Friday, July 21, 2006

The Democratic Majority Project Part 2 - Claire McCaskill

It's time to introduce a second practical progressive candidate who is aiming to tack back a GOP seat and add to the Democratic majority. Claire McCaskill is currently running for the Misourri Senate seat currently held by Jim Talent. Talent took the seat in 2002 from Jean Carnahan, wife of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan, thanks to money raised from 5 campaign trips by Dubya.

Talent has been a consistently backed the most hardline elements of his party. He voted against a resolution recognizing a woman's basic right to choose, voted to let the Energy Department waste $37 million on bunker-busting nuclear bombs, voted to make it harder for workers to get overtime pay, and co-sponsored the Constitutional amendment banning equal rights for same-sex couples. He received a 100 from the Christian Coalition, and a zero from the League of Conservation Voters. He has also been woefully ineffective for Missourians - other than non-binding resolutions, he has not introduced a single piece of legislation that has been passed by the Senate.

Worst of all, Talent has been the Equivocator-in-Chief on the vital issue of stem cell research. Last year, he co-sponsored Sam Brownback's bill to ban stem cell research, but then withdrew his support for the bill after McCaskill began criticizing his disgraceful position on the issue. After the press slammed him for the election-year 'change of heart', Talent reversed himself again. He announced his opposition to a Missouri ballot initiative which would have allowed the state to fund stem cell research within the bounds of federal law, and then voted against the stem cell bill that passed the Senate this week.

Claire McCaskill has served as Missouri's State Auditor since 1999, and has been "one of the most active and effective auditor's in Missouri History" according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. As she says on her campaign website, she has "exposed faults in employee background checks for workers helping vulnerable people, including nursing home caregivers and school bus drivers." You can read more about her impressive record as State Auditor here.

In the Senate, she will fight to expand Medicare benefits for seniors, protect our environment and free us of our dependence on foreign oil by investing in alternative energy and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and fully fund No Child Left Behind (the underfunding of NCLB has been one of the most underreported travesties of the Bush administration).

This is a close and very winnable race - recent polls have had McCaskill tied with Talent or even slightly ahead of him. But Talent has raised nearly $20 million compared to just $4 million for McCaskill, and has more than three times as much cash-on-hand. Talent will be able to distort his record all the way up until election day, and we need to make sure Claire McCaskill has the resources to set the record straight.

Help Claire take back the Senate seat that was once held by Harry Truman, and end GOP control of the Senate!

Click here to go to the Claire McCaskill for Senate website
Click here to contribute to McCaskill's campaign

: One of our readers made a good catch - Talent also voted against a minimum wage increase last month.

UPDATE II: For the first time, I've decided to highlight the comment of one of the readers of this blog - our resident troll, who goes by the sarcastic moniker "liebermanforlieberman." This is what he said about stem cell research:
I wonder if people care that much care about something like stem cell research right now, when our troops are being wiped out in Iraq and our Constitution is under attack by Lieberman/Bush/Cheney. To me, worrying about stem cell research right now seems pretty frivolous.
I agree that Iraq is a vital issue and the loss of thousands of lives there is tragic (believe it or not, I oppose the war), but such a complete lack of understanding of the promise of stem cell research and the seriousness of the issue is incomprehensible. This research holds the promise to save quite literally hundreds of millions of lives, and improve the quality of life for many more. Stem cells may hold the potential for providing revolutionary treatments for cancer, muscular dystrophy, ALS, Parkinson's disease, paralysis and countless other life-threatening illnesses.

The Lieberhaters' singleminded focus on Iraq is absurd if it comes at the expense of research with potential to save lives worldwide, long after the Iraq War ends. I sincerely hope "liebermanforlieberman" doesn't speak for all of Lieberman's opponents when he calls this vital research "frivolous."

Update III: That troll cleverly deleted the comment from the string. However, I would be more than happy to email a saved copy of the comments page to whoever wishes to read the callous post for themselves. In any case, this is the first and probably last time that I will negatively highlight a reader's comment, but the issue of stem cell research is both germane to this post and vital to the country.

