Dick Cheney Demeaning Democracy

Ted Kennedy has an op-ed in the Hartford Courant on how Dick Cheney has been Demeaning Democracy:

The comments he made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary – that it might encourage “the al-Qaida types” who want to “break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task” – are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.

What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people – not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times.

Cheney’s comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show once again that he and his party will stop at nothing to wrap Republicans in the flag and to insinuate that anyone who votes against them is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. It’s obvious that this administration lacks basic respect for our fundamental freedoms.

Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections – as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech – provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law – as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy.

This statement is similar to what I and other bloggers were saying during the Lamont campaign. What is significant about this is not specifically what Kennedy says, but that Kennedy and other Democrats are stranding up to the outrageous statements coming from the Bush Administration. 

Further discussion:

All Spin Zone:  Republican Campaign Strategy, As Usual
Lamont Blog:
 Kennedy: Cheney and Lieberman “Attack Democracy Itself”
The Democratic Daily:  Ted Kennedy: Cheney Cannot Use Fear To Cling To Power

Plus some oldies below the fold.

Opposing Lieberman: Inquisition or Demoracy in Action?

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 9th, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

It has long been accepted in politics that an incumbent has no guarantee of reelection or even renomination. Members of one’s own party can run against an incumbent for any reason (with the loser expected to support the winner in the general election, unless named Joe Lieberman). Often this is done when an incumbent holds positions which vary from the more ideological components of their party. For example, Ronald Reagan ran against Gerald Ford, and conservatives approved of that. Republicans frequently write off other Republicans as RINO’s, and they are history in the party if they refuse to sign Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes.

Races involving Joe Lieberman vary from the norm in areas beyond the expectation that the loser in a primary will support the party. Apparently when one is named Joe Lieberman it isn’t even appropriate to run against him in a primary. David Brooks considers liberal opposition to Lieberman “The Liberal Inquisition” in Sunday’s column. Brooks does deserve some credit for acknowledging that John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are likely to face similar treatment from Republicans. Brooks correctly reports on Lieberman’s overall liberal record, but ignores other differences between Lieberman and Lamont when he writes, “But a lifetime’s record is deemed not to matter any longer. For in the midst of the inquisition all of American liberalism has been reduced to one issue, the war.”

While there are other differences between the two, even if Brooks were correct this would be sufficient to warrant a primary opponent The war is not just one issue. It is likely the worst foreign policy blunder in our history. George Bush’s foreign policy is responsible for not only weakening our national security, but for strengthening al Qaeda, Iran, and North Korea. By destroying the moral credibility of the United States, and discrediting the idea of democracy among many, the war also makes it more difficult to deal with all other dictatorships and has created difficulties for democracy movements where they are in infancy. Even beyond the unnecessary deaths of our soldiers, the cost at home has also been too high as it has caused too many Americans to forget the ideals this nation was founded upon. In backing George Bush on the war, Joe Lieberman has violated the basic principles of many liberals. The war is hardly just one issue.

Jonathan Chait expresses similar views in criticizing those who support the primary challenge to Lieberman:

“Moulitsas and many of his allies insist that they just want Democrats to win. But in fact, they believe that any deviation from the party line — except for a few circumscribed instances, such as Democrats running for office in red states — is an unforgivable crime. They have consigned large chunks of the center-left to enemy status. It is an odd way to go about building a majority.”

Lieberman is hardly guilty of just “any deviation from the party line” and the opposition to Lieberman remains comparable to the other examples I noted above. The real test will be after the primary. Should Lieberman win the nomination and liberal bloggers continue to oppose him, then Brooks and Chait will have a strong case in criticizing such components of the blogosphere. My bet is that, along with Ned Lamont, most liberal bloggers would support Lieberman’s reelection and concentrate their fire on Republicans in states where there is a real battle.

Jewish Bloggers and Joe Lieberman

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 15th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

Checking the links to the site today provides for one of the more absurd attacks from the right. The Church Militant links to an earlier post on Lieberman here and claims that the opposition to Lieberman is “Jew-hatred, pure and simple.” I would ignore such absurd attacks from someone whose blog both favorably quotes Ann Coulter and calls John Kerry a war criminal, but similar claims have also come from Lieberman advisor Dan Gerstein.

