Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The case against Lieberman

The members of the Mainstream Media have defined the issue as opposition to Lieberman's strong support of the Bush position on the Iraq War, but this is a severe oversimplification of the opposition to Joe. It is, in my opinion, the fault of modern pundits who either write 700 word essays of opinion or are given 30 seconds to one minute on TV in order to present an opinion. To sound intelligent in such a short space, they have to assume that their audience has a lot of agreement on terms. That means that they will use a lot of very simple terms without explanation or complication. They don't have the space or time to explain or discuss complication.

But I am explaining why I think the oversimplification of issues about Joe exists in the MSM. Duncan Black (Atrios) presents the much more complex case against Sen. Joe Lieberman in today's LA Times. Here is a sample:
"The war is certainly a reason — and given how events continue to devolve in Iraq, a perfectly sufficient one — but those who focus only on that miss the broader opposition to Lieberman and the kind of politics he represents.

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

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

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

Lieberman looks happiest when playing a "Fox News Democrat," as he did in a February appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program, during which the two exchanged compliments and expressions of friendship and Hannity offered to campaign for him. The senator seems to enjoy Sunday talk shows more than actually doing his job. New Orleans could have been spared the hacktastic performance of Michael Brown, the unqualified former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had Lieberman not shooed him through the confirmation process in a breezy 42-minute hearing."
For some reason Sen. Joe Lieberman has decided that his political position needs to be built in opposition to the positions and people of the Democratic Party and is support of the Republican Party. As long at the Democrats controlled the Senate and Congress generally, Democrats could afford such eccentrics. His destructive antics have been a real problem for the Democratic Party for the last six years, and he hasn't figured out that his environment has changed.

So in the terms of political evolution, when a politician finds himself in a sharply changed environment, the choice is adapt or go extinct. Joe hasn't adapted. He needs to go extinct.

[Thanks to Digby]

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