Matt is going to meet Ned Lamont
today. I wanted to make a post that describes what we could potentially achieve in this primary even if we don't win.
What sort of problem are we facing in Connecticut? Here are some selections form just the last two months. In one of the bluest states in the nation, we are dealing with a "Democrat"who loves Sean Hannity
, who was the first person to applaud Bush
during the SOTU, and whose loyalty to his party extends so far that he has said he will leave the party if he loses a primary
. Lieberman publicly trashes Democrats like Murtha
who propose withdrawal plans, while in the same breath he defends Bush. Republican lobbyists are lining up behind Lieberman
. Lieberman has endorsed McCain for President
, and trashed Barack Obama
. And like I said, that was all just in the last two months. And that was a partial selection.
There once was a time, not long ago, that Arlen Specter was the Republican version of Joe Lieberman. From 2001-2004, when the balance of power in the Senate was nearly equal, he led the moderate Republican lunch club
, which set him up as a potential powerbroker to defeat extremist legislation. After President Bush's "re-election" in 2004, he made a grand threat against his own party to stop any judicial nominees who would overturn Roe
. The Google search "Arlen Specter" RINO
turns up just over 30,000 matches, many sending criticism toward Specter that could have been written by commenters on progressive blogs about Joe Lieberman, were the proper names in the critiques changed. Also much like Joe Lieberman, Specter's approval rating in his home state
is actually higher among members of the opposing party (+26) than among members of his own party (+28).
Fast-forward to early 2006. Arlen Specter has disbanded the moderate lunch. He has worked to confirm both of Bush's conservative Supreme court nominees, Roberts and Alito, with nary any criticism whatsoever. He refuses to swear in the attorney general when he is called to testify about Bush's warrant-less eavesdropping program. Thus far, during the entire 109th congress
, he has never broken with the majority of his own party on even a single Senate vote. And you certainly don't hear Specter making nay more sweeping statements about how he is going to stop Bush's extremist agenda.
What happened to Specter is what we hope to achieve by challenging Joe Lieberman. Specter was severely challenged in a primary. After he narrowly won that primary, his position as committee chair was then challenged by Dobson and the conservative theocroroots. These challenges worked so well that basically the entire Republican moderate caucus has been utterly defeated. Specter was put in his place, and the country was titled even further off-center
by the Republican political machine.
Joe Lieberman is a full-blown disaster for the Democratic Party. It seems to be his mission in life to repeat and help reify every single Republican narrative about Democrats. Challenging him in a primary is all about trying to reclaim the national political narrative for Democrats. We need to send a message to every Democrat who is willing to carry water for Republicans that if you are willing to talk about your own party in the same way Republicans talk about your party, then you will face severe consequences from within your party. As kos wrote
: It's not about "liberal" or "conservative". This is a point, I think, that most new-school activists understand. It's the old-school DC-centric crowd, exactly the kind of jokers we rip in our book, who insist in seeing the world as it existed back in the 1980s, as a battle between ideological factions.
Do we think Reid is "liberal" because he's stands up to Republican excesses? Nope. Schweitzer? Nope. We call them "Democrats".
I don't like Lieberman because he carries water for the GOP. He reinforces right-wing frames. Because he rolled over during the recount in 2000 without fighting for the victory Gore had earned. Because he is the go-to guy whenever the press needs a Democrat to bash another Democrat. He thinks it makes him a maverick or something. In fact, it makes him a tool of the GOP.
Of course, it doesn't help that his views on Iraq are colored by fantasy and wishful-thinking, rather than the realities on the ground.
Arlen Specter no longer damages the national Republican Party by helping to reinforce the notion that they are extremist, theocratic, and divided. Joe Lieberman still works to reinforce several national narratives about Democrats, including that they are extremist, weak on defense, and can't talk values. We are challenging him to put an end to that. It is time for Democrats to stand up