It appears that I’m in the company of many Jewish bloggers in preferring Lamont over Lieberman including Matt Stoller, Lindsay Beyerstein, Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald, Matthew Yglesias, Max Sawicky, and David Sirota. Josh Marshall has remained neutral with some posts defending Lamont, and Atrios supports Lamont while one side of his family is Jewish.

It’s not just the support of Jewish bloggers for Lamont which disputes these claims of anti-semitism. A poll of Connecticut Jews found them supporting Lamont over Lieberman by 50% to 41%. Jews do not need the fake support of right wingers like the Church Militant. Most likely any support these extremists lend to Jews is purely out of the belief that support of Israel is necessary to bring about the end times.

Atrios on Lieberman in LA Times

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 18th, 2006 @ 8:12 am

Atrios has an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman:

For too long he has defined his image by distancing himself from other Democrats, cozying up to right-wing media figures and, at key moments, directing his criticisms at members of his own party instead of at the Republicans in power.

Late last year, after President Bush’s job approval ratings hit record lows, Lieberman decided to lash out at the administration’s critics, writing in the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages that “we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.” In this he echoed the most toxic of Republican talking points — that criticizing the conduct of the war is actually damaging to national security.

Lieberman has a long history of providing cover for the worst of Republican actions while enthusiastically serving as his own party’s scold. After the Senate acquitted President Clinton on all impeachment charges, Lieberman called for his censure. More recently, he rejected a call by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) to censure Bush over the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, calling the attempt “divisive.”

Lieberman looks happiest when playing a “Fox News Democrat,” as he did in a February appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program, during which the two exchanged compliments and expressions of friendship and Hannity offered to campaign for him. The senator seems to enjoy Sunday talk shows more than actually doing his job. New Orleans could have been spared the hacktastic performance of Michael Brown, the unqualified former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had Lieberman not shooed him through the confirmation process in a breezy 42-minute hearing.

New York Times Endorses Lamont

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 29th, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

The editors of the New York Times inserted a bombshell into an article by Adam Nagourney on the Lieberman campaign. As Nagourney writes about the problems with Lieberman’s campaign the editors added this note:

The editorial page of The New York Times on Sunday endorsed Mr. Lamont over Mr. Lieberman, arguing that the senator had offered the nation a “warped version of bipartisanship” in his dealings with Mr. Bush on national security.

Such endorsements are hardly enough to guarantee a victory, but this should put an end to the claims that the move to replace Lieberman with Lamont is a nutty effort from the radical left blogosphere.

Update: The editorial is now posted on line. Here’s a portion:

Mr. Lieberman prides himself on being a legal thinker and a champion of civil liberties. But he appointed himself defender of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the administration’s policy of holding hundreds of foreign citizens in prison without any due process. He seconded Mr. Gonzales’s sneering reference to the “quaint” provisions of the Geneva Conventions. He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons. There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

Quote of the Day

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 7th, 2006 @ 6:01 am

From the Lieberman-Lamont Debate:           


LAMONT: I think these things should go through the congressional process. Sir, you have been there for 18 years. You support the earmarks, you work with the lobbyists, and that’s what needs to be changed.

LIEBERMAN: The earmarks are great for Connecticut.

Not Ready For Prime Time

Posted by Ron Chusid
May 18th, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

Lamont Ad

Check out the ad for Ned Lamont, who is challenging Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination.

Yes, that’s Kos lurking outside the window, and eventually making it into the house. Perhaps this is what he means by crashing the gates. Conservative bloggers are having lots of fun with this. I can’t say I blame them this time.

Weicker Endorses Lamont

Posted by Ron Chusid
May 17th, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

Lowell Weicker has an op-ed in the Hartford Courant endorsing Ned Lamont’s primary challenge to Joseph Lieberman:

Iraq is a war based on falsehood for which thousands of young Americans have been killed and wounded. It is a policy mistake that has drained the life’s blood of financial resources from all our endeavors here at home. It is the issue that shapes all other issues.

Ned Lamont has taken a clear stand on exiting this insanity. Sen. Joe Lieberman has made staying the course the cornerstone of his term. In his TV advertisements, Sen. Lieberman belatedly pleads for a civil dialogue on the war issue. How do you dialogue on a mistake based on a lie? A candid and wise man would have admitted his error and moved on in a new direction. Not so the incumbent senator.


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