Truthout link to Krugman Column
Yesterday I looked at Joe Lieberman's inability to answer a simple question; would America would be better off with his party regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives? Today in his commentary One-Letter Politics Paul Krugman looks at this in the context of what this election is all about.
In a recent interview with The Hartford Courant, Senator Joseph Lieberman said something that wasn’t credible. When the newspaper asked him whether America would be better off if the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives next month, he replied, “Uh, I haven’t thought about that enough to give an answer.”So why does the party in control matter so much? Now we all know the answer to that question but Krugman reminds us that this time around we should think twice about voting for any Republican regardless of how good that Republican might be or how bad the Democrat might be. Why?
Why wasn’t this a credible answer? Because anyone with the slightest interest in American politics — a group that obviously includes Mr. Lieberman — is waiting with bated breath to see how this election goes, and thinking a lot about the implications. If the Democrats gain control of either house, no matter how narrowly, the American political landscape will be transformed. If they fail, no matter how narrowly, it will be seen, correctly, as a great victory for the hard right.
The fact is that this is a one-letter election. D or R, that’s all that matters.
There are two reasons why party control is everything in this election.That's right, this election is all about stopping the reckless juggernaut of George W. Bush and saving the country.
The first, lesser reason is the demonstrated ability of Republican Congressional leaders to keep their members in line, even those members who cultivate a reputation as moderates or mavericks. G.O.P. politicians sometimes make a show of independence, as Senator John McCain did in seeming to stand up to President Bush on torture. But in the end, they always give the White House what it wants: after getting a lot of good press for his principled stand, Mr. McCain signed on to a torture bill that in effect gave Mr. Bush a completely free hand.
And if the Republicans retain control of Congress, even if it’s by just one seat in each house, Mr. Bush will retain that free hand. If they lose control of either house, the G.O.P. juggernaut will come to a shuddering halt.
Yet that’s the less important reason this election is all about party control. The really important reason may be summed up in two words: subpoena power.
That brings us to Connecticut and Joe Lieberman.
O.K., what about the Senate race in Connecticut, where Ned Lamont is the Democratic nominee, and Mr. Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary, is running as an independent but promising to caucus with the Democrats if he wins? Is this a case where the man, not the party, is what matters? Only if you believe that Mr. Lieberman’s promise not to switch parties is 100 percent credible.
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Paul Krugman, Joe Lieberman