Initiative, the plan that has been savaged by the left for being “rightwing.” But without attaching the DLC’s name to it, the meat of the plan got the big standing “O” from the “progressive” crowd. Which indicates two things:

1. Clinton is a very effective and influential leader
2. The DLC has totally become the left’s “boogyman.”

8/02/2006 7:02 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Quick round-up before I head off to work:

First, NCLB certainly did take into account the input of teachers when it was being formed, both directly and indirectly (many of the programs included in NCLB were part of state-level programs backed by teachers unions). There obviously was no nationwide referendum from teachers on what they thought of the act, but that would not have been feasible.

I actually disagree with many of the provisos of NCLB dealing with accountability, which are the ones most frequently objected to by teachers. But the additional funding could not have been included in the bill without accountability measures - moderates and conservatives would not have signed onto such a large spending increase on education without them. Do I think NCLB was the best possible way to go about improving the schools? Absolutely not. But it was the first effort in 40 years to increase funding for and improve the quality of schools that serve low-income and minority students. And in that area we need to try something.

That's why I do know many teachers who support NCLB in principle, though certainly not the way it has been implemented. You spoke the magic words - unfunded mandate. The program is mere punishment for students without the funding for it that has been withheld by Bush and the GOP leadership in Congress.

Also, please don't assume my level of personal knowledge about public schools. I might not have been a public school teacher, but I have made countless trips to schools in urban Philadelphia and have seen how impossible it is for students to learn when there are nearly 40 students in a class and 2 students to a textbook, and the classroom itself has two leaks in the ceiling. Beyond that, most of my friends were teachers and I listened to them tell me about the state of the schools they worked in on a daily basis. For the anecdotes of one of them, feel free to read this:

http://rookie-teacher.blogspot.com/

Lastly, for my view on vouchers I refer you to this segment of my laundry list post:

I oppose vouchers as a long-term solution, but let me say this - I have personally seen the conditions that exist in urban high schools during my time as an education student. Many students are condemned to underfunded and/or mismanaged schools. Until we can solve that problem, I can easily see why many African-Americans and other education advocates have pushed for vouchers, and why many good Democrats have listened. Critics of the idea should talk to the parents of kids who go to schools in the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia before they have a knee-jerk reaction against it.

Lieberman has said that he would consider school vouchers for poor students only. And improving the educational possibilities of poor students is about as progressive as you can get.


I should also add that I believe any voucher program should be coupled with an increase in funding for the schools affected, which is what Lieberman also believes.

While I certainly am not claiming there are not good schools, I know that there are also many schools that are desperately underfunded, and that their students suffer the consequenses. I would strike a deal with the devil if it meant bringing more money to those schools.


y.g. -

Sorry that a commenter said something you didn't like, and nice try in trying to claim that someone from "the site" said it. He doesn't speak for the site any more than you do. If it's any consolation, I condemn that comment as well. But I decided early on not censor the comments that readers want to make. I only mentioned those things because they were sent to me directly in emails.

And I'm afraid this site still does have credibility, much as I'm sure you wish it didn't - at least, major media outlets (BBC, The Nation, National Journal) which have interviewed me and quote this blog on a daily basis seem to think so. The only people who are crying foul about Dan leaving the blog to volunteer for Lieberman are the people who thought this site was a joke, a phony, or something like that in the first place.

And if you personally think it has no credibility, then why are you still reading and commenting on it? Keep in mind that no one is forcing you to do so.


baba -

The answer to that question may surprise you. All I'll say for the moment is that you should comb the site for anything saying that I would personally vote for Lieberman if I had the opportunity to do so.

8/02/2006 7:05 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Anyone here read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol? That'll scare the daylights out of you about public school opportunities...

8/02/2006 7:36 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Well, equality of opportunity at least.

8/02/2006 7:41 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Rush Limbaugh on Lieberman's Far-Right Roots

Rush Limbaugh: Great Night at National Review's 50th Anniversary (posted October 7, 2005)

"Folks let me tell you a little bit about my evening last night... Last night was the 50th anniversary of National Review magazine. Now, National Review magazine, of course, is the creation and brainchild of William F. Buckley, Jr., who will celebrate his 80th birthday in November... and I was seated at Mr. Buckley's table with his wife, Pat. Also at the table was Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who I'd never met but I did meet last night. He's a very, very nice man. We had a nice conversation....Also, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas was at the table as well.

