Lieberman in Exile

Look, it’s over. Lieberman lost his chance at re-election to the US Senate last night, and come November, he’s going to lose again. The difference is that he will lose in November for entirely separate reasons than the ones which caused him to lose last night. Last night, he lost because of his support for an unpopular war, and the general feeling that he’s out of touch with his constituency in Connecticut. In November, he’s going to lose because he lost last night. He lost fair and square, so his assertion that he gets to have a mulligan isn’t going to fly. And shouldn’t.

Republicans and conservatives are weeping crocodile tears for Lieberman, tut-tutting as they do that this shows that the Democrats can’t handle a diversity of opinions or whatever. This is rich coming the GOP, of course, which has spent decades marginalizing its own moderates and (god forbid) liberals, and who in any event have an interest in Lieberman only to the extent that he can be used a strategic cudgel to bash at the Democrats. Anyone who is sane will recognize conservative hand-wringing over the fate of Lieberman as artfully-composed insincerity; conservatives view Lieberman as a handy Quisling, second cousin in his rhetorical usefulness to the occasional black Republican representative.

Lieberman is now betting on the Republican and independent vote in his home state to help him get back in the senatorial saddle, but I’m fairly skeptical as to whether he’ll get that support. To begin, as far as I recall, the GOP does have its own candidate in Connecticut, and while there is some political fun to be had in propping up Lieberman, the GOP’s goal will be to try to get Lamont and Lieberman to split their pool of votes and let the GOP candidate slip down the middle. The Senate is too closely divided for the GOP to throw any real support behind a conservative Democrat; Lieberman is once again only a handy tool. Connecticut Republicans may individually decide to vote for Lieberman, of course, but why would they? In his not-concession speech last night, Lieberman said “For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand.” He’s not a Republican, even if he is occasionally useful to them.

Who knows how independents will vote. That’s why they’re independents. But I am an independent, and I’m here to tell you that Lieberman’s strategy sticks in my craw. He’s an independent through convenience only, jumping to that status when the system he benefited from for two decades didn’t give him the results he thought he deserved. Personally I would love it if there were more independent political candidates; I pretty much despise the idea of political parties on principle. But if you’re going to be independent, then be independent — don’t be independent when it’s useful to you and then go back to being a party member when it comes time to get your committee assignments, as Lieberman has already made clear he would. As an independent, I say: Screw you, you insincere schmuck.

And as for the Democrats, well. Lieberman’s already baldly stated that the Democratic voters of his state couldn’t have possibly meant not to vote for him, which is why he’s graciously going to give them a chance to vote for him again in November. I sincerely doubt, had Lieberman won last night, that he would have been sanguine about Lamont turning around and declaring himself an “independent Democrat,” so in addition to being a loser, Lieberman’s also a hypocrite, and evidently of the opinion that his incumbency is more important than the processes of the democratic (small d) system. If the Democrats have any brains at all, they will quickly and loudly support Lamont as the legitimate and only Democratic candidate, and politely but firmly work to minimize Lieberman’s support among core Democrats. Whether they do this is another matter entirely, as I’ve said before, I’ve always been impressed by the ability of the Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

But I think ultimately Lieberman’s defeat, when it comes, will fall on Lieberman’s shoulders alone. He’s repudiating his party, and morgaging his reputation as an honorable man, for an election he should not be contesting in. He’s going to lose, and I suspect he’s going to lose big, regardless of the final vote percentages. He ought to accept his loss. It’s a shame he won’t.

119 thoughts on “Lieberman in Exile

  1. No. I rarely gamble, and I don’t think not putting money on it makes the prediction any less valid.

  2. ..but…but…his website was, umm, ‘hacked’. If by hacked you mean, spent $15 to have a campaign website hosted by a low-budget host who crashed under the weight of election day hits, anyways.

    A quote from Crooksandliars:
    “‘The old politics of partisan polarization won today,’ said Lieberman.

    Joe’s right: A Republican got beat by a Democrat. Doesn’t get much more partisan than that.”

  3. Not being American, I don’t know whether Americans are into lawn signs. However, If I were from Conneticut, I would pay to put one of those “Sore/Loserman” signs that sprouted after the 2000 presidential election on my front lawn.

    cheers
    Andrew

  4. On the other side of the aisle down here in Texas, we have the same thing going on in the governor’s race. Rick Perry the incumbent Republican is already facing Democrat Rob Bell and Independent Kinky Friedman. But, Carole Keeton McGillicutty Rylander Banana Fanna Fo Fesca Strayhorn (a Republican) thought she could oust Perry in the primaries but when she polled poorly, she decided to jump in and run as an independent, which is splitting the Republican vote. (Of course, Friedman is kinda splitting the Democrat vote, so it’s a very fractured race.)

  5. Lieberman’s decision to stay in the race as an independent is the right one. Given the close margin, all the state’s voters deserve a chance to have their say. Perhaps they will fix what the Democrats broke.

    That many Americans are disgusted with events in Iraq is understandable. Nothing has gone as planned or promised, a point Lieberman made with some regularity. But wars never go easily, and thus are always unpopular at some point.

    Even “good” wars have their bad moments, causing otherwise sensible people to look for the exits.

    That is happening across our nation with Iraq, which, given the lousy intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, never was a “good” war. Yet Iraq, in all its hellishness, is important, even vital to regional stability and American security. Unplug America’s commitment there, which is what the Lamont crowd is about, and how exactly does that help us? Will the terrorists suddenly stop attacking us and our allies?

    And does the price of peace also require us to abandon Israel and the moderate Arab governments who are our allies in fighting the terrorists? Indeed, there was a surreal quality to the television news last night: Stations cutting away from the Israeli-Hezbollah war to update the election results, and vice versa. Too bad no one thought to link them as two parts of one story, which is what they are.

    Congressional Democratic leaders recently demanded that Bush begin withdrawing our troops this year, regardless of events in Iraq. They called it a “redeployment.” When I said that redeployment was another word for retreat, a top party operative disagreed. He said, earnestly, that Dems favored keeping about 35,000 troops “in the region” as something like a police force. “We could go back into Iraq if we had to,” he said.

    This is fantasy. And that’s what Lamont’s victory is based on. That somehow we can pull out of Iraq, tell the terrorists they win – and we and our allies will not suffer any consequences. And if those Islamists misbehave, well, we’ll just scoot back over there with our police force and arrest those naughty fellows.

    I believe that Islamic terrorists will stop at nothing in their mad quest to rule the globe. As a result, World War III has started, whether we like it or not. It will continue, whether we fight back or not. But if we think we can win by not fighting, then we’re not just wrong. We’re nuts. As in nutmeg.

  6. In his not-concession speech last night, Lieberman said “For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand.”

    So for the sake of his party, he’s going to ignore what the actual voters in his party have decided. What a arrogant load of bollocks.

  7. I honestly wonder just how long Joe’ll stay in the race. I hope you’re wrong, John, in saying that his incumbancy is more important than the democratic process, because if he does manage to split the vote significantly, he’ll be more reviled in Connecticut than Ralph Nader was in November of 2000 nation-wide.

  8. You have to admit, it is splendidly delicous that the primaries are sucking up so much campagin funds.

    Whats everyones thoughts on McKinnys loss?

  9. It makes me wish I could register to vote in Connecticut, just so I could vote against him in November. I’m not saying that Lamont was the best choice (I haven’t really been paying attention to that race) but he is the choice of the voters, and ignoring the voters to try to have your own way is a crappy thing for any elected official to do.

    Democratic leaders in the Senate are already trying to distance themselves from Joe. http://www.cnn.com

    K

  10. I think that’s a little strong. Almost half of Democratic primary voters did actually vote for Lieberman. Those voters did (and presumably still do) want to see Lieberman elected in November. Moreover, there are almost as many registered independent voters in Connecticut as there are Democrats. He’ll certainly pick up a sizeable segment of those voters come election day.

    His strategy now will be to shore up his Democratic support and reach out to the Independents. This, of course, won’t be all that difficult given that he is now the de facto moderate in this race. Given this, I fully expect him to be re-elected.

    John, I’m certain there are some Republicans who want merely to use Lieberman as a “cudgel” with which to bash the Democratic party, but please have the decency to recognize that some of us just like the guy because he really tried to walk a middle path. He stood up for what he believes in and that took him away from a large portion of his party. That’s called character and it’s a very attractive trait.

