Sunday, July 30, 2006

JoeMo Lieberman: Even the Liberal New York Times Rejects Him

Even the Liberal New York Times has endorsed Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Democratic Primary challenger to Even the Liberal Joe "Mentum" Lieberman. While Lieberman, and many others in the MainStreamMedia and other outlets, characterize this as reasonable, moderate, respect-wielding Human Being aka Centrists, versus the angry, pitchfork-wielding half-feral villagers of Left Blogistan rising up against the spectre of their caricatured portrayal of "President" Bush as an evil undead monster (clearly they're one off) out of pure hatred and not, say, substantive and heart-felt moral and policy differences, the NYT lays out a series of good reasons, said in quiet tones, calmly, over breakfast with Grandma. Finally, the cowed, financially poor, set-upon Moderates can come out of hiding and return to the light of day from the heartless exile we in Left Blogistan have sent them into.

To whit, the Grey Lady says:
"As Mr. Lieberman sees it, this is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party — his moderate fair-mindedness against a partisan radicalism that alienates most Americans... That’s far from the issue. Mr. Lieberman is not just a senator who works well with members of the other party. And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration’s most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates... Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation’s longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced Democrats who were “more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq” than on supporting the war’s progress... this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman’s ability to command Republicans’ attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president’s defender."

Let me just say: Damn straight! As quoted in the the Washington Post today, Sen. (joe)Mentum is approaching "...the final days before the Aug. 8 primary [by] summing up his message to voters this way: "Mr. and Mrs. Connecticut, I hope you'll respect me, even if you don't agree with me."

This is possibly the second-most inane thing Sen. Mentum has said. (Ok, maybe it's in a 3-way tie for third-most.) Why? BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WANT TO VOTE FOR A SENATOR THAT AGREES WITH THEM. I respect my high school english teacher. I don't want him to be my Senator. That is to say -- it is of course important to respect your Senator, or, at least, it'd be nice to -- but to equate "respect" with "vote for" and imply that "agreeing with" him is unimportant to the voting for part... well, that's pretty fucking inane (where inane = stupid). Respect is an important first cut, but the list of people I respect is much longer than the list of people I'd vote for, and really, I neither trust nor respect nor would vote for Lieberman. He has taken many notable and important liberal positions, but his cravenness, ignorance, or megalomania -- whatever is pushing him to support Bush -- is completely unacceptable. As the NYT points out, bipartisan compromise is good and important, but in supporting a President whose policies are anathema to almost everything I stand for, he's not only compromised his values (in my opinion) but compromised mine, and those enshrined in our Constitution. I don't just disagree with Bush; I don't just really really really dislike Bush; I think he's bad for America. Respect is irrelevant to whether or not I think we're on a path to hell, pushing the rest of the world before us. I'm not a Connecticut voter, but nonetheless, let me say this: If Lieberman believes this path is the correct one and does not, in fact, lead to hell, in my opinion he deserves neither respect nor my consideration as a Democratic Senator. And by "my consideration" I mean "your consideration", assuming "you" are a "Connecticut voter."

For other Sen. Mentum-related critiques, try here, the sort of amateurish but mildly informative time-to-go-Joe here, and another NYT article about him outlining his cluelessness on how everyone DOESN'T actually like him and that he actually has to address the concerns of his Democratic constituency here.

Joe seems to have forgotten that the point of a primary is to pick someone you think has, in general, the right policies. He seems to think there's no possible reason not to vote for him other than irrational hatred of Bush. He clearly has forgotten what a small-d democracy is.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Farcical Take on the UN

A reposting from my Slate Fray alter ego, HopefulCynic. In response to an article by the usually good John Dickerson, Good Shit: Why Bush Should Swear More. Elaboration (and fixed links) to come. For now:
Mr. Dickerson should certainly already know that the UN is most often hampered by the large amount of influence the US exerts, hampering many good perogatives even as it pushes others. Bush saying "I should tell Kofi..." is a telling phrase. Kofi Annan was made to eat his hat in the matter of Haiti (the US, from a fair few reports, was not a purely helpful partner [] there, for penance in his opposition to the US' position on Iraq. (And indeed, the more cautious approach advocated by many in the UN (see, i.e., France []) seems to have been warranted given the aftermath, the foreseeable [] lack [] of threat [] and "WMDs" [].)

The UN can and should expect more monetary support and more from "Old Europe", but the fact is the US holds the pursestrings, and in many (but not all) cases, it essentially holds the UNs metaphorical balls in its hands. Clearly an intermediary between us and Syria and/or Lebanon would likely be advisable given our current popularity in the Middle East, but there was no implication given that the UN had rebuffed Bush's idea, but rather that he hadn't pushed it yet. And without the power of the US, the UN is a paper tiger (sadly, in that it depends so heavily on one country that isn't overly fond of it), so them telling Syria and Hezbollah to "cut this shit out" clearly won't happen before given the unambiguous imprimatur of the US, and likely some extensive pressure given the UN's (to my mind) more even-handed position towards Israel and its antagonists and attackers. (See my former avatar [] and AM-2's [] take on the UN and US rel'nship more generally.)

And it's disturbing, though utterly surprising, to me that Bush and Dickerson both failed to mention the very valid other side to this: Hezbollah clearly attacked and provoked Israel; Israel clearly has a right to defend itself, but: is any scale of response acceptable? And would it be in any other ally? Clearly, somewhere between "nothing" and "using the nukes it doesn't officially have" is where the most reasonable response for Israel lies. So those (like Bush and most of the media establishment) who brush off Israel's reponsibility for proportionality are essentially saying that anything between a nuke (or several) and nothing is ok. This utterly callous stance is a large reason we're not seen well in the ME, or indeed, in many other parts of the world.

Between our utter lack of concern for civilian lives in the Middle East, or more accurately, our utter lack of effective concern (saying you're trying hard is not the same as addressing failures and flaws in the trying), and the havok WE have created in Iraq, we have sent a clear message to the Arab and Muslim "street" that we don't care about their puny little lives in the scale of larger conflicts supposedly in their name, and that we will invade and occupy their states at will, our broken promises and unfulfilled visions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, that not only will armed resistance and, frankly, terrorism stymie us, but that it is perhaps the only way to stop us from doing what we will in their sovereign states or neglecting valid calls for help.

Hezbollah is not going to "cut this shit out", nor is the "street" in Lebanon going to stop supporting them, before they see some proof that collaboration with the US in this Bush era will bring some advantage, some hope, some lasting commitment, rather than forgotten promises, [] chaos, and death [].