This also is just further proof that for all the claims of Lieberman's detractors that their opposition isn't just about Iraq, their words and actions prove that some of them can't even look past Iraq long enough to help save countless lives.

This just in from the Hotline...

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie phones in with a quick rundown on Ned Lamont's tax return disclosure press event...

In what may be the most embarrassing revelation on the return, Lamont personally only claimed to give $5,385 in charitable contributions. The Lamont campaign emphasized that there is a separate Lamont family trust which, last year, doled out $213,750. Rennie states the campaign worked very hard at obscuring the $5,385 figure and bootstrapping Ned Lamont onto the amount the trust gave.
The campaign manager had an angry tone, directing it at the press. Cameras were not allowed in the room while reporters examined the returns. Copies were collected at the end. The press conference had been on Lamont’s public schedule but then the campaign announced in an 11:30 a.m. email that the candidate would not be appearing.
Click here for the full story.

Now, I personally don't care too much about Lamont's taxes, because as I said yesterday, this campaign will probably never be about Ned Lamont.

But the Lieberhaters were so critical of Lieberman for avoiding an anti-Lieberman float, saying it showed he was afraid to face tough questions and so on. Well, Lamont just did an even more obvious dodge with his disappearing act from his own press event. And if the campaign manager did ban the cameras and/or take an angry tone with the press...well let's just say those aren't exactly the actions of a campaign interested in being upfront and open with the people.

As I said, I don't really care about Ned Lamont's finances; as long as no one finds $90,000 in his freezer, he can make as much money as he wants and use it as he sees fit - including on this race. In fact, I prefer self-funded candidates, because they have far less need to take money from special interest groups to get elected. Not to mention that they save the party some money that can then be spent on other races.

But I'm guessing that the Lieberhaters, for all their protestations of how terrible it was for Lieberman to not face a few disaffected voters, will not denounce Lamont's campaign for ducking the tough questions on his tax returns. And that is more than a bit hypocritical.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

News and a Critique

So there were two big bits of news today. Dan touched on the good news for the Lieberman camp - Bill Clinton is coming to stump for Lieberman next week, just a week before the primary.

The bad news is that the latest poll from Quinnipiac has Lamont leading Lieberman 51-47%. Statistically it's a dead heat, but anyone would be lying if they said that Lamont hasn't had the Ned-mentum for the past month or two (or five).

(Disclaimer: The next several paragraphs contain an unflattering analysis of how Lieberman's campaign has been run)

The reason why is simple - Joe Lieberman's campaign has looked as if it has been in a constant state of panic ever since Lamont's campaign started to look serious. The deer-in-the-headlights look that was on Ned Lamont's face in the debate has been in the collective eyes of the Lieberman campaign for months. Even Lieberman himself has acted like he never saw this coming. Many political observers have noticed it, and so have I.

Ned Lamont has every right to run against Joe Lieberman in the primary, and Democratic voters have every right to support him - just as Lieberman has every right to run as an (Dem-caucusing) indy candidate in November and have Democratic voters support him. Some bloggers try to claim that Lieberman is acting like a man desperate to cling onto power. I don't buy into that one bit. Sorry, but being the junior Senator from a small state in the minority party does not exactly qualify as sitting in Caesar's palace.

Far more likely is that Lieberman simply never saw this coming, and still hasn't gotten over the initial shock of Lamont's entry into the race. The initial surprise is somewhat understandable. He's a three-term Senator with a strong record on nearly all progressive causes who has not faced a serious electoral challenge at home in 18 years. Lieberman realized that most Democrats in his state disagreed with him on the Iraq War, but it probably was hard for Lieberman to imagine that any single issue could fuel a serious intraparty challenge to him.

His campaign staff also seems like they never expected to have to run a real campaign. So at first they seemed to ignore Lamont's challenge, probably expecting it to fade fast. It didn't, and Lieberman's campaign came to realize that Lamont's challenge was serious. And what they did next is mind-boggling: Instead of reminding the voters of Lieberman's strong history on progressive causes, their campaign increasingly focused on disqualifying Lamont.