    Furthermore, even assuming you are right and Republicans have spent decades marginalizing moderates and liberals that doesn’t actually have a damn thing to do with the Democrats doing the same thing. Just because it’s “rich” that Republicans are pointing out the expulsion of moderates from the Democratic party, doesn’t mean it’s not true. You’ve fallen for the “hypocracy fallacy.” Even hypocrites can tell the truth, John.

    Irony, thy name is Andrew. Sore Loserman indeed. (Though it sounds like we’ve got a few Sore Winnermen to me.)

  11. Bill Marcy:

    “Lieberman’s decision to stay in the race as an independent is the right one. Given the close margin, all the state’s voters deserve a chance to have their say. Perhaps they will fix what the Democrats broke.”

    Bah. First, of course, let Lieberman run; he’s going to lose. Second, in a democracy it’s entirely legitimate for the voters to question the prosecution of a war. Given that the percentage of Americans now oppose the war is higher than the percentage of Democratic Connecticut voters who gave Lamont his victory, I’m not entirely sure that opening up the vote to a wider population of voters is going to give Lieberman the result he wants.

    Gabriel Malor:

    “Just because it’s ‘rich’ that Republicans are pointing out the expulsion of moderates from the Democratic party, doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

    Well, first, Liberman’s a “moderate” Democrat like Licoln Chaffee is a “moderate” Republican, which is to say he’s not; he’s a conservative Democrat. Second, you’ll need to provide me with the data the suggests there’s a party-wide purge of moderates (or for that matter, conservatives) in the Democratic party that is as systematic as the one the GOP has managed over the years. Third, you’ll need to explain why if the Democratic party is making a concerted attempt to purge folks like Lieberman, how he got so many of the Democratic brahmin, including Bill Clinton, to support and campaign for him. Seems like at the end of the day if there is a purge in the Democratic ranks, it’s coming from the voters, which unless I am mistaken is how democracy is supposed to work.

    Fourth, you’re missing the point, which is that GOP/conservative “concern” about the fate of Lieberman is entirely disingenuous; they don’t give a crap about him except to the extent he can be used as a political tool. Which is why I suggest their concerns be largely ignored; they’re insincere at their root.

  12. I’m hoping that a three-way race that’s sure to get a lot of press will do some good for the concept of a more-than-two party system. I think both the Democrats and the Republicans are failing the people, and maybe this will remind everyone that there could be other options.

    I’m also encouraged by the voter turnout. It’s horrifying how few people actually vote in this country, and it’s nice to see a controversial race bring people out to vote.

  13. An email recieved from your main spokesperson this morning (You may have gotten it yourself):

    Friends,

    Let the resounding defeat of Senator Joe Lieberman send a cold shiver down the spine of every Democrat who supported the invasion of Iraq and who continues to support, in any way, this senseless, immoral, unwinnable war. Make no mistake about it: We, the majority of Americans, want this war ended — and we will actively work to defeat each and every one of you who does not support an immediate end to this war.

    Nearly every Democrat set to run for president in 2008 is responsible for this war. They voted for it or they supported it. That single, stupid decision has cost us 2,592 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Lieberman and Company made a colossal mistake — and we are going to make sure they pay for that mistake. Payback time started last night.

    I realize that there are those like Kerry and Edwards who have now changed their position and are strongly anti-war. Perhaps that switch will be enough for some to support them. For others, like me — while I’m glad they’ve seen the light — their massive error in judgment is, sadly, proof that they are not fit for the job. They sided with Bush, and for that, they may never enter the promised land.

    To Hillary, our first best hope for a woman to become president, I cannot for the life of me figure out why you continue to support Bush and his war. I’m sure someone has advised you that a woman can’t be elected unless she proves she can kick ass just as crazy as any man. I’m here to tell you that you will never make it through the Democratic primaries unless you start now by strongly opposing the war. It is your only hope. You and Joe have been Bush’s biggest Democratic supporters of the war. Last night’s voter revolt took place just a few miles from your home in Chappaqua. Did you hear the noise? Can you read the writing on the wall?

    To every Democratic Senator and Congressman who continues to back Bush’s War, allow me to inform you that your days in elective office are now numbered. Myself and tens of millions of citizens are going to work hard to actively remove you from any position of power.

    If you don’t believe us, give Joe a call.

    Yours,
    Michael Moore
    mmflint@aol.com
    http://www.michaelmoore.com

    P.S. Republicans — sorry to leave you out of this letter. It’s just that our side has a little housecleaning to do. We’ll take care of you this November.

  14. Bill Marcy:

    “An email recieved from your main spokesperson this morning (You may have gotten it yourself):”

    My main spokesperson? Hey, Bill, take your cheap rhetorical tricks and kneejerk stupidity out the door, would you? You’re stinking up the place.

  15. Easy there, Bill Marcy. Put the rhetoric down, and back away slowly.

    People who are still looking for victory in Iraq are going to be disappointed, because there’s not really a situation that could happen that would lead to peace in that country. Saddam Hussein was the Middle-Eastern equivalent of the Soviet Union – A totalitarian regime that oppressed disparate groups of people so much that their hatred for each other was suppressed by their hatred for the government. Remove that government, and centuries-old hatred springs back to life, whether we’re talking Serbs or Sunnis. Installing a “democratically elected” government isn’t going to magically make things better.

    The Iraqis have to work through their own problems. We need to withdraw, so that they can focus on their problems, and not let themselves be distracted by radical leaders who try to blame the U.S. for hatreds that go back longer than the U.S. has been a country. But keeping a small force in the area will let us put down any serious flareups in the violence.

    Also, the violence in Israel and Lebanon is showing no signs of spreading, which would seem to be a prerequisite for a world war. There are fewer tangling alliances that would drag bigger nations into the conflict, so this won’t be much like WWI. And neither nation is in serious land-grab mode, making this unlike WWII. Calling this a World War will not make it so. (Hopefully.)

    When George W. Bush led this country into a war based on shoddy intelligence and false premesis, all of our leaders should have been questioning what they were told, not just following lockstep behind him. Joe Lieberman, as a leading figure in the opposition party, should have been at the front of that.

    The voters in Connecticut have had their say, and they told Joe to stay home this November. Ignoring a vote because you don’t like the fair and accurate outcome shows a contempt for the voters, and for the democratic process.

    K

  16. BIll,

    Having Democrats take your advice on how to run their party is sorta like asking a Chicago Bears fan how the Green Bay Packers should run their team. You’re not likely to get a truly honest or helpful response.

    Keeping that in mind, I’ll go back to ignoring you now.

  17. “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” — Will Rogers

    Originally said 75 years ago, still as valid as ever.

    BTW — if Ned Lamont is really the future of the Democrats, perhaps you might want to call up George McGovern if you need any other candidates. I hear he’s not too busy nowadays.

  18. He’s the future of Connecticut’s Democrats, to be sure. Whether he represents the rest of the party is another question.

  19. But I think ultimately Lieberman’s defeat, when it comes, will fall on Lieberman’s shoulders alone.

    This is a very old story.

    The Eagle and the Arrow

    An Eagle was soaring through the air when suddenly it heard the whizz of an Arrow, and felt itself wounded to death. Slowly it fluttered down to the earth, with its life-blood pouring out of it. Looking down upon the Arrow with which it had been pierced, it found that the shaft of the Arrow had been feathered with one
    of its own plumes. “Alas!” it cried, as it died, “We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”

  20. I’d find Bill’s arguments more convincing if they didn’t just parrot the same old GOP rhetoric and fear mongering that conservative talk show hosts all spout. Though you do speak amazingly clearly given the current position of your nose and head.

  21. I’m not so sure if the primary vote is really representative of Connecticut Democrats as a whole. Generally, primary voters *aren’t* very representative. So it’s very likely that Lieberman will win in November, especially given the weakness of the Republican candidate in that state. But it’s really difficult to predict, as this isn’t a common situation.

    As for the war, I disagree with most of the comments here. I was in favor of the war, and continue to be supportive of it. I’ve always had very realistic notions of what constitutes success there, and I’m not looking for any Iraqi utopia. And I think it is rather naive to think that pulling out now would allow the Iraqis to solve their internal problems. I think they’re far more likely to find civilized ways of doing so if we stay, at least for the moment, and at least try to get them on their feet. The other option is to go back to the way things were–and I’m not sure any of us really want that, do we?