...Judge Bork was there. As I said, Kay Bailey Hutchinson was there along with, I met, Senator Lieberman, and you may ask, "Well, what was Senator Lieberman doing there?" Bill Buckley is responsible for Senator Lieberman being in the Senate.

Back in the '80s, Bill Buckley and the National Review staff got fed up with Lowell Weicker. They had had it with Lowell Weicker. So they set up a PAC called BuckPAC, and BuckPAC essentially got Lieberman elected. They knew they weren't going to elect a Republican up there. So he was there and Buckley, even in his speech last night, made mention of the fact that Joe Lieberman is his favorite Democrat... Kay Bailey Hutchison was on one side of our table, circular tables and Lieberman was two seats to my right. He was on Buckley's right; I was on Buckley's left..."

Link:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1498745/posts

And thus Joe Lieberman, with a big Republican assist, made it to the United States Senate, where he has won the adoration of many prominent right-wingers who rarely have anything good to say about any Democrat.

No wonder Lieberman's supporters include none other than Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol - a veritable Who's Who of right wing nuts.

8/02/2006 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article in the Times this morning:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/02/nyregion/02lieberman.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin

8/02/2006 8:12 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Joe Lieberman is Unpopular in Connecticut

While it is fascinating that Joe's 2006 La-La Land bus tour is drawing only empty crowds and protestors, this is only anecdotal evidence that Lieberman is unpopular in Connecticut.

It's interesting to remember just how well "favorite son" Joe Lieberman fared in the CT presidential primary back in 2004:

Candidate Votes (%)
Kerry 75680 58%
Edwards 30786 24%
Lieberman 6703 5%
Dean 5155 4%
Kucinich 4118 3%
Sharpton 3304 3%

Lieberman achieved what might be called a "4-way tie for third place", with none other than Rev. Sharpton, who is campaigning for Lamont today in Connecticut.

These primary results from 2004 show us that the CT electorate had already become disenchanted with the lies, duplicity, and misdeeds of Lieberman long before the present election cycle.

Bloggers Are The Least of Joe's Problems

8/02/2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Again, failing to tell the most important element of that story - LIEBERMAN HAD DROPPED OUT OF THE RACE A MONTH BEFORE THE CT PRIMARY.

The fight for the nomination was down to Kerry and Edwards at that point. Why would anyone have wasted their one vote on a symbolic gesture?

8/02/2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Centrist - you raise a mightily interesting point. If Lieberman is going to run as an independent anyway, shouldn't all Democrats just go ahead and vote for Lamont?

Otherwise, they're just wasting their vote on Lieberman, who is going to be the Cut-And-Run Party of One candidate no matter what happens!

8/02/2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Anonymous @ 8:12: Thanks for the NYT article link. It's truly fascinating to watch the transformation of the Lamont/Lieberman media narrative that is occurring.

8/02/2006 8:55 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Except that he'll be a Democrat in the one way that really counts - he'll be a member of the Senate Democratic caucus. That means he's no less of a Democrat than Bernie Sanders, and I doubt anyone would question Sanders's progressive credentials merely because he won't have a "D" next to his name on the November ballot.

8/02/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

This is what worries me the most. Have you seen the latest scuttlebutt on how Lieberman derailed Democratic consensus on the Iraq disaster?

This story is a powerful illustration of the damage that Joe Lieberman does to the Democratic Party as a whole in its attempt to provide a constructive alternative to the Bush/Lieberman "stay the course" policy.

Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat. He is a Republican Mole

And this is not an exaggeration. Lieberman's right-wing roots are well-documented, even within this thread. Please see my post above.

8/02/2006 9:18 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Having Republicans who like you gives you right-wing roots?

Do you put all of your friends to a political litmus test? That would explain why you have so much time on your hands.

8/02/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Having his senatorial career "launched" by Bill Buckley most certainly does give Joe Lieberman right-wing roots. If it weren't for Bill Buckley and BuckPAC, Joe Lieberman probably would not have made it to the Senate.

And there seems to be a pretty broad consensus on that point.

8/02/2006 9:29 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Matt - I am happily married, and have an 18 month old son. His grandparents are all nearby, and we are blessed with many friends as well, some of them Republicans. Our lives are full and rich - but could be so much better without Joe Lieberman.