I can't think of a polite word to describe that strategy. I agree with the general rule that if the incumbent's campaign can make the election about the challenger, that the incumbent will almost certainly win. But that simply was never going to happen and will never happen in this race. Lieberman is one of the most prominent politicians in the state's - and indeed in the nation's - recent history. By contrast, Lamont has no record, and virtually no one had ever heard Ned Lamont's name before this year. Ned Lamont is a vehicle for opposition to Lieberman; the campaign will never be about him.

Every time they have polled the race, Quinnipiac has asked respondents whether their vote was more for their candidate, or against the other candidate. Here are the results from each of the past three polls:
May 2 June 8 July 20
For Lieberman 92% 90% 86%
Against Lamont 4 5 11

May 2 June 8 July 20
For Lamont 20% 19% 33%
Against Lieberman 77 78 63
Consistently, the vast majority of voters voting for Lamont were doing so not because they supported Lamont, but because they were against Lieberman. Consequently, any campaign strategy that was designed to damage Lamont in the eyes of voters has always been and will always be doomed to failure. As the Hotline On Call blog asked this weekend "Are negative ads what really what Lieberman needs right now? Aren't voters looking for a reason to come back to Lieberman?"

They are, and they have plenty of reasons to. Joe Lieberman is hardly out of the mainstream of the Democratic party - one need only look at his voting record to see this - and Lieberman's long history of fighting for progressive causes cannot seriously be questioned. Iraq is admittedly a big thorn in Lieberman's side, but less than a quarter of all voters and just 33% of Democrats said Iraq was the top issue for them in this election.

Lieberman clearly can improve if his campaign just reminds voters of how strong he is on the traditional progressive issues of education, the environment, civil rights, choice, worker's rights, and virtually every other progressive cause that you can think of. Those same Quinnipiac polls still show that a majority of Democrats think he deserves to be re-elected, and the loyalty of his supporters runs deep.

The Quinnipiac polls show, as they always have, that Lieberman would easily dispatch of Lamont in the general election. However, it really should not come to that, and it's never too late to break bad habits. There are plenty of reasons for Democrats to vote for Lieberman. He and the members of his campaign need to remind voters of what they are, or else be willing to accept a good share of the responsibility if Lieberman loses on August 8.

Nedheads' Motto When Challenged: Attack First, Answer Questions Never

Wanna know how you can tell if you've struck a nerve with the Lieberman-haters and exposed one of their many inconsistencies and hypocrisies? They won't respond directly to the challenge that's been made to them or Ned Lamont and instead will lash out with one of their sophomoric ad hominem attacks.

Case in point: today's typically bitter blogpost from Jane "Natural Born Fibber" Hamsher, in which she talks about Halliburton and Bill Clinton among other things.

The Lieberman campaign has pointed out that Ned Lamont owns between $15,000 to $50,000 in Halliburton stock. And the Lieberman folks have raised a quite legitimate question: Isn't it a bit hypocritical for Lamont to relentlessly criticize Lieberman for being close to George Bush when Lamont himself is profitting right along with Dick Cheney from Halliburton's no-bid contracts (contracts, by the way, which Lieberman has protested quite vocally)?

So how does Hamsher, the Lamont campaign's lead cheerblogger, respond? By completely ignoring the question, and lashing out at Lieberman for not attacking Cheney rabidly enough during the 2000 vice-presidential debate over Halliburton. To back up her lame claim, Hamsher quotes a point Lieberman sarcastically made about how well Cheney did in the 1990s under the Clinton-Gore Administration, showing that subtlety is clearly an art that is lost on her.

Let's give Jane and the other Lieberman-haters a test. Try to set aside your blinding hatred for a second and explain how you can reconcile Ned Lamont's real financial ties to Dick Cheney with his bogus attacks on Joe Lieberman for being too close to the Administration.

Maybe we should start off with something easier for Jane and company, such as how they reconcile their hatred for Joe Lieberman with their adoration for Bill Clinton, who is coming to campaign for Lieberman on Monday in Waterbury.

Lieberman and Clinton are ideological soulmates, worked together on most every major issue of the 1990s, supported the war in Iraq from the outset, and have opposed the kind of arbitrary timetables for troop withdrawal that Lamont has naively and inconsistently advocated. That helps explain why Clinton has strongly criticized the campaign to purge Lieberman from the party as "nutty."

