David Brooks had a laughable column in Sunday's New York Times. (See also Jenny's take - G)
"What's happening to Lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition," Brooks proclaims. What Brooks characterizes as an "inquisition" -- an effort, as he puts it, "to expel Joe Lieberman from modern liberalism"-- is simply a spirited effort to elect a Senator who better represents the values of Connecticut's citizens. That's not ideological purity. It's about organized people holding accountable a legislator who has acted as an unflinching supporter of this disastrous war.
But it's not just about the war--as Brooks and other Lieberman supporters would have you believe. It's also about Lieberman's uncanny willingness to go out of his way to give Bush and the Republicans political cover in their attempts to define the Democratic Party as weak or incapable of governing. Instead of fighting back, Lieberman legitimizes these attacks. For example, when asked about Democrats who vocally oppose the President at a time of war, Lieberman said, "in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril."
And, at the end of June, when Republicans scheduled Senate votes aimed at depicting Democrats in an election year as "cut and run" cowards, Lieberman was the first to speak during the Republicans' time. What did the Democratic Senator from Connecticut do? Lieberman dumped on the Democrats, showing that he was willing to be used to depict his fellow Democrats as weak.
Nor did Lieberman stand with his party in vigorously opposing Bush's Social Security privatization plan. As Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsmemo.com has reported, when Bush announced his privatization plan Lieberman said in February 2005 that he was undecided, and announced that he wanted to study the president's idea. The result: Lieberman helped Bush make privatization a legitimate subject of debate – when it should have been cast off as extreme.
Lieberman has also been the Democratic Party's point person on defending off-the-books, short term stock options for CEOs. This invitation to thievery resulted, as was predicted, in the plundering of corporations--to the detriment of employees and small investors. But, even after the worst corporate crime scandals since the Gilded Age, Lieberman defended these practices and continued to collect big time campaign contributions from executives in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who were cleaning up.
What David Brooks fails to recognize is that millions of Connecticut citizens have decided they want a Senator whose values accord with theirs. That has little to do, as Brooks would have you believe, with the oft-maligned netroots seeking "to purge what's left of the Scoop Jackson Democrats." It's about a renewed recognition that people can make a difference and choose leaders who actually represent them. Ned Lamont--imperfections and all (have you ever met a perfect politician?) -- is mounting a very strong challenge and deserves credit for helping to lead that charge. So do thousands of students, activists, principled citizens--including former Lieberman supporters--who have had enough.
I'm amazed that some of Holy Joe's fellow Dems are still backing him given the fact that he won't back them, in fact does his damndest to undermine them. Party unity seems to be a one-way street as far as he's concerned: "You back me, and the Hell with you."
Very Republican of him. Hey, if it walks like a duck...