    We may end up with some regrets about Iraq, but I think it is far too early to say with any certainty that the war has been a failure. Has it met all our expectations? No. Has it made some things better? Certainly. Only time will tell if the changes will stick. But we wouldn’t have known for sure if we didn’t try first.

  22. John – I’m surprised at your position on this. You seem to be knocking the two-party system, but then defining “fairness” based on its false constructs.

    To wit: it’s pretty much assumed that no Republican is going to win a senate seat in Connecticut (maybe that’s not true, but that’s what I’m hearing at this point). If that’s the case, isn’t it safe to assume to some percentage of the Republicans in Connecticut might vote for Lieberman in November? And what if that number, plus 48% of the Democrats in the state (extrapolating from yesterday’s vote) make up more than 50% of the voters in the state? Is Lieberman still subverting the democratic process by running in that case?

    I’m not saying he’s going to win. As you point out, he’ll have the mighty marketing forces of both parties against him this time around, but to suggest he shouldn’t run because less than half of one particular group of voters didn’t vote for him doesn’t seem like the “will of the people” to me.

    As for Republicans that support Lieberman, a less cynical view might see this as the antithesis of party politics as well. An administration wants a Congress that will support it. Typically, that’s a Congress from the same party, but if given the choice between a Democrat that knee-jerk disagrees with everything they say and one that supports some of their policies, can you blame them for preferring Lieberman? This doesn’t strike me as “dirty” in the least – just good politics.

    What does strike me as “dirty politics,” are the folks who supported Lieberman yesterday, but now suddenly support Lamont, even though the two disagree on many issues. More on that on my blog (sorry for the self-pimpage, but it seems relevant).

  23. We may end up with some regrets about Iraq, but I think it is far too early to say with any certainty that the war has been a failure. Has it met all our expectations? No. Has it made some things better? Certainly. Only time will tell if the changes will stick. But we wouldn’t have known for sure if we didn’t try first.

    Your argument would sound better if you stopped channeling our Secretary of Defense. Just sayin’.

  24. tommyspoon

    Your argument would sound better if you stopped channeling our Secretary of Defense. Just sayin’.

    Why is that?

    An argument either stands on its own or doesn’t, it seems to me. Countering an argument based only on the proponent of the argument is ad hominem, isn’t it?

  25. Brian Greenberg, I don’t think that anybody’s disputing Lieberman’s right to run. But if I were a Connecticut voter, I wouldn’t be happy that a candidate has, basically, ignored the will of the voters. A small percentage of the voters, sure, but it’s still all of the voters who cared enough to vote in that election. (If Connecticut is like Ohio, which I don’t know if it is, then Republicans could have voted in the Democrat primary if they’d asked.)

    I think what rankles the most is the way Lieberman went about this. Had he said upfront, “I think that the Democrat party is out of step with the voters of Connecticut, so I’m going to drop out of the primary, and register to run as an independent,” then people wouldn’t be as upset.

    Instead, what he did was run in a race, knowing that the consequence of losing that race is that you don’t get to run in the general election, but said that if he loses, _then_ he’ll run as an independent. To me, it seems disingenuous, to use the strength of the party, lose, and then run against said party.

    K

  26. I begin to wonder if the issue here is the very term ‘war’. The war in Iraq ended quite a while ago; the constant references to an ongoing war, presumably the ‘war on terror’ isn’t really a war in the conventional sense that most people think of, much more than Vietnam was, per se.

    To grab from the dictionary: “A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.” When comparing WWII to Vietnam to Iraq, these don’t all fit in what most people tend to think of as a conventional ‘war’. The second defintion: A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious:” is clearly what the ‘war on terror’ actually is…but the old saying is that you can’t prove a negative. And that’s really what the current situation is, trying to create the absence of conflict through conflict.

    I did not support the war, but I also don’t support leaving…though I’m really not sure how sustainable this current conflict is, resource-wise. Historically, ‘nation-building’ has been a dicey business; sometimes it works and sometimes it backfires. Even forgetting centuries of disagreement over religious law and doctrine, whole generations of Iraqis grew up with an oppressive system in place. Remove the oppressors from power, and you’ll have the same situation. Our interference could prevent another Rwanda or Killing Fields.

    The problem is, that sort of war isn’t a winnable one. There isn’t some point where you can say, in the short term, “OK, our work’s done, here.” Just ask Germany. For a span of forty-some years, it was possible that a war might start there at any time. Likely? Not as time wore on, but a “99 luftballons” scenario haunted us until 1988.

    The war is easy, it’s the aftermatch that’s a bitch.

  27. Joe had to go, and he will stay gone. I predict that he will not be on the ticket in November, even if he initially runs as an independent. I was wondering why Clinton and Boxer and the rest came to CT to campaign for him, when Joe has not been the most loyal Democrat over the past few years.

    My theory? Top Dems came to CT to campaign on the condition that Joe would not hurt Lamont’s chances for election, or would withdraw come election time.

    And Reid, Schumer and Clinton have given their support to Lamont already, with Clinton’s campaign donating $5,000 to Lamont.

    And I’m not sure if Joe could switch back to Dem after running as an independent as he has implied that he would do. I would imagine he would need the Dems’ approval to do so…

  28. Brian Greenberg:

    “John – I’m surprised at your position on this.”

    Brian, as an aside from anything else you wrote here, are you aware at just how often you use rhetorical openings like this? You often seem surprised at what I say, about roughly as often as you say “Well, I believe [x] — but even so…” You need to change up your delivery. Just a notation for future comments.

    More to the point, you’re making the assumption that Lieberman is going to retain the Democratic voters he garnered in the primary election, which doesn’t seem likely; he’ll keep some to be sure, but I doubt he’ll keep the majority. Likewise, the presence of Lieberman means it’s rather more likely the GOP candidate has a shot if the GOP can keep party orthodoxy, which makes it more likely that GOP voters will stay with their candidate rather than support Lieberman (if they were sneaky, they would all say they support Lieberman when the pollsters came around, and then would vote for the GOP candidate on election day).

    “What does strike me as ‘dirty politics,’ are the folks who supported Lieberman yesterday, but now suddenly support Lamont, even though the two disagree on many issues.”

    That’s just crap, Brian. It’s no different than a voter who, say, supported Clark during the primaries supporting Kerry once the primaries were over. That’s not dirty politics, that politics.

  29. This is rich coming the GOP, of course, which has spent decades marginalizing its own moderates and (god forbid) liberals. . .

    Especially rich, in light of the fact that Joe owes at least a part of his soon-to-be-former position to the Republicans abandoning support for Lowell Weicker.

  30. Personally I would love it if there were more independent political candidates; I pretty much despise the idea of political parties on principle. But if you’re going to be independent, then be independent — don’t be independent when it’s useful to you and then go back to being a party member when it comes time to get your committee assignments, as Lieberman has already made clear he would.

    Without parties, how would we find — and elect — suitable candidates? (This isn’t a defense of political parties; I’ve been of the “a pox on both your houses” opinion for quite a while now.) What would a practical independent political process look like in order for it to produce candidates who can actually win elections without pandering to the existing polarity?

    Here’s my idea: take the example of One Red Paperclip and apply it to the political process to think outside the system. Am I nuts? Probably. Will it work? I don’t know — but at least it’s an attempt to actually try to change the rules by which the game is played.

  31. Bill & erm

    I don’t think too many people would disagree that it’d be really bad if we left Iraq. But the argument that we shouldn’t leave because it’d be bad presumes that things will be better if we stay. Three and a half years in, that presumption is getting very thin and ragged.

    For a while there, Republicans threw the “So what would you do different” question at Democrats. Now that “Stay the course” clearly isn’t working, I think that question’s being turned around. With the significant difference that it’s now being asked of the people who are actually in charge.

    CoolBlue

    Yeah, tommyspoon’s question was arguably ad hominem. But since the man (“homo”, but without all the nasty connotations ) being attacked there is the Sec’y of Defense directly responsible for the policy being attacked, it’s actually legit.

    To re-phrase his argument, erm’s questions would sound better if they didn’t sound so similar to Rumsfeld’s flippant dismissals of very real dangers that. That’s ad hominem all right, in the a very legitimate way.

  32. Not sure how that I mis-edited that, but what I meant to say in that next to last sentence was:

    …Rumsfeld’s flippant dismissals of very real dangers that got us into this mess in the first place.