So what's the best Hamsher can say about Clinton coming to Connecticut on Lieberman's behalf? She dredges up the old canard about Lieberman "stabbing Clinton in the back" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

That of course is a crock -- many political experts believe that Lieberman's famous Senate floor speech helped save Clinton's presidency, by saying what was on the minds of millions of Democrats around the country and separating the legitimate moral questions about his conduct from the illegitimate legal ones.

But setting aside that point, Hamsher's disingenous response does nothing to account for the Lieberman-haters hypocrisy here. If Joe Lieberman is such a bad Democrat, why is Bill Clinton openly supporting him? Does that make Bill Clinton a bad Democrat too?

The fact that Hamsher and others won't even try to answer these questions and desperately try to change the subject strongly suggests that they can't answer them. Which is to say, they can't defend the hypocrisy that is behind their hatred.

Article in Roll Call

Mort Kondracke penned an article in today's Roll Call, of which he is executive editor, on the Connecticut Senate race. Here are some excerpts:

Lieberman, one of the last “liberal hawks” in the Democratic Party and a leader in efforts to find bipartisan solutions to America’s problems, is being targeted for defeat by an emergent new left that’s using savage, Internet-based attacks to push moderation out of politics.

If former Greenwich Selectman Ned Lamont beats Lieberman in the Democratic primary, it will represent a signal victory...for vicious name-calling as a political tactic...

Lieberman is a target primarily because he supports the Iraq war, but also because he rejects Bush-hatred and often cooperates with Republicans, even though he votes with his party 80 percent of the time...

To his credit, Lamont himself is not stooping as low as his supporters are, though he is distorting Lieberman’s record on the environment, energy and Social Security...

Lieberman is a rare remaining vestige of the assertive Democratic foreign policy typified by Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy. Though he’s accused of being Bush’s cheerleader on Iraq, Lieberman first called for toppling Saddam Hussein in 1993, before Bush was even governor of Texas.

Lieberman surely is out of his party’s force-averse post-Vietnam mainstream on foreign policy. But the party desperately needs his voice, and American politics also needs his willingness to cooperate with his political adversaries and to act independently.

“Hatred divides the country and blinds us to the fact that we are all in this together, particularly when it comes to national security,” Lieberman said. “You can have disagreement, but once you think the other side is evil — and there is a group in each party that thinks the other side is evil — we have a problem. The hatred of Bush among some Democrats mirrors the hatred of Bill Clinton among some Republicans in the 1990s. It’s destructive.”

And it’s now up to Connecticut voters to decide whether hatred-politics will prevail.

Kondracke is a well-known critic of the more intractable liberal elements of the Democratic Party, but he is certainly no conservative - the man had the honor of being on Richard Nixon's "Enemies List" along with Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Newman.

It does bring up a pretty good point about the way this race will be perceived nationally. In the sheltered world of the blogosphere, it often seems as if a liberal groundswell is underway across the country. But the truth is that the blogosphere is about reinforcing the opinions that people already have, not about changing people's minds. The extremes on both sides dump on anyone who disagrees with them on a key issue, throwing red meat to keep their readers happy, but also making the moderates on both sides feel increasingly resentful.

They use the self-reinforcing posts on DailyKos as evidence of this supposed liberal groundswell, implicitly dismissing those who don't hold their views as part of a Washington insider, special interest-powered enclave - despite the fact that probably 75% of the country doesn't hold their views. They often use the term "people power" to describe their movement, and even to criticize the possibility of a independent bid by Lieberman - despite the fact that probably ten times as many voters (who are indeed people) will show up in November than will show up for the Democratic primary. In this context, the only "people power" that matters is the power of people who agree with them.

Kondracke is right on one major point - the Democrats are in a lot of trouble if what happens to Lieberman starts happening to other moderate Democrats. Liberals may well be on the ascendant, but they can't truly help the Democrats take back Washington unless they learn to ally themselves with moderates in the party, or at least learn to not hurl insults at them.

And yes, that even applies to Democrats who break with and criticize other Democrats on some key issues, because a party that refuses to tolerate dissent within its ranks risks exile to the political wilderness.

