Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why Lieberman helps and strengthens the netroots long-term

Front paged at Booman Tribune

Yes, he is a complete disaster. Yes, we saw this coming. Yes, he isn’t really a Democrat, so his craziness (or senile ramblings) don’t necessarily reflect on the Democratic Party or their positions. And yes, we could very easily use this as an “I told you so” towards the Democratic leadership and the Senators who refused to support its own party’s candidate for Senate after the netroots put Lamont over the top in the Connecticut primary.

But the long term picture here is that our warnings of his lies and promises which we all knew would be broken, our pointing out of his hypocrisy and pettiness during his campaign, our support for victorious candidates such as Webb and Tester – are all coming to fruition now. Not that this is a good thing necessarily as it relates to “the Lieberman problem” that the Democrats face as Rove and Lieberman’s republican masters come cashing in their IOU’s for getting Lieberman elected in the first place.

What Lieberman’s antics, out of the mainstream sound bytes, willingness to be an extremist on the very issues that are near and dear to not only the country but the Democratic party as a whole only serve to reinforce our strength and confirm what we can do to steer this country back toward the right path.

No, I am not talking out of my ass. Hear me out.

Remember Senator Schumer’s diary from right after the election? The one where he said the following:

On behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, I want to personally thank the DailyKos community -- and the entire netroots -- for your support, energy, and hard work during this election. Together, we have achieved a historic victory. The tireless efforts of the blogosphere helped propel us over the top in states like Virginia and Montana - the very seats that captured the Senate majority.

There is no question that the outcome of this election proves what we can accomplish when we work together. Your early advocacy for candidates like Jon Tester and Jim Webb raised their national profile and their financial base, paving the way to coordinated efforts that led to victory. This was a devastating one-two punch that can be repeated across the country in 2008.

And yesterday, Bowers had this post from the DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen which included a memo that outlines the strategy for 2008. This memo includes the following passage (also noted by Markos on the front page yesterday):
The support of net-roots organizations was key to Democrats success in 2006. Frontline members will be required to build an aggressive online operation with the goal of acquiring 30,000 e-mail addresses by November 2008.

The point here is that we, the netroots, made the “powers that be” sit up and take notice. Our support of candidates such as Tester and Webb were directly responsible for not only winning back the Senate in a most improbable fashion, but also to effectively end the career of a racist, shallow dumbass “good ole boy” who was an early frontrunner for the republican presidential nomination. And this is being recognized.

So how does this all relate to Lieberman? Well, don’t think that many Congressional Democrats aren’t at least thinking to themselves that it would be much better to have a Senator like Ned Lamont – a man who would not block any meaningful oversight or investigation into the negligence of this administration regarding Hurricane Katrina. Certainly, after news surfaced (true or not) that “Brownie” spilled the beans on Bush’s comment about “rubbing Blanco’s nose in” the mess, death and destruction that was wreaked by the Hurricane, this decision by Lieberman resonates even louder.

Of course, even more important is the wanton undercutting of the Democrats’ message (which is echoed by nearly 75% of Americans) about (1) not escalating the occupation in Iraq, (2) coming up with a meaningful exit strategy for our troops and (3) opening up dialogue with Iran and Syria in order to come up with a regional plan for dealing with the disaster that is Iraq.

Do you really think that the same Democrats that gave Lieberman a standing ovation upon his return to the Senate are happy with comments such as this:

I believe that America is a mighty enough nation that we should never fear to talk to anyone. But anyone who believes that Iran and Syria really want to help us to succeed in Iraq, I just is missing the reality. Asking Iran and Syria to help us succeed in Iraq is like your local fire department asking a couple of arsonists to help put out the fire. These people are flaming the fire. They are the extremists. They are supporting terrorists in Iraq, in Lebanon and of course in the Palestinian areas.

Do you think that these Democrats are happy to see a republican Senator take the lead on blasting the administration on Iraq? Yes, I am sure that they are happy that there are those who are taking a stand. But wouldn’t one more Democratic senator in their corner be much better than this “independent democrat” who has outlived his usefulness to Democrats at least six years ago?

What about a quote like this:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus during his confirmation hearing yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."

Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."

Of course, there is also the little matter of his appearance with Senator McCain at the AEI supporting the escalation in Iraq.

There are so many more comments and instances. And yet, we are not even a month into the new Congressional term.

The facts are pretty evident. Lieberman, at a minimum, is a liar who broke his campaign promises. He is undermining the Democrats’ message on one of the most important issues facing our country. His comments aren’t only keeping a completely unnecessary debate about “more troops or status quo” alive at the expense of a debate about “how is the best way to leave Iraq”. They are divisive, out of the mainstream and extreme. They are stronger words than many of the original neocons are using. They are dangerous to our democracy and our country.

But they serve as a primary example of “what could have been” had the Democratic party actually supported the nominee that its’ party wanted as Senator in Connecticut. Lieberman would be an afterthought. The anti-war message would be stronger. The netroots would be directly responsible for THREE Senators – all in favor of ending this illegal occupation in Iraq. All who would support an investigation into the negligence of this administration with respect to Katrina. And none of whom would carry the water of the most despicable administration ever to occupy the highest levels of our government.

The contrast between Lamont and Lieberman couldn’t be more clear. And I would think that, while they won’t admit it, many Congressional Democrats are secretly kicking themselves for enabling this monster to be re-elected.

Which will only reinforce what the netroots can do, and the power that we have to get the right people elected in the future.

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