  33. Actually, there is a difference between losing in the primary and losing in the general election. Lots of people don’t think it’s worth their trouble to vote in primaries. Those who do tend to be the ones who feel very strongly for or against a candidate or issue. Come November, when a lot of people vote who didn’t bother to show up yesterday, things might be very different.
    A few years ago, my democratic rep in the state legislature didn’t run for reelection, and the majority of people in the district disapproved of the way the new candidate was chosen. She was beaten, ironically, by a black republican.

  34. Jon Marcus

    But since the man (“homo”, but without all the nasty connotations ) being attacked there is the Sec’y of Defense directly responsible for the policy being attacked, it’s actually legit.

    Actually, it’s not because regardless of who said it, the argument itself must be refuted. People get confused about this all the time, I notice.

    So if you’re in a discussion and you say “you’re argument is invalid because Bush made the same argument and he’s an idiot” that is still an ad hominem argument.

    To re-phrase his argument, erm’s questions would sound better if they didn’t sound so similar to Rumsfeld’s flippant dismissals of very real dangers that got us into this mess in the first place.

    And this is a faux argument as well, though common. To which “flippant dismassals” are you referring? What makes them dismissive? What makes them flippant? And most importantly, how did they lead to “this mess”?

    I generally don’t see the “heated” debates as a problem in political discourse. It’s the intellectual shotcuts that pass for argument I see as being most damaging.

  35. CoolBlue, I was making a joke. My apologies for failing to amuse you. The current leadership in this country is a much bigger joke, I’m afraid.

  36. Jon:

    “Come November, when a lot of people vote who didn’t bother to show up yesterday, things might be very different.”

    Generally this is quite true, although I would note that the turnout in Connecticut’s primary was unusually high for a primary race. I wonder what that will mean for the general election.

  37. Scalzi

    Generally this is quite true, although I would note that the turnout in Connecticut’s primary was unusually high for a primary race. I wonder what that will mean for the general election.

    The turn out could have been high because there were a lot of Democrats who were worried about the direction their party is taking. And since Joe lost by a narrower margin than would have been predicted a few weeks ago (before the whole “blackface” fiasco) it may not bode well for the Democrat candidate because the differences between the two contenders was (is) so stark.

    It may very well be that people who voted for Joe will not vote for Ned (and vice versa).

    But who knows? because, hey!, it’s Democracy!

  38. In spite of my distaste for most Republican policies, I can always count of the Democrats to do their damnedest to lose my vote.

    Last night, they did it again.

  39. Lieberman, from what I can see, lost the race for three core reasons:

    1) The perception that he was more interested in sucking up to power than in working with his party.
    2) His abysmal track record on tackling local issues and engaging with his constituency.
    3) He ran a dreadful campaign (and not for the first time).

    Any one of those reasons is a good enough reason for the electorate to choose another candidate. So Dave, what exactly bothers you about this story. Is it:

    a) The registered voters exercising their franchise in accordance with the rules to choose the candidate they believed would best represent their views and their constituency.

    or

    b) That one of the candidates upon losing declared himself to be more important than the party.

    I really hope it’s the latter.

  40. The primary is supposed to allow the party to decide which candidate best represents its members. By its nature the primary is divisive, though not always as rancorous as this one was. Now that the primary is over I would expect most Democrats to support the candidate selected in the primary.

    Yes, there will be those who end up voting for Joe anyway. I just don’t expect that many to abandon the party for the losing candidate.

  41. CoolBlue

    It wasn’t a faux argument. It was a shorthand reference to Rumsfeld’s well known tendency of answering his own rhetorical questions, instead of answering his questioner.

    Here’re some quotes from his Senate testimony last week. When questioned about his credibility and competence, he asked himself and answered these questions:

    …Are there still Taliban around? You bet. Are they occupying safe havens in Afghanistan and other places, correction in Pakistan and other places? Certainly they are. Is the violence up? Yes. Does the violence tend to be up during the summer and spring, summer, and fall months? Yes it does. And it tends to decline during the winter period. Does that represent failed policy? I don’t know, I would say not…Are there setbacks? Yes. Are there things that people can’t anticipate? Yes. Does the enemy have a brain and continue to make adjustments on the ground, requiring our forces to continue to make adjustments? You bet. Is that going to continue to be the case? I think so. Is this problem going to get solved in the near term about this violence struggle against extremism? No, I don’t believe it is…

    To be fair, he said much more than this. For instance, he made the outlandish claim that the Iraqi Army was not disbanded, but just disbanded itself. Given that the Iraqi Army was disbanded by Paul Bremer in May of 2003, that claim risible on it’s face.

    CoolBllue, although you may disagree with my conclusions, I doubt I’ve said anything here that you didn’t already know. But rather than address the argument itself, you called a cheap foul. The “ad hominem” attack on Rumsfeld wasn’t a faux argument. It was a rhetorical shortcut, as I think you were aware.

  42. So Dave, what exactly bothers you about this story.

    The outcome. The last thing the Dems need is a fresh infusion of McGovernism and liberal orthodoxy. Seeing Lamont on the podium last night with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should have been a wake-up call to rank-and-file Democrats, but I have a strong feeling it won’t be.

  43. John:
    That’s just crap, Brian. It’s no different than a voter who, say, supported Clark during the primaries supporting Kerry once the primaries were over. That’s not dirty politics, that politics.

    Maybe, but then it’s the worst form of partisan politics. Can we at least pretend that we’re voting for a candidate because of where he stands on the issues, and not because of the letter in parentheses next to his name?

    Any politician who’s been stumping for Lieberman up until now has (theoretically, at least) identified himself with Lieberman’s positions. Today, he/she finds himself supporting several diametrically opposed positions. At some point, he/she has to admit that the positions don’t matter at all, and all that does matter is putting Democratic butts in the seats.

    A good Republican attack strategy, IMHO, would hound these people to define what they believe in, and then slam them with their own quotes (either before the primary or afterwards) and peg them as hypocrites.

  44. Brian Greenberg:

    “Can we at least pretend that we’re voting for a candidate because of where he stands on the issues, and not because of the letter in parentheses next to his name?”

    Sure, Brian. The GOP first.

  45. @Dave, the problem with a one trick pony is that it is not really good at anything else.

    Lamont has shot his load, he won’t pick up another vote, while Lieberman will not only pick up Democrats who sober up in the next 90 days, he will also pick up many republicans.

    The GOP has no one running in that race that anyone wants to vote for and I will be suprised if Lieberman does not garner at least 45% of the Repub vote.

    Lamont had his day in the sunshine, I hope it was worth the 6 million dollars he spent for it.

  46. Yeah – Democrats are likely to swarm to the D candidate who lost the primary and now seeks to ensure that the vote gets split, giving the election to the republican.

    And while I’m not a huge fan of the two party system, the fact is, the letter after your name is pretty good shorthand for what the candidate stands for. And Democrats, as a party, share a number of core ideals. So while Clinton and the rest who came to lobby for Joe supported him then, that doesn’t mean that *they support everything he believes in* – just that they are supporting that candidate as a whole. And in any case, they support the primary system.

    Joe may get a portion of the R vote, but most of those voters will just stay home. 45% of a terrible turn-out isn’t that much. And keep in mind, not all Republicans support the war – they may choose to withold their vote specifically because of that.

    Joe was a terrible Democrat the last few years, and a half-assed Republican. That doesn’t make a whole candidate.

  47. From the FEC’s website:

    As of 07/19/2006, Lieberman had received $7.7M. $6.2M came from individuals, $1.3 from PACs. He’d spent $4.6M.

    http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_06+S8CT00022

    As of 7/19/2006, Lamont had received $4.1M. $1.6M came from individuals, $3700 from PACs, and $2.5 from himself. He’d spent $3.7M.

    http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_06+S6CT05066

    Bill, I know I’m going to regret asking you, well, anything, but where’d you get that $6M figure?

  48. John H

    Now that the primary is over I would expect most Democrats to support the candidate selected in the primary.

    There is a problem with that in my view. First is that Lamont has made his bones as an anti-war candidate. To the extent that that shapes the battlefield for the Senate race, people, individually, are going to have to assess if that’s how they want to vote. This is a Big Thing not just some nuanced difference in ideology and methodology so many Democrats may feel that it’s too important to simply vote the Party Line (and remember, most people still think of Lieberman as a Democrat and will until at least November).

