Lieberman: Eighteen years and no gold watch


By: Robert E. Meyer

When observing the recent Connecticut democratic primary, which put an end to the incumbency of Senator Joe Lieberman, you have to wonder about the direction the liberals are taking this party. Recall that only six years ago, Lieberman was the heralded vice-presidential candidate. Loyalty is a fast fleeting virtue where expedience is at stake. I can’t help but to think that this is roughly equivalent to the GOP giving Cheney the boot for failure to exclusively support traditional marriage.

The writing began to appear on the wall in bold letters, when “faithful” top-of-the-ticket running mate, Al Gore, did his “Mack the knife” routine, and endorsed screaming Howard Dean for President. Remember in 2000, how Gore shored up his moral appeal, and faked his movement to the center with the selection of Lieberman? Then, of course, he went back to his radical roots. Without Lieberman at the bottom of the ticket, I doubt Gore would have made up the wide gap in the polls which Bush and Cheney had enjoyed early on.

The election of ultra-liberal Lamont clearly stamps the Democratic Party with the anti-war label—at least for those of us who hadn’t perceived the obvious before now. One would think such an extreme position can’t possibly win an election, but I have become a believer in that adage that anything is possible.

Some conservative pundits, such as Newt Gingrich, have suggested that Lieberman may have won the primary if the election would have been held after the terrorist arrests in London. I tend to concur with that assessment. But if it is correct, it tells us much about the fickle state of political decisions in the population at large. My views have changed very little in recent years, because I knew what I believed in and why I believed it from the outset. It isn’t so much a question of changing your mind because of new information, or swallowing your pride when you’re wrong. It is more a function of never really having made up your mind at all. That is why so many people never really decide who they are voting for until they close the curtain on the voting booth. Far too many people are emotionally driven by the latest news cycle.

Do people really believe that terrorism isn’t a real problem that we will have to contend with on a perpetual basis? Do they really think that this is just an inconvenient law enforcement issue that will occasionally creep up and awaken us out of our banal slumber for a short season? If Lamont is an indicating barometer of the stormy conditions ahead of us this fall, then there are truly storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

Lieberman probably conforms to the national democratic platform on the vast majority of issues. But, because he sided with the president’s perspective after several trips to Iraq to observe the situation for himself, he is now tossed overboard with sharks circling in the water. Since the voters chose an anti-war candidate, you have to wonder if the party is running merely on the strength of a negative issue campaign. One can only wonder why Lieberman would risk his entire political career, with all its stored capital, to support and perpetuate George Bush’s “big lie?” The problem here is that though I disagree with the majority of Lieberman’s positions, I have never questioned his sincerity or integrity (he comes across as a very likeable guy). I can’t say the same about the democrats in general—and that gives me a clue as to what I should believe about the democrats’ political posturing.

In my own local congressional elections, democrats are running on the strength of negative sound bites about Bush. I still have no idea what they stand for—but then again, what have they even stood for in recent times? Anything that repudiates the conservative position is an important plank in the reacquisition of power.

I can’t help but feel that if the democrats come to power this November, we will go back to treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue. A lottery with a low probability of losing will be the net result. Each time America is attacked, we can renew our commitment to the impotent solution that we need to sit down with them to find out why they are angry with us. This country can’t afford for that to happen. I’m rooting for Lieberman to be the antithesis of Jim Jeffords.

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