Note: At some point in the next day, I'll be doing a post which is critical of the Lieberman campaign. Try not to look too shocked!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

There was never any doubt...

The TPM Cafe blog ran a piece earlier today saying that Lieberman was "mulling" a run on the GOP line. The person who wrote the initial post did not speak at the time to anyone other than a rather low-ranking member of his press staff. DailyKos and other outlets quickly picked up on the piece, saying that Lieberman was "mulling" a GOP bid.

Such a claim was obviously bogus from the start. The reality is that the people at TPM were simply unable to get ahold of someone sufficiently empowered to speak for Lieberman, and so speculated that the non-response of the staffer somehow meant Lieberman was "mulling" becoming a GOPer. I doubt even the Kossacks bought into the story; they just wanted another excuse to get "Lieberman" and "Republican" in the same sentence for the umpteenth time.

Lieberman has said from the start that he will caucus with Democrats in the next Congress, no matter what. But just so even the fiercest Lieberhater couldn't say otherwise, the Lieberman campaign released this statement within just a couple hours of the TPM blog's posting:

"He has said he's always been a Democrat, and he'll always be a Democrat."

Asked if he'd rule out accepting the line, Steinfels said: "Joe Lieberman will never run as a Republican. Never."

Three hours later, DailyKos has still not posted an update acknowledging that Lieberman has never and will never be a Republican.

Update: Kos did post a correcton to his original blog, saying "Lieberman finally rules running as a Republican (emphasis mine)." It took the Lieberman camp under 4 hours to reply, which is lightning fast for a campaign office. In contrast, it took Kos 5 hours to post his correction after TPM posted Lieberman's response. So why did he drop the "finally" in there?

Lieberman has always said he will caucus with the Democrats no matter what the outcome of this election, and has never said anything that could lead even the greatest Lieberhater to believe that he would ever run on the GOP line. To pretend otherwise is, shall we say, disingenuous.

Stem Cell Research

The Senate passed a bill ending restrictions on stem cell research in a 63-37 vote yesterday, prompting George Bush, ever the advocate for science, to issue the first veto of his presidency. The House plans to take up a measure to override the veto tomorrow, but it is not expected to pass since the original bill fell short of gaining the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

This is another vital area where Senator Lieberman has consistently stood up for progressive values. In fact, Lieberman said during his 2004 presidential campaign that his first act, if elected, would be to rescind Bush's limitations on stem cell research, opening the doors to the breathtaking medical breakthroughs that could be made possible with stem cell research.

Lieberman also voted for the bill ending those restrictions when the Senate passed it on Tuesday, saying "To me, investment in this research has very exciting possibilities to improve treatment and find cures for diseases that inflict millions of people." He also made a speech on the Senate floor strongly supporting the research:
Today we stand at destiny’s doorstep with the chance to have it swing wide and open into a new age of scientific and medical understanding. We must not hesitate.

I urge my colleagues will join me in its passage H.R.810 and I call on President Bush to sign it into law and not veto the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans for whom astounding new cures may lie just over the threshold of our present knowledge.

No Democrat has been a stronger advocate for stem cell research than Senator Lieberman. It is yet another example of the ways in which Sen. Lieberman has stood up against President Bush and the extreme right on matters that are vitally important to the future of our country.

Bush massages Merkel

In what is easily the most amusing story of the past 24 hours, this photo sequence is making the rounds in world newspapers and television programs. My favorite quote on the incident came from Hoover Fellow Bill Whalen, who said "There are those who say the President should be more Clintonesque...maybe he misunderstood what they meant."

If Germany is anything like America, her political opponents will create a paper mache float with draft-quality likenesses of the two world leaders, put signs on it saying "The Bush Caress" and "Just Geopolitically Married" in the hopes of tying Merkel to the unpopular Bush. They'll cite her agreement with Bush on one of Germany's hottest issues (economic deregulation), over which she is often at odds with members of her own party, and then run around claiming "The Caress" is proof that Merkel has become too close to Bush, despite her strong disagreements with Bush on critical issues.

Sound familiar?