    It is just this sort of issue that created the “neocons” to begin with.

    Also, you have to remember that the Republican candidate is a sure loser. He has a host of electability issues. The CT Republican Party is trying to get him replaced. Assuming they are not successful, many, many Republicans will be voting for Lieberman. In fact, one could say, that without Lieberman they would have no one to vote for.

    So at the moment its a two man race, and the battlefield has been shaped around a Big Issue.

    Yes there will be Democrats who vote the party line no matter what. But (as Brian points out) there will be many who can not, for one reason or another be able to vote anti-war. Combine those with Republicans who have no one else to vote for and a real possibility exists for a loss for Lamont which, remember, is still a win for Democrats because Lieberman will not leave the Democrat Party no matter what.

    Of course, as often happens in Congressional races, the campaign may turn to more local issues in which case (though the Republican is still off the radar) things may take a completely different turn.

    Jon Marcus

    Here’re some quotes from his Senate testimony last week. When questioned about his credibility and competence, he asked himself and answered these questions:

    This is precisely my point. These quotes you picked neither sounds flippant nor dismissive to me. To me it sounds like a statement of reality.

    And I simply can not see how statements like this were responsible for “this mess”.

    So the fauxness of your argument relates to the fact that you made an assessment of the SecDef, presented it as fact, and used that as an argument to support your position instead of building a case for your position.

  49. CoolBlue

    The problem with your argument is you assume a large turnout. This is a mid-term year, which typically sees fewer voters on election day. The Republicans with no candidate from their party worth voting for might decide to stay home. If Joe’s counting on Republicans crossing over, he’s living in a fantasy.

    You also seem to think it’s just about party affiliation without taking into account those who voted based on endorsements of unions and special interest groups. Some of those are expected to throw their support to Ned Lamont now that he’s the Democratic candidate. That will draw even more votes away from Joe.

    And I’m still not ruling out the prospect of Joe Lieberman bowing out over the next few weeks…

  50. John H

    The problem with your argument is you assume a large turnout.

    You make some good points. And there are a lot of unknowns. Are there enough Republicans who feel so strongly about Ned Lamont’s anti-war position that they will go to the polls even if there is no Republican that appeals to them? Remember, the guy will represent their state.

    I don’t know.

    Are there enough Democrats who feel strongly that their Party should not take a left turn that they will go to the polls?

    And then there is the other side, will Lamont inspire enough voters to vote for him? He may, after all, turm out to be a dud when having to appeal to a wider audience on a wider range of issues than he had to deal with in the Primary. He can no longer just appeal to the anti-war segment of his own party. Now he has to appeal to a much larger constituency.

    As far as the big names in the Party go, they almost have to support Lamont, especially those who are going to run for President in ’08, because no matter what, they will need the Leftists to get past the Primary. And there is no doubt that Lamont is a Leftist candidate.

    And I’m still not ruling out the prospect of Joe Lieberman bowing out over the next few weeks…

    No matter what, I don’t see this happening. Polls today show Lieberman running away with the general election. There is simply no way he is going to throw in what looks like a winning hand.

  51. This is a mid-term year, which typically sees fewer voters on election day. The Republicans with no candidate from their party worth voting for might decide to stay home. If Joe’s counting on Republicans crossing over, he’s living in a fantasy.

    The conversation here seems lost in a R vs. D mode. I didn’t know it when I posted this morning, but I just looked up the CT voter registration and there are more independents than there are Democrats in Connecticut. Here are the numbers:

    Active Democrats: 653,055
    Active Republicans: 427,803
    Active “Unaffiliated”: 867,761

    I’d say that Lieberman, unless this defeat turns out to be a heartbreaker and he bows out, has a very good chance in November.

    Regarding the responses to my earlier comment:

    I don’t want to get into a pissing match over which party does more to enforce orthodoxy, and it seems odd that it’s come up here since in this case a Democrat has, in fact, been ousted from his party for not being progressive enough.

    For those looking for resons why big players, including President Clinton, went to bat for Lieberman, consider that Lieberman was not the only Democrat to vote for the war. Senator Clinton has probably watched the CT race very carefully.

  52. Ms. Clinton had to cover her hawk stance, once Liberman was foundering, she was free to cut him off and had the easy out of “it’s just politics”.

    It is rather fun to watch all the backstabbing and treachery that is going on.

    One thing CT voters might remember though, is Joe Libermans keeping the two naval bases there, and all of their military camps operational (Drawing multi hundreds of millions of dollars into various local economies).

    What drum is Lamont going to beat for the next 89 days? The “Lets bring the troops home” drum, when every sane person knows that the fighting is going to happen wherever the troops are. That drum, jsut is not going to play very well for the non-fringe, non-kook part of the democratic party.

  53. And as a final quote, as I have to get off to my Sons soccer practice, I leave you with:

    “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

  54. Yeah, good thing we have a distinguished war hero like Dubya running things…

    Y’all mind the puddle of sarcasm now, wouldn’t want anyone slipping in it.

  55. John:
    That’s just crap, Brian. It’s no different than a voter who, say, supported Clark during the primaries supporting Kerry once the primaries were over. That’s not dirty politics, that politics.

    Brian Greenberg:
    Maybe, but then it’s the worst form of partisan politics. Can we at least pretend that we’re voting for a candidate because of where he stands on the issues, and not because of the letter in parentheses next to his name?

    Me:
    No, not entirely.

    The whole point of a political party, in addition to its ideology, is that it controls a fair amount of resources — money, organization, and experience — and the point of the primary process is to see who the organization is going to support. If everybody ignores the primary results, the effectiveness of the party in getting anyone elected is destroyed. Part of the (implicit, as we’re seeing) deal of getting a party’s resources behind you is that, if the day comes when the party decides to give their support to someone else, you don’t go opposing that same party.

  56. It is extremely foolish to write off Joe Lieberman. He may have lost support from the left, but in a three-way race, he’ll get a lot of support.

    And the idea that running after losing the primary is somehow illegitimate? Come now….he ran for a party nomination. He still wants to be Senator. Therefore, he runs as an independent. No big deal.

    There is now an additional 3 months for all parties to make their case. If all the critics claim about “the people of Connecticut” is true, then he will lose. I bet he has at least a 50-50 shot.

  57. I don’t dispute he has a right to run, of course. By all means, let him run. I just don’t expect it to turn out the way he hopes.

  58. John, just wanted to point out that here in Ohio, Joe Lieberman wouldn’t have the right to run due to our “Sore Loser” Law. Which, BTW, the Republicans here are trying to subvert to replace Bob Ney on the ticket.

    I would also point out to the rest that Lieberman wasn’t asked to surrender his Democratic Party card. He’s still a Dem, just has to run as an Independent because of the election laws. Also, as not being the party’s nominee, he can’t draw on the party resources for the general election. That’s really all this primary decided.

    Everything else is spin and pre-election voodoo.

    As for the argument of political parties being the only way to groom and educate candidates; ah, no. Some of us run simply because of the civic duty we feel. Some of us also win.

  59. As an actual Connecticut voter and pollee, I believe my opinion in this matter as a bit of weight. And that opinion is that Lieberman’s political career ended last night. NO National or state Democrat is going to support his independent canidacy. Most of the people who voted for him will cheerfully vote for Lamont. The mass of volunteers who were essential to Lamont’s victory will turn out in November, if needed.

    Also, the latest poll that asked the three way question went 40 Lamont, 40 Liberman, 20 Repub guy. I predict the nest poll will be abut 60 Lamont, 20 Lieberman, 20 Repub guy.

  60. Bill:

    How is it rude to bring up the fact that the President and SecDef, who are making policy with regard to this war, never served in combat?

    You quoted Eisenhower, who served with honor. How is it rude to note the fact that the people leading our soliders into combat have never been in combat?

    I understand that you have served – would you say that that was (among other things, of course) an educational experience? Would you say that you are more qualified to lead soldiers into harms way than, say, me (who has never served)? I would certainly imagine that someone who has served on the front lines is better qualified to make decisions as to how and when military force should be used.

    Is it weak or timid to say, this cause isn’t worth it – it is not worth the life of a fellow soldier, and having been in combat, I know what the costs of that combat are?

    I don’t know what Eisenhower’s feelings on the Iraq was would have been – but I do believe strongly that he would say that it is not weak nor timid to refuse to put soldiers lives on the line for a cause that was not worthy enough to justify their sacrifice.

