I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Infighting continues in the Democratic base - populist edition

I think we can expect Joe Lieberman to leave the Democratic Party and run as an independent in the next few days. That's certainly his right and I don't have a problem with it. I do have a serious problem with this however.
Schumer said that the DSCC "fully supports" Sen. Joe Lieberman in his primary bid, and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.
Now the war on the incumbent, Lieberman, is a populist movement and the DC insiders, both Democrat and Republican feel threatened by that. In Lieberman's case it's about more than the war. For example Josh Marshall tells us about Lieberman and Social Security:
Last year, when I devoted most of this blog for several months to the Social Security story, Lieberman was one of most frustrating and inexplicable hold outs. I'm much more willing than others to let Democrats in marginal states and districts take positions suited to their constituencies rather than those embraced by Democrats nationally. To me that just makes sense on every level. The premise of my thinking on Social Security, however, was that there was just no political downside to supporting Social Security no matter how red a state you were from. Abortion rights or gay rights may stand principle against expediency or even political survival. But Social Security was just a gimme, a no-brainer.

Still, when we were going after some of these folks I could see that some of the resistance out of the Fainthearted Faction was based on ingrained habits of political survival and real disinclination to defy a Republican president who still seemed very popular and politically powerful.

But what was Lieberman's excuse?

We went back and forth with him. I'd talk to his staffers and folks around him and work and work and work to get a straight answer, but just had the hardest time. It was always this statement or that that seemed to support Social Security but really left the door open to some compromise on phase out when you looked at it closely. On and on and on.

And what was the point of that? Certainly it wasn't political, at least not in the narrow sense. Lieberman didn't have anything to worry about in Connecticut. If it was ideological, what's that about? It's a core Democratic issue. Not a shibboleth or a sacred cow. But a core reason why most Democrats are Democrats.

In the end it just seemed like a desire to be in the mix for some illusory compromise or grand bargain, an ingrained disinclination to take a stand, even in a case when it really mattered. There's some whiff of indifference to the great challenges of the age, even amidst the atmospherics of concern.

This of course doesn't even get into everything on Iraq or the pussy-footing over running the Pentagon for President Bush.

I think the most generous read on Lieberman is that he's just out of step with the parliamentary turn of recent American politics which I myself, Mark Schmitt and many others have discussed. But I think that's too generous. The whining in Washington that it's somehow an affront that Lieberman's hold on his senate is being threatened is entirely misplaced, a good example of what's wrong with DC's permanent class.
Of course there is also Lieberman's frequent appearances on FOX News where he undercut fellow Democrats. And of course there was the Bankruptcy Bill.

Was Ralph Nader correct when he said there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans? If you look at the Chuck Schumers and Marshall Wittmanns you would have to say yes. Are the current crop of Republicans more corrupt than the Democrats? The answer is yes but it's the reason that's important, the Republicans have been in power since 1994. If the Republicans in congress are replaced by DC insider Democrats I have no reason to believe there will be just as much corruption as we see now. It will be Democrats being frog marched to the slammer instead of Republicans.

If the Democratic party has to be the Party of the DLC to win, why win, why does it matter.

Steve Soto and Jane Hamsher also have some thoughts.

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