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Lieberman/Lamont: All about Iraq, all about partisanship
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 07, 2006

I didn't see their debate, naturally (since it was only aired locally in CT), but the transcript is available. There's alot to read and comment on, but I want to touch on one particular aspect.

Lieberman makes a point that he's made in the past. He supported the war in Iraq not for partisan reasons but because he thought it was the right thing to do and was right for the country to do. That, you would think, is his job ... to make those sorts of determinations, vote his conscience and to stand by his decision:
My position on Iraq has been clear. And I believe it was the right thing for us to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I have been critical of the things that the administration did after that. But the fact is, we're there now. And we have a choice. And that choice is between helping the Iraqis achieve a free and independent Iraq or abandoning them and letting the terrorists take over.

The latter choice is one we cannot make. And I have leveled with people about it and asked them to respect me for having the guts to take an unpopular political position.
Unlike other Democrats, Lieberman has maintained a consistent position. And of course, as you can read, Lamont attacks that position.

And Lamont makes the point that Lieberman is outside the "heart of the Democratic party" with his stand:
Like Chris Dodd, like the heart of the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C., I supported both of those amendments. Those amendments in Washington, D.C. were clear. It's time for us to change course. Time for us to start getting our frontline troops out of harm's way.
The reference to "the heart of the Democratic Party" is an appeal to partisanship. Yet further on in the debate, Lamont is asked a question about whether he would support a policy President Bush put forward if it meant doing so would alienate members of his party nationally and in his state:
What you do in the U.S. Senate is you act on behalf of your conscience, you do what you think is right, and you act on behalf of your state. It's not a question of partisan advantage one way or the other.
That is precisely Joe Lieberman's stance. And Joe Lieberman is being asked to do exactly the opposite of what Lamont is claiming and being trashed for not doing so. Lamont and Democrats are demanding he adopt the partisan position over what he considers the principled position or they intend to try to take his job.

So it is hard to invest a lot in believing Lamont's rhetoric here. And, of course, after the obligatory and unconvincing disclaimer, Lamont follows with the big "but":
But I do believe that George Bush's administration has been bad for the state of Connecticut, bad for this country, and bad for our foreign policy positions around the world. Iraq is just a symptom of that.

So I think it's important that Democrats stand up and talk with a voice about a constructive alternative to what's going on.

So I would be there, I would be listening to the president, I'd hear what he had to say on any particular issue. I'm more than happy to find common ground where I think it's appropriate. But when it comes to an awful lot of the issues, I think Senator Lieberman is finding too much common ground with the president. I think it's important for us to stand up and offer our own point of view.
See the weasel words? "But when it comes to an awful lot of the issues, I think Senator Lieberman is finding too much common ground with the president."

That means that you can blow off his principled stand with mere innuendo.

Consistency, standing up for what you believe in and non partisanship when necessary should be strengths for an elected official. If you're convinced Lamont would actually do what he says in the quote about "conscience", you've obviously found much more in terms of character in his words than I've managed to find.

The CT Democratic primary is certainly interesting for two things. It is all about Iraq (and thereby President Bush) and it is all about partisanship. The new orthodoxy, the 'litmus test', is going to be applied there for the first time. If Lamont wins it will be an indication that at least to a good portion of CT Dems their standard for elected officials requires they put partisanship first and the country second.

While I still feel Joe Lieberman is as liberal as they come and probably disagree with about 90% of his policy beliefs, he at least has demonstrated some character in all of this. That's more than I can say for those who've trashed his stand because they disagree with his position on Iraq.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein has a very interesting analysis of the Lieberman/Lamont debate. Essentially he thinks Lieberman won but he's not sure that matters (see his update). I loved his opening paragraph:
Lieberman won. No other way to put it. He pummeled Lamont. Even his body language had transformed — I always assumed him a relatively gaunt, small-framed guy. Tonight he looked one shot of jack away from ripping off Lamont's head and eating his brains. Lamont, for his part, appears to have never had media training. Staring at the camera is the first thing you're taught, yet his eyes were darting about like a pup transfixed by a fly. He looked small, nervous, and unsenatorial.
 
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it was only aired locally in CT
It aired nationally on MSNBC and C-Span.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
It aired nationally on MSNBC and C-Span.
Good if you have cable or satellite.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You don’t have cable or satellite? What sort of neanderthal life do you live? I mean, I know small southern towns are usually 5-10 years behind the times, but even in 1996, cable and satellite were pretty widespread.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon: I never said I didn’t have them.

And I like my cave ... constant temp all year ’round.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Ah, ok. I thought you meant you didn’t have them. I’m pretty sure MSNBC/C-Span counts as "national broadcast". Granted, those without cable miss it. Those without TVs would miss it, too. But that’s the exception any longer.

Coincidentally, I actually know a fellow in your town who owns a satellite installation company. I was gonna suggest him to wire your den in between hibernations.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Coincidentally, I actually know a fellow in your town who owns a satellite installation company. I was gonna suggest him to wire your den in between hibernations.
Wire?