    Obviously, we would disagree about whether Iraq is such a cause – but I would assume we could agree the it is relevant whether the people making the decision had actually served in combat.

  61. Ok, I gather what you are saying is that one of the litmus tests for being president now is that there is mandatory active duty military service?

    Lets jsut clear this point up then we can continue on, ok?

  62. Litmus test? You get that from when I asked whether it would be relevant? That’s an awful big jump. Just because something is relevant to the discussion, doesn’t mean that it comes anywhere close to being a litmus test.

    Does this mean that you are saying it isn’t relevant? Hey, if someone who has served in the military is saying front line experience is irrelevant to determining whether someone is qualified to be president, I may have to change my view.

  63. I have never been in the national control structure, so my opinion on it would be the same as yours. Do troops perfer to be led by a person who has served in a branch of the military? Most certainly. Interesting note though, that type of service is somewhat inconsequential though, as I do not know of a single veteran that would have prefered John Kerry as CIC over George Bush, even though George Bush did his service in a branch that did not see combat.

    Do I beleive that the franchise to vote should be reserved to people who have served their country? Maybe, just maybe. It smacks of a poll tax of sorts. Though having seen the makeup of our fighting force, minorities would be a huge majority at the polls if that were the case.

    But getting back to the original question, no, service in my mind is not a qualifier, one elects a president not for his rifle handling skills, but for his leadership and team building skills. I want a leader who surrounds herself with the best, most capable warriors, diplomats and advisors. I want that leader to listen carefully to what these warriors, diplomats and advisors have to say, I want that leader to act decisivly on their beliefs as to the matter at hand.

    I find it refreshing that our current leader does not govern by poll, I know it is one of the things that set others off about him [shrug], what can you do? Another few years and we will have a new leader in there. Which direction do you think s/he will bring this country? And will that direction be a direction that has been charted just out of hatred of the current administration and not out of our own rational self interest?

  64. On an entirely unrelated subject, Bill, is there a reason you sign your name “BIll” with a capital “I”?

  65. Dyslexia, shifiting is one of those things that cause me endless problems (as in B ill)

    It doesn’t help that my mac remembers my account info and fills it in automagically.

    Mea Cupla.

  66. Wow, such strong predictions.

    Personally I think the country as a whole is pretty much in a foul mood. Rising gasoline prices have riled up a lot of people, probably more than they should, but there you go.

    Even our local “safe” incumbent Senator better look out. He should not take anything for granted.

    For those fearful cowards the spectre of terrorists will cause them to huddle around any perceived strength, but I think that number is dwindling.

    I have to ask you directly Bill – what are you so afraid of?

  67. What am I so afraid of?

    Hmmm, I am afraid of a nuclear bomb in my city, I am afraid of posion in my water supply, I am afraid of a bomb on my plane.

    On 9/11 I was in the North Tower, I got to watch them fall, first hand, closeup.

    Mostly today I am afraid for my 13 year old Daughter, who was to fly home from visiting her penpal of 5 years in England, she is not flying today, and when she does fly, I will be dreading and living in fear of that flight until I have her back here.

    Basically that is what I am fearing today, how about you?

  68. Bill Marcy:

    I want a leader who surrounds herself with the best, most capable warriors, diplomats and advisors. I want that leader to listen carefully to what these warriors, diplomats and advisors have to say, I want that leader to act decisivly on their beliefs as to the matter at hand.

    And see, I’d really prefer a leader who then makes their decisions based on the facts, and the input of those capable warriors, diplomats and advisors rather than deciding based on their beliefs. This is not governing by poll, its governing by rationality.

    And as for it being a requirement that presidents serve in the military, No, I don’t think that should be the case… but if you are going to blindly support Dubya and imply that he is neither weak nor timid (and apparently that the democrats are?) then it is not rude to point out historical evidence that the President was not (nor is not currently, IMO) so “strong and bold” after all…

    Also:

    Interesting note though, that type of service is somewhat inconsequential though, as I do not know of a single veteran that would have prefered John Kerry as CIC over George Bush, even though George Bush did his service in a branch that did not see combat.

    I suspect that has far more to do with your choice of friends/aquaintances than it does with any reality. I, on the other hand, do know a fair number of veterans who would have preferred Kerry to Bush, and even several who found Clinton to be far more palatable than our current Prez.

  69. And see, I’d really prefer a leader who then makes their decisions based on the facts, and the input of those capable warriors, diplomats and advisors rather than deciding based on their beliefs. This is not governing by poll, its governing by rationality.

    How interesting. When the president does rely on the intelligence given to him by the various Federal intelligence agencies as well as the intelligence given to him by various allied intelligence agencies, bases his decisions on that, and a year later that intelligence is found to be faulty in some way, you are willing to accept that, right?

  70. And as a side note, no one who has served under clinton, who was under the rank of Genreal, woudl think that clinton was a better commander than Bush. I dare say that would be a universal.

    SOmalia alone negates clintons ability to command men. Cut and run did not work then, cut and run woudl not work now. No matter how much it is pushed by the enlightened left.

  71. I want a leader who surrounds herself with the best, most capable warriors, diplomats and advisors.

    So…are those people going to start working at the White House any time soon? ‘Cause I think that would be great.

    Also, where did you get your $6M figure for Lamont’s expenditures? I’d love to read your source.

    And it’s actually snark that’s the weak man’s version of strength. At least, that’s what it says on my package of Snark-ee-ohs cereal; I always make sure to down a bowl before going on Teh Intarweb.

  72. I guess I should have qualified what I said. Rifle handling skills obviously don’t make you a better leader – but I think leading people into combat does. And who the troops would prefer to have as CIC is less important to me than who would actually be the best CIC. The qualities that you mention:

    “…leadership and team building skills. I want a leader who surrounds herself with the best, most capable warriors, diplomats and advisors. I want that leader to listen carefully to what these warriors, diplomats and advisors have to say, I want that leader to act decisivly on their beliefs as to the matter at hand.”

    are all qualities that I would think would be developed and needed by anyone who has sucessfully and responsibly lead soldiers into combat. GWB may have acquired those skills elsewhere – he did not get them through his military service. Kerry certainly had the opportunity to develop those skills in combat, whether he did or not – we disagree.

    So while I agree with you on the skill set that is necessary, I’m concerned that some politicians see war as nothing more than high-stakes Risk – and not the true cost. While it would be impossible for GWB to currently be ignorant of the human cost of the present war, I’m not sure he was at the start.

    Assuming that you have read Enders Game (possible spoiler ahead) the difference is between Ender’s knowledge before the final battle, and what he learned afterwards. Ignorance may have made it easier for him to do what he needed to do (and obviously the stakes of that war were as high as they could possibly be) but I think that kind of ignorance is dangerous when you do have a choice between going to war, and pursuing a different course of action.

    What I’m saying is that whatever Kerry’s abilities as a leader in combat are, he came out of Vietnam knowing the true cost of war – something that I’m concerned GWB was ignorant of at the end of his service. I don’t want another president with that kind of ignorance.

    As for the next president, I hope we elect one that has the ability to responsibly lead us out of Iraq – not out of reaction to GWB, but in our own self interest. I hope we have one that can agree with McCain’s anti-torture bill without needing to qualify it with a signing statement. I hope we have a president who actually creates a safer america, rather than an america that is simply feared. I hope we have one that can admit to mistakes, instead of stubbornly plowing ahead.

  73. How interesting. When the president does rely on the intelligence given to him by the various Federal intelligence agencies as well as the intelligence given to him by various allied intelligence agencies, bases his decisions on that, and a year later that intelligence is found to be faulty in some way, you are willing to accept that, right?

    Well yes, if that information were truly just faulty and not cherry-picked to point in the desired direction… or if he were willing to admit errors and adjust his strategy based on new information rather than simply “staying the course” that would be swell too…

    For that matter, I wish he truly would surround himself with the most capable advisors he could find rather than the rampant cronyism we have seen time and again.

    But I digress…

    We’ll never see eye to eye obviously… you’ve admitted your fears, and you’ve bought into the Bushites views that they are in fact addressing these conerns, whereas I share some of your fears, but feel that those fears are either not being addressed, or are being addressed in ways that require too dear a price for the benefit we receive.

