Reflections on Joe Lieberman

Senator Joe Lieberman has recently announced his resignation, pending expectations that he will probably lose his next Senate race. For many on the far left, Mr. Lieberman was a hated figure; a traitor on issues beginning from his loud support of the Iraq War.

Mr. Lieberman, on the other hand, came to dislike the far left in equal measure. After they defeated him in the 2006 Democratic primary, he ran for Senator as an independent. He went on to win that race by the high single-digits and never forgave the netroots or the Democratic Party for what he thought they had done to him.

Mr. Lieberman has spent the rest of his life attempting to block all that the netroots hold dear. He was the only Democratic senator to support Republican candidate John McCain, even going as far as to speak at the Republican National Convention. During that time Mr. McCain seriously considered the Jewish senator as his running mate.

Then, during the health care debate, it was Mr. Lieberman who put the death blow onto the public option. This was probably the dearest provision in the bill to online activists, hoping to use it to create a single-payer, universal, government-run health care system (what conservatives call socialist health care, an accurate description in this case). Mr. Lieberman’s role in the defeat of this dream further enraged the netroots community.

All this does little to speak well of neither the netroots community nor Mr. Lieberman. The former overestimated their power in attempting to defeat the senator; their influence over the Democratic primary electorate turned out not to extend to the general electorate, where Mr. Lieberman won as an independent. Since that election, the senator has made the far left pay far more than it would have if the netroots had just stayed quiet.

But Mr. Lieberman comes out the worst. A high government official should never let his or her emotions drive him to make decisions. Doing so can be dangerous for the country’s health. Yet since 2006 Mr. Lieberman’s entire career seems to have been dedicated to anger-fueled retaliation.

Perhaps the senator deserves to be angry, perhaps not. But public servants should not behave in the manner Mr. Lieberman been doing. Things such as the public option are serious matters, not tools to get petty personal revenge. They affect hundreds of millions of Americans. They are part of a very important debate over what policies the United States must take. Deciding to oppose something like the public option as retribution for a personal matter is not responsible.

It is probably a good thing that Mr. Lieberman has declared his resignation.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Reflections on Joe Lieberman

Senator Joe Lieberman has recently announced his resignation, pending expectations that he will probably lose his next Senate race. For many on the far left, Mr. Lieberman was a hated figure; a traitor on issues beginning from his loud support of the Iraq War.

Mr. Lieberman, on the other hand, came to dislike the far left in equal measure. After they defeated him in the 2006 Democratic primary, he ran for Senator as an independent. He went on to win that race by the high single-digits and never forgave the netroots or the Democratic Party for what he thought they had done to him.

Mr. Lieberman has spent the rest of his life attempting to block all that the netroots hold dear. He was the only Democratic senator to support Republican candidate John McCain, even going as far as to speak at the Republican National Convention. During that time Mr. McCain seriously considered the Jewish senator as his running mate.

Then, during the health care debate, it was Mr. Lieberman who put the death blow onto the public option. This was probably the dearest provision in the bill to online activists, hoping to use it to create a single-payer, universal, government-run health care system (what conservatives call socialist health care, an accurate description in this case). Mr. Lieberman’s role in the defeat of this dream further enraged the netroots community.

All this does little to speak well of neither the netroots community nor Mr. Lieberman. The former overestimated their power in attempting to defeat the senator; their influence over the Democratic primary electorate turned out not to extend to the general electorate, where Mr. Lieberman won as an independent. Since that election, the senator has made the far left pay far more than it would have if the netroots had just stayed quiet.

But Mr. Lieberman comes out the worst. A high government official should never let his or her emotions drive him to make decisions. Doing so can be dangerous for the country’s health. Yet since 2006 Mr. Lieberman’s entire career seems to have been dedicated to anger-fueled retaliation.

Perhaps the senator deserves to be angry, perhaps not. But public servants should not behave in the manner Mr. Lieberman been doing. Things such as the public option are serious matters, not tools to get petty personal revenge. They affect hundreds of millions of Americans. They are part of a very important debate over what policies the United States must take. Deciding to oppose something like the public option as retribution for a personal matter is not responsible.

It is probably a good thing that Mr. Lieberman has declared his resignation.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

The Human Factor Behind Republican Opposition

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

As has been fairly widely noted, House Republicans have stubbornly resisted every aspect of the Democratic program. The stimulus package and financial reform failed to gain a single House Republican vote, while a grand total of one Republican voted for health care – Congressman Joseph Cao.

Many commentators have cited naked political calculus as behind House Republican noncooperation. The explanation goes that House Whip Eric Cantor saw that opposing President Barack Obama’s agenda would best revive their party’s strength. The best option would be to stand against the president, hope/encourage his failure, and then ride public dicontent onto renewed congressional majorities.

This explanation is true as far as such things go; it fits Republican incentives well. Yet contrary to what some may believe, congressman are not unthinking automons who calculate their every action for political gain. They are human beings with very human emotions: pride, anger, humiliation, frustration. Just as you and me do many things based upon feelings rather than logic, so do politicians. One needs look no farther than Senator Joe Lieberman to find a politician driven entirely upon emotion.

When analyzing House Republican actions, therefore, viewing them through the lens of an emotional, human framework puts an entirely novel spin to their opposition. House Republican votes against Democratic legislation function just as much as an expression of frustration and anger as they do as an attempt to advance a political agenda.

Being a House minority member is often called a demoralizing experience, but these words merely scratch the reality. The minority never, ever wins; it is defeated day after day after day. Members of the minority are shut off from decision-making or bill-writing; their ideas are not even considered, let alone put into law. Every day constitutes a journey through frustration, doubly so for a congressman who probably considers him or herself a person of importance who ought be listened to.

