The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Joe and the Dems

Joe Lieberman, the US Senator from Connecticut, lives in Westville, a beautiful tree lined neighborhood just north of the center of New Haven. For a time, I lived not more than ½ mile from his house, and although we never met, I’ve been a long time admirer of his intelligence and character, his moderate political positions, and his forthright and honest manner in communicating with his constituency. He is, in my opinion, a good model to emulate if Democrats are serious about ever winning another presidential election.

It is troubling, therefore, to note that Lieberman is under attack not from Republicans, but from the angry Left wing of the Democratic party, who hope to see him defeated in his re-election campaign.

In a recent article in The New Republic Online, Peter Beinart discusses this situation:

Why are MoveOn, Daily Kos, and so many other liberal activists so keen to find a primary challenger against Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? . . .

... For Kos and the other Lieberman-haters, liberalism means confrontation, at least in the Bush era. In their view, politics should be guided by the spirit of war. If you don't want to crush conservatives, you are not a liberal.

So Lieberman-hatred is really all about style, right? Actually, no -- there's one final slice, and it's the most important of all. Behind Lieberman's obsession with national unity is his deep conviction that the United States is at war -- not just in Iraq, but around the world. The war on terrorism is his prism for viewing Bush. And it drains away his anger at the president's misdeeds, because they always pale in comparison to those of America's true enemy. When the Abu Ghraib revelations broke, Lieberman said America should apologize, but then added that 'those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, never apologized.' . . .

Yet, if Lieberman's view is one-dimensional, so is that of his critics. If he only sees Bush through the prism of war, they only see the war through the prism of Bush -- which is why they can muster so little anger at America's jihadist enemies and so little enthusiasm when Iraqis risk their lives to vote. Kos and MoveOn have conveniently convinced themselves that the war on terrorism is a mere subset of the struggle against the GOP. Whatever brings Democrats closer to power, ipso facto, makes the United States safer. That would be nice if it were true -- but it's clearly not, because, sometimes, Bush is right, and because, to some degree, our safety depends on his success."

In Joe Lieberman’s situation, we see the travesty that has become American confrontational politics. We see a significant element of the Democratic party that allows their extreme dislike of a Republican President to overwhelm all of their other positions. They criticize mercilessly, but have forgotten that criticism is most effective when constructive alternatives, not meaningless abstractions, are offered. They continuously allege wrongdoing, but never take the time to recognize things that are going well. They lament nominees to the Supreme Court, forgetting that the reason those nominees sat before the Judiciary committee was because the Democrats lost the last Presidential election. That's their real problem ... not a conservative jurist like Samual Alito.

And if they do not recognize these failings and move to correct them, they will lose the next Presidential election as well.

The United States works best when we cycle from Republican to Democrat and back again in the Executive branch. The angry Left is robbing the Democratic party of their ability to complete that cycle. And that's not a good thing for our country.