  74. I don’t think I ever wrote that I bought into anything that the present administraion has said. (I prefer not debating with people who uses deragatory terms for the administration, but I assume for some it is so ingrained it is hard to overcome, sorta like when the republicans were doing the whole Klinton thing, it is childish and annoying).

    I do know for a fact that the battles and attacks happen where the troops are, and I much prefer the battles and attacks to happen ‘over there’, than ‘over here’. Thats sounds alot like the current administration policy of bringing the fight to them, but it is not really where my head is at on this matter. I think that this administration is caught in a quagmire, that being of fighting a war with gloves on and politically correct.

    We can not win this through diplomacy, nor can we win this without a massive body count of some sort. Those bodies will be of civillians, just as every war through out time has been. We have 24 hours news coverage that has to roll film, the more outrageous the better (Hence we are starting to see more and more doctoring of ‘news). They can’t sell soap, nor cars, if they don’t have eyeballs glued to their sets. So what produces outrage better than whipping up the hysteria against the adminstraion? Flowers and puppies and happy unicorns in the whitehouse? I think not.

    Are you absolutely positive that President Bush is a moron, I am pretty sure you are, through no evidence but what you get through the news. Fair enough, everyone has to base their beliefs on something.

    Do I beleive in the Wolfowitz strategy? Wholeheartedly. Mostly because I have children, I have been in war and I have been in combat against islamic warriors. We will not change them, we will not negotiate with them, we will not buy them off. The only possible recourse we have is to kill them, and to control their education system ( I shudder at the thought of allowing our educators near them, we thought they hated America now? sheesh).

    It is basic tribal warfare, our tribe has to win, as the alternative to winning is my children dead, your children dead, Johns children dead.

    You may see another outcome, I would love to hear one that is not only feasiable, but historically feasible.

  75. Bill,

    Basically that is what I am fearing today, how about you?

    Honestly I am fearing none of that.

    I’ve had my share of personal tragedy in my life and I deal with it without living in fear. I’m straight with my creator and when it is my time it is my time. I’ve lost loved ones and that is the greatest pain I have ever felt bar none, and I know for a FACT that I will face that pain again in my life God willing.

    Shit happens. Life goes on. Deal with it, because your fear is making you miserable and irrational.

  76. I am neither miserable, nor irrational.

    I am clear eyed as to what the world is like today, as well as I am not now, nor have I ever been willing to allow life to just happen to me.

    There are things under our control and things out of our control. You ceding those things says more of you, than anything else.

  77. Bill,

    Dude, you are irrational and you sure don’t sound happy to me.

    Nowhere did I say I was a pacifist or that I just let life happen to me. I embrace life, the bad with the good, and face it fully everyday. I also control what I can and leave the rest to God.

    Did something happen to you in combat? Do you have any spirituality at all? It is fine to recognize and acknowledge risks but buck up man! Grow a spine and face your fears.

    You do understand that we all die, right? Every one of us? Nobody is getting out of this alive.

  78. I really laughed out loud over that one Tripp.

    I can imagine you, 15 years old, sitting in your moms basemant rattling that one off.

    I have kids, a couple of mortagages, a few dogs, a happy marriage. When you start getting some responsibility, you might start seeing the world in a slightly different way.

    My fear, is almost entirely for my children and my wife, you may learn to understand that kind of fear, and responsibiliuty, to something outside of your own life.

    Fair enough?

  79. Bill-

    Could you show me the links (and I am genuniely curious where this FEC data is, ’cause I’ve obviously missed something)? ‘Cause the ones I had (cited upthread) had Lieberman outspending Lamont by $1.9M.

    And what’s more interesting is all that PAC cash that Lieberman got. Take a look:
    Accenture PAC
    3M
    Action Fund of Lehman Brothers
    AETNA PAC
    Allstate PAC

    …and I could keep going. But what commitees gave to Lamont?
    MoveOn.org
    Democracy for America
    National Organization for Women PAC

    And that’s it. At least, according to that latest filing.

  80. I do know for a fact that the battles and attacks happen where the troops are, and I much prefer the battles and attacks to happen ‘over there’, than ‘over here’.

    So, how many troops were to be on those planes that were to be attacked? How many on the trains in London last year?

    The “flypaper strategy” is bankrupt.

  81. Well, your comments have echoed the administrations assertions very strongly, therefore I made the assumption that you believed them…

    Still to adress your points… I am not a military tactician, I am an engineer. I am not by nature opposed to the use of military force however, I help design weapons as a matter of fact… but I believe this “war on terror” can not be won purely through force of arms, and certainly not in the way it is currently proceeding. The fighting in Afghanistan was and is a valid location for applying force. There was the closest thing to a direct connection between 9/11 and a government in power. We removed that government, and we fight terrorists… fighting them “there” is better than fighting them “Here”, I grant you that.

    Iraq, had nothing to do with 9/11 and I do not truly believe it represented any immediate threat, nor do I think we are inherently safer because of our actions there. Are we fighting them “there” instead of here? Possibly… it has become a magnet for terrorists, and a front line in this “war on terror”. But we made it so. If there was no true justification relative to terrorism to attack in the first place, I find it somewhat morally reprehensible that we have turned a sovereign country into a terrorist battle ground for no other reason than to simply keep the terrorists busy there rather than attacking us. The loss of civilian and military life is deeply troubling.

    I don’t see how one can beleive that terrosim can be defeated with military strength alone. This is not a country, or an army we are fighting. We are fighting ideas. Yes, we must be strong and confront terrorists and defend our country, but we must be open to other options. Can it be solved diplomatically alone? Not likely… but terrorism does have a basis in ideas and ideologies, and the root of those ideas are seldom uniformly evil. Behind the indefensible tactics of terrorism are some legitimate complaints that shouldn’t be dismissed based on the fringe fanatics who use these tactics.

    Of the billions upon billions of dollars spent fighting in Iraq, how much could have been accomplished to make us truly safer? A small fraction of that money to boost port security such that the nuclear bomb you fear is not smuggle into the country… a small fraction to increase chemical detection in carryon luggage to detect that bomb you fear on the plane… missile defense for airliners… more law enforcement… better education for our children… support for education abroad…

    So many options. I don’t know the exact solution… but we need to be more creative than tearing a country apart and throwing our young soldiers lives away to fight to a standstill to keep the terrorists busy for a while…

  82. Bill, hate to break the news to you, but if you are actually afraid of all those things, the terrorists have won. That’s their short-term goal, to make you afraid. Our side has already lost, for you. The long term effects would require too much space, but they all stem from making you (and the rest of us) afraid and reactionary.

    As for your view of war, that works well on squad level tactics, but poorly on theater level strategy or for the politics driving the war.

    Domino theory didn’t work for the communists who insist on total control. It’ll work even less for Democracy where governments are intentional not in total control.

  83. Phillip, when did the last IED go off in your neighborhood?

    That’s pretty weak, Bill — IEDs have never gone off here, either before or after the President began pursuing this foolish war.

  84. That’s pretty weak, Bill — IEDs have never gone off here, either before or after the President began pursuing this foolish war.

    Well, that’s not quite true. Remember the captain of the Vincennes? Or, rather, his wife?

  85. Bill Marcy: Another few years and we will have a new leader in there. Which direction do you think s/he will bring this country? And will that direction be a direction that has been charted just out of hatred of the current administration and not out of our own rational self interest?

    Well, yes and no. Seeing as how that’s exactly the way the Bush administration started out – anything Clinton did they sought to undo – I would hope the next administration will reverse all the idiotic and harmful policies this administration has enacted.

  86. John H

    I would hope the next administration will reverse all the idiotic and harmful policies this administration has enacted.

    To which policies are you referring?

  87. CoolBlue

    I’m sure I could compile a list, but I don’t know if John’s server can handle that much data. </snark>

    But seriously, you seem like a smart fellow – I’m sure you can figure it out on your own…

  88. John H

    But seriously, you seem like a smart fellow – I’m sure you can figure it out on your own…

    That’s the point; I don’t want to figure it out, because since I have faith that the American people will not elect a non-serious person to the Presidency, I’m pretty sure most policies will likely remain in place.

    And if we do elect a non-serious person, then we’re probably doomed anyway so it won’t matter.

  89. CoolBlue,
    Fine, one of the long list of idiotic policy changes that the current administration has done. No, I won’t list them all for you. If you are truly interested, visit a library to read the many books that have been published about them.

