Of McCain and Lieberman

In the last couple of years, many liberals have spoken glowingly of John McCain - some even suggesting that he would get their vote for president and others that he should join the Democratic Party.  Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman has become as condemned as George Bush himself from far too many of our progressive compatriots.  "Send him to the other side!" scream the Red Rover liberals.  MoveOn.org, many in the Democracy for America movement, and hundreds of bloggers have actually cheered for anyone who would run against Senator Lieberman in a Connecticut Democratic primary.  

Are you kidding?

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McCain: Weak as a Candidate, Weak Morals as a Man

John McCain isn't nearly as strong as the Beltway boys think he is.  He hasn't had to face a real campaign since 2000, and he's out of practice in a world where the right-wing isn't dominant.  He hasn't had to face a real Democratic challenger for even longer.  Among other skeletons in his closet, there's the fact that McCain seems to be covering up for Abramoff, via TPR Muckraker.

Norquist and McCain have hated each other for about a decade, since McCain started pushing for campaign finance reform, TNR's Ryan Lizza tells us. Norquist, whose livelihood depends on the sizeable GOP power base he maintains in part by directing donations to various candidates and organizations, doesn't take kindly to McCain trying to swipe his lunch money. Hence, feud.

When McCain, head of the Indian Affairs Committee, heard of Abramoff's misdeeds, he jumped at the chance to investigate them, knowing of Jack's ties to Norquist.

You see, among other ways, Norquist helped Jack by laundering money: While milking Indian gaming tribes out of $45 million, Abramoff would direct the tribes to pay money to Norquist's ATR, which would deduct a fee and write a check to the conservative cause of Abramoff's choice, thus masking the source of the donation.

"McCain could hardly have anticipated the cosmic convergence of events that would lead to Norquist's head being delivered to him on a platter," TNR's Lizza writes. McCain held hearings, subpoenaed documents, and. . . nothing. "At every moment when McCain could have pulled the trigger, he let Norquist walk away."

Indeed, at one point there was a showdown brewing: McCain had ordered Norquist to turn over his organization's financial records. Norquist refused; McCain -- perhaps knowing that the worst punishment Norquist faced for his impertinence was a misdemeanor charge -- dropped the matter.

Why did McCain let Norquist, a blood enemy, off the hook? Lizza speculates that McCain is sly enough to consider his presidential ambitions before his personal animosities -- or even, perhaps, justice. If Norquist can help McCain deliver primary votes, he'll keep him alive.

And why would this be?  From Steve Clemons comes the answer:

For some time, McCain has been working hard to charm the mainline Republican establishment and not needlessly provoke Bush and Cheney, which makes sense as McCain has said in the past that it was not the Republican right wing that beat him in his last presidential run, it was the fact that the mainstream Republican establishment had pre-positioned itself with Bush.

McCain is pandering to the Repubican establishment the way he panders to everyone who he needs.  And he's doing it even if it means allowing the corrupt to go free so they can help him with his Presidential bid.  Quel maverick.

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Lieberman, McCain, Beltway Insiders, Oh My!

McJoan points out that Rubber Stamp McCain is a hypocrite on Feingold's Censure resolution.  But what about the Lieberman?  Well aside from supporting right-wing nutcases on hospitals being able denying contraception to rape victims (his excuse is that "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital), he's also against Feingold's censure resolution.

In other unrelated news, Ned Lamont announced his candidacy today.  You can give here.

And one more note on this.  What Lieberman said today about a short drive to a hospital is immensely cruel.  I'm a guy, so I probably can't talk about this with any credibility.  But I will try to describe what I think because this is so awful and because hey, I'm not going to cut myself out of the conversation just because other dudes are self-righteous assholes about 'men's rights'.  

Having a medical procedure done, any medical procedure, is embarrassing, intrusive, and scary, especially in a system as fucked up as ours where doctors don't really care about you because they are paid to avoid mistakes with paperwork.  When you combine with this making the decision to have children or not, and maybe in a bunch of cases dumbfuck boyfriends who either aren't around or aren't helpful, the agony for some women is just immense.  To talk about hospitals denying legal medical care because commuting is easy in Connecticut is really monstrous.  It's so out of touch, so banal in the evil sense, and so downright elitist and cowardly.  

Joe Lieberman will never have to have an abortion.  He will never have to fight in a war.  He will never be raped.  And he will never have to bear the consequences of the choices he makes as a Senator.  If nothing else, Ned Lamont has young children, and so the choices he makes are necessarily going to have more compassion and more strength behind them because he actually cares about the world his children will inherit.  Lieberman simply doesn't.  As a nice and cowardly man, he just cares about the sensitivities of those surrounding him.  And since those who surround him are a mix of corrupt lobbyists and right-wing nutcases, his decisions are awful and morally cruel.