Ned Lamont, Country Club Democrat

If Ned Lamont is trying to shed his image as an dilettante opportunist, he may want to stop talking about his exclusive Greenwich country club. Check out this disturbing passage from today's front-page story in the New York Times, where Lamont confesses that he quit his membership at the restrictive Round Hill country club not out of principle but only because he was afraid of how it might look in the campaign.

For years the Lamonts were members of the Round Hill country club in Greenwich, but Mr. Lamont said he resigned his membership because he did not want it to become a distraction in his campaign. Mr. Lamont said the club excluded people because it was so expensive, and also said he was “a little bit” concerned that many of its members were white.

“It’s not as diverse as it should be,” Mr. Lamont said. “I didn’t pay as much attention to that before the race began, to tell you the truth."

It will be curious to see how Lamont's apologists in the blogworld spin this one.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Good Answer to Jane Hamsher

I just got a chance to read Jane Hamsher's latest rant about the Lieberman-Lamont race on Huffington Post, and I was struck by this thoughtful comment from a non-Lieberman supporting HuffPost reader. It is such a good summation of what's wrong with the angry purge campaign against Joe Lieberman from a progressive perspective that I thought it was worth sharing with a wider audience.

Wouldn't it be something if all that piss and vinegar was turned on a Republican where it could make a difference?
The purging of the Democratic party, it seems, appears far more "doable" to the "netroots" than actually demonstrating the values I would hope they support.
In other words, it's just great to some that these wits are devoted to slaying one of the Democratic senators (who gets a zero rating from all conservative groups because he votes with the Democrats 99% of the time.)
I don't think Lieberman is the issue. Maybe he deserves a challenge. But if his record really was the issue, there wouldn't be all the juvenile bs: the "joey" and the "holy joe" and all the teenager venom leveled at him. It is all so personal, so hateful.
Liberal means open minded. I would like to see a progressive movement that cares about people. And acts like they care about people, not power. These "net root" people aren't liberal. They are simply totalitarians from the other side of the spectrum. And they are truly scary in their viciousness.
I shudder to think how someone they could really support would actually govern. Remember, this isn't about Lamont. This is about a hungry pack of wolves tearing apart a beast they believe is bleeding to prove they can do it.
How sweet. There's something we all can admire. Who do they remind you of?

By: buzz on July 18, 2006 at 03:26am

Another environmental plug

It was pretty quiet on the campaign trail today for CT-Sen, with most media coverage remaining firmly on the fighting in Israel and Lebanon and the insane heat wave. Temperatures soared over 100 degrees in many places across the country, and over 110 in many areas in the Mountain West.

It hit 97 yesterday in Philly, with a heat index in the triple digits. I had to make a one-hour drive yesterday in my non-air conditioned car in order to get from Job 1 to Job 2. I weighed myself when I got home and discovered that I had lost 4 pounds...over the course of the day.

Now I know that one heat wave can't be taken as evidence that global warming is indeed happening. But this most certainly is:
Scientists have for the first time found evidence that polar bears are drowning because climate change is melting the Arctic ice shelf.

The researchers were startled to find bears having to swim up to 60 miles across open sea to find food. They are being forced into the long voyages because the ice floes from which they feed are melting, becoming smaller and drifting farther apart.

Ironically, the House approved a treaty with Russia yesterday designed to protect polar bears from "overhunting and other threats to their survival." But without taking steps to prevent global warming, it all could be for naught.

Joe Lieberman has been one of the most tireless advocates of environmental protection in the Senate. He has earned the endorsements of America's two largest environmental advocacy groups - the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. Here is an excerpt from the LCV endorsement:

As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Lieberman has worked hard to preserve and strengthen our nation's clean air and clean water protections, opposing attempts by the Bush Administration and corporate polluters to rewrite our environmental and public health laws. In particular, he is one of the lead sponsors of a tri-partisan bill to clean up dirty coal-fired power plants. Sen. Lieberman is also fighting against attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act.

Sen. Lieberman continues to be a champion in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling, helping lead the fight against multiple efforts in the Senate to advance fiscally irresponsible and environmentally damaging drilling proposals in this national treasure.

