Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Republican Joe Has To Go.

I was reading an interesting piece by John Nichols of The Nation, about the fight for the Democratic Party's soul going on right now in Connecticut. He made mention of something that had previously been pointed out in The Huffington Post's blog, which is that incumbent senator Joe Lieberman "votes with his own party when it doesn't matter, and sides with the GOP to savage progressive causes when it does."

Nichols wrote that Lieberman "sided with Senate Republicans to block attempts to filibuster Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, to explore Social Security privatization, to back free trade and corporate bailouts, to intercede in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case and, of course, to engage in tiresome moralizing about Bill Clinton's extramarital shenanigans."

And therein lies the biggest reason (among many) that voters in Connecticut have to reject Republican Joe Lieberman in the upcoming Senate primary: the incumbent's willingness to fight his own party and side with Republicans on the most important issues facing our nation. What good did Lieberman's vote against confirming that fascist prick Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court do, when he voted to kill what was perhaps the best hope Democrats had of preventing his confirmation in the first place?

None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Are you sensing a pattern to these answers yet? Or, for that matter, in Joey-boy's record overall?

Lieberman can spin his own record all he wants, claiming (falsely) that he has voted with his party "90% of the time." But as was pointed out, that 90% is what matters least to Americans. Here is what does matter to us: We do not want Social Security gutted in favor of privatized savings accounts that would only benefit those who can afford them. We do not want fascists on the Supreme Court, who believe the president of his choice is above the law and has the power to do whatever he wants and get away with it, and who supports illegal strip searches of ten-year-old girls by police. We do not want our soldiers kept in Iraq, which wants us to leave and that has descended into a hellish replay of the Vietnam War--with little more than the geographic location and sectarian violence marking the difference.

Yet on all these issues, Joe Lieberman has sided not with his constituents, but with the evil monsters responsible for these and other crimes against American society. Small wonder the vaunted New York Times, which carries a lot of weight well outside the Big Apple, endorsed Lamont. Their main point: the incumbent seems to have become so obsessed with appearing moderate, that he has become the most prominent defender of George W. Bush and the Republican Party--and their warped policies--in the Senate. Truly, if this battle for the Democratic senate seat in Connecticut has become a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party, it looks as if Lieberman sold his long ago for the sake of personal job security.

When even one of the nation's most trusted newspapers has examined a long time incumbent and found him lacking, it's an undeniable sign that the opposition to Lieberman isn't just coming from the fringes; it's coming from the mainstream as well, and for good reason. That indicates the problem in Connecticut's senate race really is just Joe Lieberman.

And if you needed any further proof, voters of Connecticut, why Lieberman needs to be sent packing to the unemployment office, look no further than his selfish announcement that he will not abide by the will of voters in his own party if he loses the primary. Think about it: Lamont has said if he loses the primary, he will back Lieberman. But Republican Joe? "Screw the voters," his position in essence argues. "If they tell me they don't want me I'll run anyway and try to split the vote to win. And I really don't care that it could result in a Republican getting into office and costing me the race anyway!" If Joe Lieberman can so casually dismiss the will of voters in his own party, choosing his own self-interest over their wishes, what reason does anyone have to believe he will represent anyone else but himself?

For Lieberman, it's all about his own pride, interests, and ambitions. Actually listening to his constituents' concerns and abiding by their wishes doesn't even enter into his mind.

Senators, being elected represetatives of their states in Congress, are (or should be) bound by one thing above all else: the needs and wishes of their constituents come before their own. It isn't enough to side with them on matters that do not hurt one's own career; one must be willing to fight when issues affecting all of us--such as the occupation of Iraq, high crimes by the executive branch and the gutting of Social Security--dictate standing with those a senator represents.

If Republican Joe Lieberman will not do his job, if he refuses to listen to and represent his constituents on the things that really matter, then he is no longer fit to be a senator. And voters should tell him so in August and November, with their votes.


Anonymous said...

It is disheartening that some of those on the left are willing to sell their souls for this man. Why in the world are Barbara Boxer and Bill Clinton trying to back him? All that does is tarnish their own reputations. Yes, at least Clinton has said he will back whoever wins the primary, but he is still out stumping for him before the primary, and that is disgusting.

Michael Keith said...

It's all about the politics of allies of convenience. There is also the fact of long-time acquaintance and political alliances. If Lamont does win the primary, I suspect the opportunistic Hillary will try cozying up to him. But she'll have to take a definite stand against the occupation of Iraq if she harbors any ambitions of running for president.