How 20th century. I’m a satellite boy.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Satellites systems don’t have wires?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Satellites systems don’t have wires?
Not to the satellite. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What is this strange, new wireless magick of which you speak? Is it heavier than a duck? Witch!
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Actually it’s similar to the technology used in the inverted firkin invented by Walt Dabney.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The rest of us will be outside if you two need us :)
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithrastheprophet.blogspot.com
Pardon me for interrupting this edifying high-tech debate, but returning to the Lieberman matter . . . Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part, but this schism in the Democratic party that is playing out in CT may be a harbinger of a rift that could fatally split the party. If Lieberman loses the nomination and runs as an Independent/Democrat and wins, the perceived value of party affiliation may be dramatically diminished. Ironic that the blogospheric movement to "re-claim" the Democratic party might actually initiate the process of destroying it. Being an avowed post-partisan, I’m all for that. Indeed, I hope that if this comes to pass the demise of the Republican party is not far behind. Call me a devious optimist but the irony of rabid partisanship undermining the two-party duopoly is sweet indeed.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
While I still feel Joe Lieberman is as liberal as they come and probably disagree with about 90% of his policy beliefs, he at least has demonstrated some character in all of this.
Yeah, great character. I’m a democrat, unless of course I lose the primary.

Just to clue you in, that position is the antithesis of how party politics work, and it has absolutely nothing to do with partisanship and everything to do with self preservation.

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
This does seem to be a "purge". Whilst the rating has many flaws and detractors, Lieberman’s ADA rating makeshim a "Liberal" as LIBERALS measure "liberality." Lieberman simply has crossed the Net-roots crowd over the war...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Lieberman simply has crossed the Net-roots crowd over the war...
Perhaps he should hire Jerome Armstrong, all of his troubles would mysteriously go away.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Ironic that the blogospheric movement to "re-claim" the Democratic party might actually initiate the process of destroying it.
Or is this yet another plot by the unindicted MR Rove...
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Does no one see the similarity here between the way the republcans treat arlan spector and the way that democrats treat Lieberman?

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
The thing about "principled positions" and "consistency" is that the former assumes you will take responsibility for them and the latter is the foolish "hobglobin of little minds."

And for the record, can McQ tell me how we’ll know when we’ve won this war on terrorism?
 
Written By: Bob Griendling
URL: http://www.CommonwealthCommonsense.com
Does no one see the similarity here between the way the republcans treat arlan spector and the way that democrats treat Lieberman?
You mean where Specter got support from the President in his primary against Toomey and Hillary says she’ll support WHOEVER the D-candidate is? You mean where the Senate Republicans send aid to Lincoln Chaffee and not his challenger...Yeah CindyB I see LOTSA similarities.

Or do you mean that the ideologically committed in both parties want the Congressional portion of their party(ies) to represent THEM? In that case, sarcasm off, there ARE similarities.

But in terms of PARTY responses, no not that many similarities...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The thing about "principled positions" and "consistency" is that the former assumes you will take responsibility for them and the latter is the foolish "hobglobin of little minds."
Both are always problems for those who prefer to ignore them and trite slogans are certainly a way to do that. Of course, when you criticize it’s best to at least understand the context in which the terms are being used. But hey, if principle and consistency are problems the left doesn’t care to deal with, please spare us the crocodile tears when you end up hoist on your own petard.
And for the record, can McQ tell me how we’ll know when we’ve won this war on terrorism?
Most likely when the FBI quits turning up plots to bomb commuter tunnels in NYC.

What would you rather do, Bob? Ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening like we did in the ’90s?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I find it amusing that Lamont’s winning on what amounts to be nothing more than an anti-war theme (is there anything else that he differs on from Lieberman?) will do absolutely nothing to end the war that he is against. Are the Democrats in CT so stupid that they think that Bush is going to bring the troops home if Lieberman is defeated? Sure, there is some number of CT voters who want to punish Lieberman for having supported the war, but they ignore that Bush was going into Iraq with or without Lieberman’s approval.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
Does no one see the similarity here between the way the republcans treat arlan spector and the way that democrats treat Lieberman?
Except for that whole President Bush supporting Specter to carry him across the finish line thingee...

Heck, even Lincoln Chafee gets support (or at least absence of opposition) from the Republican Senate Committee.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Does anyone think it is odd that Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake who has been calling Liebermann "rape gurney joe" is now calling Joe rude because of the way he debated Ned "the freshmaker" Lamont.

Is irony completely dead on the left or is it in Tijuana drinking itself to death on cheap tequila and hookers. Inquiring minds et al.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I am getting very worried. Yes, I am on vacation in Hawi’I for a month, but I still read qando every day. Also Instapundit, neo-neocon, memeorandum and [almost every day] Unclaimed Territory. So no reason that I should suddenly find every single post at qando excellent. Leave it to the braying, brainless claque at Unclaimed Territory to provide the Greek chorus of praise for every utterance, however vacuous, of their chosen soothsayer. I prefer some disagreement with my chosen pundits.
Is it that McQ et al are just on a roll? No, even cindyb, the most air-headed of liberals, has only timorous questions. I am at a loss to explain it, but every post seems to be right on. Yes, I am reading mostly what I want to read [a ubiquitous phrase these days]; does my blanket approval mean that I have bought into a narrative?[Horrors!]
Help me out here. Help me regain some perspective. Write some more about how we should all vote Democratic so that we can achieve some real oversight.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Robert, we want divided government, just not divided by the ABSENCE of Sen. Lieberman, or alternatively they want divided government with the SENSIBLE Democratic Party in control of one chamber-I’m a Republican and I have to chuckle at your post, though...The Sensible Party you know the one with the Unicorn as it’s mascot and the low-cal, low-fat double chocolate smoothies that taste great but won’t fill you up.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The talking point on the internet Left seems to be that Lieberman is not a "real" Democrat. He must be a pretty good impostor, though, since he was the party’s VP candidate in 2000.

I hope you Dems don’t accidently nominate a fake Democrat again in 2008.

Maybe you should purge Hillary, too, just to be on the safe side....
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I think nuking them from orbit is best...it’s the only way to be sure.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

 
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