It is not insignificant that Senator Lieberman has served on the Environment and Public Works Committee and has considerable seniority there; in fact, he will be second in seniority behind only Max Baucus after the end of this term (the ranking member, Jim Jeffords, is retiring). Lieberman has used his position on the committee to push for conservation efforts at every level, from protecting the fishing areas and wildlife refuges in Connecticut to working on measures designed to reverse global climate change.

The loss of not only Lieberman's voice, but also his seniority would be an immeasurable loss to the environmental movement at a time when Democrats may finally be in a position to push tougher environmental protection legislation. Lieberman's seniority may be particularly important since the heir presumptive (Baucus) is known to be somewhat cooler towards environmental protection legislation than most Senate Democrats.

The world that we leave to our children is the true legacy of every generation, and Sen. Lieberman's environmental record proves that he has the means and the will to work hard on these vital issues.

Monday, July 17, 2006

When Kos is right...

Today, I find myself in agreement with Kos on a rather major issue - the Israel/Palestine/Lebanon conflict which is currently mired in a downward spiral. I'll just quote Kos here:

I grew up in a war zone. And there was one clear lesson I learned -- there will never be peace unless both sides get tired of the fighting and start seeking an alternative.

It's clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in "getting over them", we're stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future. It doesn't matter what we bloggers say. It doesn't matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.

When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way.

And I, for one, sure as heck have no desire to get sucked into that no-win situation. I just hope that war-fatigue sets in at some point.
Well said, Mr. Zuniga.

This conflict seems to have taken on a life of its own, with both sides either unwilling or unable (or both) to halt its continuation and, recently, its escalation. This is the most volatile region in the world, and Israel remains the flashpoint. If it all comes back to Iraq here, it all comes back to Israel and Palestine there.

And from Bush and Blair, to Kos and the blogosphere, and even Olmert and Abbas - everyone appears depressingly powerless to stop it.

"Joe is no conservative" says conservative

A friend sent me the link to this article where conservative Warner Todd Hudson slams conservatives for their support of Lieberman. Why do some conservatives "fall over themselves" to praise Lieberman?
Sadly, even though they haven't a vote, Conservative Republicans are also one-issue voters where it concerns Joe Lieberman. They support him merely for his support of Bush's Iraq strategy...

It must be. Because it sure isn't because of Lieberman's voting record...Only with Iraq policies has Lieberman voiced his agreement with Republican ideas.

He voted against every Bush tax cut, voted against Justice Alito's Supreme Court appointment, opposes traditional marriage laws, is against drilling for oil in Alaska, is for partial-birth abortion, and supports some of the absurd restrictions as outlined in the Kyoto Protocols. And this is just for starters.

Lieberman is not a "conservative" Democrat. It's just that simple...

To vocally and forcefully claim him an ally is a step too far. In fact it is many steps too far. Lieberman, save for this one issue, as important as that issue is, is not our friend. He is not our ally and he cannot be looked to when we need crucial support for conservative initiatives and ideals. The man is a classic 1970's liberal.

Isn't that a wonderful irony? Lieberman's opponents love to slam him for the praise he draws from some conservatives. But the kind words Lieberman receives from Sean Hannity are motivated by the same one-issue mentality that drives the Lamontistas. It still all comes back to Iraq.

No, I don't claim that Iraq is an insignificant issue. But the three issues that I feel most passionately about are education (esp. higher education), the environment, and civil rights (particularly LGBT rights). On those vital issues, Lieberman has a record that I would put up against anyone in the Senate. Those are fights that Joe Lieberman has been waging alongside progressives for 40 years, starting with the time that he risked his life to march for civil rights and education access in the 1960's - and make no doubt, a New Englander marching for civil rights in the South during that era was risking his life.

I want to make sure my kids don't have the massive debts that I had to take on in order to attend college. I want my children to grow up in a world where the air is breathable and where they can go outside without risking a heat stroke (100 degrees in Philadelphia today, folks). And when my best friend finds someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with, I want him to be able to get married without having to fly to Canada.

And if we ever want to see those things happen, then maybe we need to have more people on Capitol Hill like Senator Lieberman - not fewer.