So the minority strikes back in the only way it can – by voting against majority legislation. It’s frustrated; it’s angry; if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not going to listen to it, it’s not going to vote for her legislation.

Perhaps the most revealing instance of this human factor came on September 2009 2008, when House Republican opposition infamously defeated the bail-out bill. For a very brief moment, House Republicans publicly talked about this human factor, addressing an action of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which caused their resentments to explode. Minority Leader John Boehner:

I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for the partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House. I mean, we were — we put everything we had into getting the votes to get there today, but the speaker had to give a partisan voice that poisoned our conference, caused a number of members that we thought we could get to go south.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor:

Right here is the reason, I believe, why this vote failed, and this is Speaker Pelosi’s speech that, frankly, struck the tone of partisanship that, frankly, was inappropriate in this discussion.

Think for a moment about how the average House Republican felt at that moment. He or she probably personally disliked the bill and knew that voting for it will seriously hurt his chances for re-election. Chances are, he didn’t even understand what the bill was supposed to do, except somehow save the economy (to be fair, it did save the economy). And to top things off, the moment before the vote began, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this:

Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?

It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

She insults everything he stands for and then expects him to vote for the bail-out she’s pushing? It’s no wonder so many Republicans voted against it.

Now of course this explanation was universally condemned: the fate of the nation was literally at stake, and House Republicans were voting against a bill because their feelings were hurt. For this reason, the human factor is rarely brought up in House Republican explanations of their opposition votes. It is bad politics to say that one voted against the Democratic agenda because one’s feelings were hurt.

Yet the next time House Republican unanimously oppose a Democratic bill, try understanding the human factor’s role in all this. It is there, and it affects politics much more than one might first guess.

 

 

Voting with feeling

Throughout history, various leaders of nations have had a mystique about them that has lead the people to either stand at attention or rebel. Consider Queen Elizabeth, the virgin queen. She led the country with a vigor, and she was portrayed as being almost sterile but full of life and hope. She gave people optimism until she did not care enough about their feelings.

In understanding the election, it's important to consider the role the president plays in directing our emotions. How will the president be perceived by the people, the heart of the country? How will the president be perceived abroad?

While economists can provide figures, directing the president's decision-making process, the president's role is really to negotiate power and emotion.

How will a woman president be perceived? Considering Clinton's past with her husband as a strong woman who stood by him even when he had an affair, a fact which the whole country knows, will the people see her as stable, able to forgive? Probably.

How will the country see Obama, who has stood up for the poor and cares for the individual? Certainly Obama's intentions have had less press. And who knows how many people have read his book? On a recent afternoon at my local library in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco, two copies of his book, The Audacity of Hope, were still on the shelf. However intellectuals choose to judge him, for the people he still represents an image of hope. In the context of 9/11, he also represents to the world open-mindedness, that we Americans would embrace the "other."

The real question is, how will the people feel? Yes, a woman will make women in America feel empowered. A magazine article I read recently was giving direction about the color coat she should wear for MLK's birthday service, a regal plum. Ironic? Is she supposed to look like a queen? It is not always empowering to be told what to do, unless it is good advice. She represents a vision that women are equal, level headed, and able to raise beautiful and strong children.

But let us not highlight difference. Let us really examine their intentions, their character, and the possibility their being evokes. Even as a woman, I am inspired by Obama's story, his background, and his vision. And because of that, I feel empowered.
 

There's more...

Reflections on Joe Lieberman

Senator Joe Lieberman has recently announced his resignation, pending expectations that he will probably lose his next Senate race. For many on the far left, Mr. Lieberman was a hated figure; a traitor on issues beginning from his loud support of the Iraq War.

Mr. Lieberman, on the other hand, came to dislike the far left in equal measure. After they defeated him in the 2006 Democratic primary, he ran for Senator as an independent. He went on to win that race by the high single-digits and never forgave the netroots or the Democratic Party for what he thought they had done to him.

Mr. Lieberman has spent the rest of his life attempting to block all that the netroots hold dear. He was the only Democratic senator to support Republican candidate John McCain, even going as far as to speak at the Republican National Convention. During that time Mr. McCain seriously considered the Jewish senator as his running mate.

Then, during the health care debate, it was Mr. Lieberman who put the death blow onto the public option. This was probably the dearest provision in the bill to online activists, hoping to use it to create a single-payer, universal, government-run health care system (what conservatives call socialist health care, an accurate description in this case). Mr. Lieberman’s role in the defeat of this dream further enraged the netroots community.

All this does little to speak well of neither the netroots community nor Mr. Lieberman. The former overestimated their power in attempting to defeat the senator; their influence over the Democratic primary electorate turned out not to extend to the general electorate, where Mr. Lieberman won as an independent. Since that election, the senator has made the far left pay far more than it would have if the netroots had just stayed quiet.

But Mr. Lieberman comes out the worst. A high government official should never let his or her emotions drive him to make decisions. Doing so can be dangerous for the country’s health. Yet since 2006 Mr. Lieberman’s entire career seems to have been dedicated to anger-fueled retaliation.

Perhaps the senator deserves to be angry, perhaps not. But public servants should not behave in the manner Mr. Lieberman been doing. Things such as the public option are serious matters, not tools to get petty personal revenge. They affect hundreds of millions of Americans. They are part of a very important debate over what policies the United States must take. Deciding to oppose something like the public option as retribution for a personal matter is not responsible.

It is probably a good thing that Mr. Lieberman has declared his resignation.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

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