    Idiocy: The President, with a straight face, in the first week of his tenure signed an executive order cutting off funds to family planning clinics worldwide, if they are remotely associated with abortion clinics. This is after said clinics had been forced to separate those business operations even to the point of paying different rents on different locals and keeping separate books. He did this with the argument that any funds given to these organizations from the US government would support abortion, of which he is opposed, by freeing funds from their other operations.

    Half-a-year later our President started the process of opening government grants and funds to religious-based charities while keeping the same said straight face (marred by his characteristic tick at the time of puckering to the side) saying how these funds would go directly to the charity for only their use could not possibly be construed as helping the churches which support, house, fund, staff, and keep a single set of books covering the charity.

    As John H said, you’re a smart fellow. Start showing it in other areas than rhetorical jousting.

    As for having a serious President, one that says, “Yo” to another head-of-state, even in jest or off-line but still in public surrounded by other heads-of-state, doesn’t qualify.

  90. Steve Buchheit

    signed an executive order cutting off funds to family planning clinics worldwide, if they are remotely associated with abortion clinics….our President started the process of opening government grants and funds to religious-based charities

    See, this is why I ask first before assuming. Given the direction of the conversation, I was thinking in a completely different direction.

    I could go either way on thess particular policies so, fine.

    If the next President comes in and reverses them, I won’t deem them an idiot.

    As for having a serious President, one that says, “Yo” to another head-of-state, even in jest or off-line but still in public surrounded by other heads-of-state, doesn’t qualify.

    You’re not serious, right?

  91. Steve Buchheit

    I just love how you quote parts of posts, but miss the whole context and complete argument being made.

    That’s because a) I was asking about the policies you (and John H) disagree with and b) your characterization of the implementation of these policies does not take into account a whole host of laws and regulations that come into play and are independent of the policy decisions themselves and thus were invalid as an argument to prove “idiocy” on the President’s part.

  92. Bill,

    I can imagine you, 15 years old, sitting in your moms basemant rattling that one off.

    Stuff it you arrogant pig. I missed this comment because I was out working my second job to get a little extra cash.

    Don’t even pretend to lecture me about responsibility. I’ll be 50 years old in a couple weeks, I’ve got 4 wonderful kids, and I’ve been married to the same woman for nearly 25 years and intend to keep it that way.

    I started out with nothing but my wits and plenty of moral support and guidance from my parents, teachers, and coaches. I have also faced and lived through more than my share of personal tragedies including death and things worse than death.

    Bill your fears are disproportional. They are clouding your judgement. You need to conquer them and in my opinion spirituality is the way to do it. I’ve made my peace with God despite all the crap (and blessings) he has thrown my way. This gives me the bedrock on which to build everything else.

    I am sure this has little chance of sinking in and I know I have absolutely no control over you. Anyone who has dealt with an alcoholic will know exactly what I am talking about. I’m not saying you are an alcoholic I am refering to the fact that just like alcoholics any change will have to come from yourself.

    You can take that or leave that, your choice.

  93. No offence, Tripp, but he was responding to a personal attack, rather than substantive answers to his points. When you give a personal attack, you tend to receive in kind….funny how that works…..

  94. Now, now, people. I was just saying how nice it is that people haven’t been going off the rails. Don’t make liars of me. Stay away from personal attacks. Stick to discussions that don’t involve trying to stab each other.

  95. “That’s the point; I don’t want to figure it out, because since I have faith that the American people will not elect a non-serious person to the Presidency, I’m pretty sure most policies will likely remain in place.

    And if we do elect a non-serious person, then we’re probably doomed anyway so it won’t matter.”

    George W. Bush has never been serious about *anything* in his life. My lord, the man entered adulthood in his *40s*.

    You’re living in a parallel universe, aren’t you? Because in this universe, what has happened is that the US populace voted in an incompetent moron, relected him, and we are quite likely doomed due to his rank dereliction of duty.

  96. I’ve been reading this thread with interest and I wanted to ask a question about a specific meme that comes around at times. The whole “chickenhawk” thing interests me. The foundation of the arguement seems to me that no-one can make a decision to put someone else at risk that they don’t share (or at least haven’t shared in the weaker form of the arguement). What I don’t get, and I’ve never seen addressed in a rational way, is the result of the real application of this principle — as far as I can tell it implies that only active or retired military that have faced combat or are in a combat role can make decisions on the application of force. I don’t particularly think that the people using the word actually want that result. Furthermore it clearly violates the entire constitutional principle of civilian control of the military. Am I missing something in the argument? Or is it merely the attempt to prevent discussion (like a purposeful invocation of Godwin’s law)?

  97. Hmm…it’s a shame we stopped discussing the original topic. It’s so interesting, and the Democratic talking points about the war have become so boring…

    If I may:
    Me:
    Can we at least pretend that we’re voting for a candidate because of where he stands on the issues, and not because of the letter in parentheses next to his name?

    John:
    Sure, Brian. The GOP first.

    No, not the GOP – me first. Then you. Then every other individual voter. This is why people don’t understand how I could vote for Clinton in ’96 and Bush in ’00. It’s also why I (and many others) had to endure ridicule in ’04 when we declared ourselves “undecided,” just praying for Kerry to say something worth voting for. Never happened, though…

    As for Lieberman, here’s an theory: it may be in the Republican’s best interest to have Lieberman win in November. The Republican’s not going to win anyway, and if Lieberman does pull it off (or at least the polls are showing it to be a close race), it will go a long way toward reinforcing the national Republican message of “Democrats are disorganized; Democrats are anti-war; Democrats don’t tolerate opposing viewpoints; etc.” And at the end of the day, Lieberman is not exactly friendly to Bush, but he’s not an enemy either…

  98. BladeDoc

    I think we need to define what a ‘chickenhawk’ is before we can have that discussion. A ‘chickenhawk’ is someone who has avoided military service or combat in the past but now trumpets for a strong military response to situations. In other words, they balked when asked to put their own lives on the line, but have no hesitation to send others into harms way, even before exhausting all other options.

    I don’t believe there should be a litmus test for president that requires the person to have served in a combat unit. Certainly there have been presidents who have not served in the military who have had to send our forces into battle. What we should demand is that they do so reluctantly and only when absolutely necessary.

    I was sent into a war zone by my commander in chief – George H. W. Bush – for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As much as I didn’t want to go, I at least respected the fact that the president listened to his generals – most notably Colin Powell. We had a true coalition, overwhelming numbers and a narrowly deifned objective set forth by the United Nations. Once we succeeded in removing Iraq from Kuwait and ensured the containment of Iraqi forces we ended the fighting and withdrew.

    The absolute disaster we have in Iraq today is what we intentionally avoided in 1991. Too bad the ‘chickenhawks’ couldn’t understand that…

  99. My definition of chickenhawk is one who claims bravery for advocating a policy that places others in danger.

  100. Keir,

    In the US is seems rather stupid to claim bravery for advocating(almost) ANY position b/c such advocacy has no consequences to the individual (and rightly so, see 1st amendment). I don’t think one is “brave” for being pro-Iraq war or against it. No-one is getting thrown in jail or persecuted for their position. I’m not sure if saying you’re brave for being pro war makes you a chickenhawk or just stupid. Similarly all the Hollywood types talking about how brave they are for being anti-war or anti-Bush is also stupid. Now if Mel Gibson had stood by his drunken rant and said “Yes, I’m anti-semitic and proud of it.” That would be brave because he would suffer for it (and rightly so).

  101. When someone who never served accuses someone who did serve with distinction of being a coward for not supporting a specific military action… that person is a chickenhawk.

    Not a necessary criterion, but adequate. And it has happened not too long ago.

  102. Sorry Bill,
    I’m 35, did 10 years active duty in the military, have a wonderful 3 year old son, a cute cute CUTE Golden Retriever, and I don’t live in fear to the point that I could honestly believe that “kill them all” is a viable strategy or will make me and mine any safer. Your ‘final solution’ is flawed beyond belief. You strike me as completely irrational, and paralyzed with fear.
    And I still think the pResident is a moron. I honestly don’t mean that as an insult. I know how much you hate what you think is derogatory commentary on his character. I’m sure he is a perfectly nice enough guy to hang around the country club along with Buffy, mocking southern people by speaking in fake accents, downing the cocktails and snorting the blow. All that is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t make him a competent world leader. Sorry.

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