This race is so important to the future of Connecticut and America - and for my son - that I am vacationing to spend some time on it. I'm trying especially hard to get the truth out about Joe Lieberman wherever I possibly can.

8/02/2006 9:53 AM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Define "broad consensus."

What a joke. Bill Buckley boasts about something, and you take him at his word. This is the first time I've EVER heard that Buckley is "responsible" for Lieberman making it to the Senate. That was probably him trying to brag to his friends, and it has no connection with reality.

All accounts I've heard say that Lieberman made it to the Senate thanks to high name ID and approval ratings from his time as AG and the fact that Weicker was a lazy Senator. There's less "consensus" on the idea that Buckley put Lieberman in the Senate than there is on the idea that Al Gore invented the internet.

So maybe you believe Bill Buckley when he's bragging, but that doesn't mean other people do.

8/02/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

I am not here to debate minutiae you pull out of my prose.

I am here to talk about how Joe Lieberman is destroying America.

And I will continue to do just that.

8/02/2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

BREAKING: Joe About to Flip-Flop on Iraq?

Lieberman for Lieberman is getting reports that Joe may be about to try to apologize to voters for his shameless rubber-stamping of the illegal Iraq war, in a last-gasp attempt to capture some votes.

Stay tuned to Lieberman for Lieberman, we'll be bringing you updates as we get them.

8/02/2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous cfaller96 said...

I find it interesting that Matt Smith considers education to be more important than the Iraq War. That's way out of the mainstream, and I doubt anyone will decide to vote for Lieberman based on that.

I find this view especially interesting, considering that Joe Lieberman disagrees with Matt. Joe Lieberman thinks the Iraq War is VERY important, presumably far more important than education:

Here's Joe at the Brookings Institute on 4/26/04:

"I repeat, the outcome of this new war in Iraq will have enormous consequences for the people of Iraq, America and the world. If our enemies prevail and America retreats, Iraqis will face chaos, or a dictatorship, or both. The Iraqi domino could fall backwards as easily as it could fall forwards, and topple hopes for democracy throughout the Middle East. The region would be profoundly destabilized, which would gravely endanger American security, and the fanatical Islamic terrorists will be emboldened to take more aggressive actions against people in America, Europe and the Islamic world. The safety of our children’s future would be greatly endangered."

One candidate thinks the Iraq War will guarantee the "safety of our children's future", clearly placing more importance on the Iraq War than the educational system of today. Another candidate believes that the money we spend in Iraq would be better spent on education and other programs. On Matt Smith's most important issue, guess which candidate he prefers?

Curiously, Matt Smith doesn't really consider Ned Lamont to be a better alternative to Joe Lieberman on his most important issue, education, citing "experience" as the key criteria.

But with the "experience" that Matt Smith wishes to lavish on Joe Lieberman, Matt overlooks the fact that with "experience" comes "accountability" and "responsibility". Matt Smith cites a lot of "vocal" support, and "fights" for grant increases, but he chooses not to cite any actual, real accomplishments during Joe Lieberman's 18 year tenure. I guess "accountability" and "responsibility" are words only to be used against Joe Lieberman's enemies, but never to be applied to Joe Lieberman himself.

Here's a question for you, Matt:

If Joe Lieberman has 18 years of "experience" on improving our educational system, and our educational system is "broken" in your own words, shouldn't Joe Lieberman take just a little bit of responsibility for presiding over the "breaking" of the system that has been occurring for the past 18 years?

Matt Smith shouldn't punish Ned Lamont for a mess that he didn't take part in creating, yet that's precisely what Matt wants to do. If the educational system is such a mess, why does Matt Smith refuse to hold Joe Lieberman accountable for that mess?

On the issue that is most important to Matt Smith, he fails to point out any major policy differences between Lieberman and Lamont, and fails to understand (or willfully ignores) how condoning the continuance of the Iraq War (i.e. voting for Joe Lieberman) hinders education spending.

On the issue that is most important to Matt Smith, he seems willing to settle for a guy that would rather spend $250 billion in Iraq than spend some of that money on schools.

On the issue that is most important to Matt Smith, why won't he fight for a better Senator?

8/02/2006 10:30 AM  

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