David Sirota is completely right when he says that Lieberman's campaign manager admitted Lieberman's out of touch.  Lieberman is out of touch.  This isn't a partisan issue, and I don't actually care that Lieberman goes on Fox News, really.  To me, that's just a symptom of a bankrupt, spiritually dead man who has lost the will to make the right decisions.  Lieberman is out of touch like Robert Moses was out of touch.  Moses built all the highways of New York City, only Moses never actually knew how to drive a car because he had a chauffeur so he never realized what a traffic jam was.  It was just extra time for him to work.  He didn't realize the hell his system put New Yorkers through.

And that's where Lieberman is today.  He's a cruel, callow, weak little man.  He needs to go.

And let me tell you something else.  Lieberman is going to get hurt by this primary.  Already, Ned Lamont's name recognition among party activists is high, and that's because of the blogs.  People know his name.  They know he's challenging Lieberman.  That's a huge step.  It's what we've bought with our $90K so far.  And if we can pump this over $100K, it will be a massive statement to insiders that Lieberman is going to have to face some angry Democratic voters, and if they don't shape up, so will they.

Already we are known as the only equivalent to the Club for Growth on the left.  I don't know about the parallel, but lazy people who call themselves members of the House Democratic caucus do have reason to fear us, because we tell the truth.  We are pointing out that Feingold, a real leader, is actually showing that Democrats can and do fight.  And we are pointing out that all the lazy progressives, who won't file ethics complaints, and all the centrist fools, who keep pretending that being lied to on Iraq is somehow strong, are being stupid incumbent middle managers.  We are also proving that ordinary Democrats, ordinary people, can make a huge difference.  For crying out loud, pick either Glenn Greenwald, Mike Stark, John Aravosis, Melanie Sloan, or Jane Hamsher, and any one is more effective than 10 Democratic Congresscritters.  

It's ridiculous.  This party is going to be reinvented, and we are going to do it, because we are doing it.  Who attacked McCain first?  We did.  Who is will to take on sacred cows like Obama and Pelosi?  We are.  Who calls out Chris Matthews and Tim Russert, day after day?  We do.  Who built a web resource to get around the incompetence of the WHO on Avian Flu?  We did.  Dean is sitting in that DNC chair because of the netroots.  

This is really a fight about all of us.  It's our fight.  Each one of us can make this happen, in our way.  Whether it's giving money to Ned Lamont, calling your Senator, joining your local Democratic Party, or talking to your neighbor, each one of us can make a difference.  

And in August, let me recommend you spend a few weeks in Connecticut door-knocking.  After all, in Connecticut, it's apparently quite easy to get around.

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John McCain's Extremism Cost Him A Vote In Georgia

My friend Jeremy is from rural Georgia where, til he was 22, he never knew any better than to automatically support Republicans. He got brung up that way and his news sources were Sean Hannity and Fox "News." I met him a few years ago when he moved to L.A. He seemed dazed and confused but still stood up for the far right doggerel that he had been thoroughly brainwashed with. Today Jeremy considers himself a moderate, leaning a bit, albeit with a healthy dose of skepticism, towards the Democrats. He has long abandoned Bush, of course, but still has... "certain tendencies."

Friday he launched into a less rabid that usual attack on Hillary Clinton-- still a childhood bugaboo-- and asked me which Democrats could win. Eventually he concluded the best choice for president was probably John McCain. He, like many Americans, is laboring under the carefully crafted delusion that McCain is a "moderate."

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Powertool Pandering McCain

At MyDD, occasionally we're ahead of the curve.  For instance, we've beenrailingagainstJohnMcCainformonths.  It's nice to see Paul Krugman breaking the seal on this bad man within institutional media:

So here's what you need to know about John McCain.

He isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush.

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party.

And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line.

It's worth recalling that during the 2000 election campaign George W. Bush was widely portrayed by the news media both as a moderate and as a straight-shooter. As Mr. Bush has said, "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."

My favorite pandering moment for McCain was this one, on Intelligent Design.

"Let the student decide." With those well-chosen words John McCain summed up his view on the teaching of "intelligent design" along with evolution in public schools.

Even -- or perhaps especially -- with controversial topics, Arizona's ubiquitous senior U.S. senator has an uncanny knack for saying things his audience wants to hear. In this case, Mr. Straight Talk was imparting words of wisdom in an interview with MTV News.

A lot of malleable, future voters watch MTV. It's where they get tidbits of the real world between episodes of "Cribs" and "Pimp My Ride." It's hard to imagine any of them disagreeing with the Man Who Would Be President.

McCain probably wouldn't champion the same letting-students-decide approach for, say, homework or blowing off algebra. No matter. He came across as an entirely reasonable and rational father figure on MTV.

"There's great uncertainty out there," said the senator who knows best. "We have to provide a lot more certainty for young Americans. That's my job."

The guy will do anything to be liked by Beltway whores.  What a cowardly weak man.

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