Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sore Loser Lieberman

Sen. Ted Kennedy blasts Dick Cheney for his remarks comparing Connecticut voters to Al Qaeda supporters:

Vice presidents are notorious for serving as an administration's chief attack dog, and time and again Dick Cheney has been unleashed to accuse anyone who is opposed to the Bush administration of aiding the terrorists. But this time he has gone too far.

The comments he made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary - that it might encourage "the al-Qaida types" who want to "break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task" - are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.

What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people - not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times.

Cheney's comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show once again that he and his party will stop at nothing to wrap Republicans in the flag and to insinuate that anyone who votes against them is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. It's obvious that this administration lacks basic respect for our fundamental freedoms.

Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections - as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech - provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law - as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy.

Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut scares Cheney for one simple reason: It demonstrates that a free and independent people can and do hold public officials accountable for their words and deeds.

And Jonathan Chait calls Lieberman a sore loser who cares more about holding on to his power than supporting the interests of the Democratic Party.

The longer Sen. Joe Lieberman's reelection campaign in Connecticut goes on, the harder it gets to detect any rationale for his candidacy that's persuasive to anybody who isn't Joe Lieberman.

When he announced earlier this summer that he would run as an independent if he lost the Democratic primary, his stated reason was that turnout was likely to be tiny. Instead, turnout was heavy. But Lieberman says he's running as an independent anyway.

Lieberman says his antiwar opponent, Ned Lamont, relied on the support of Al Sharpton, demagogic bloggers and other unsavory characters. This is perfectly true. But Lieberman is just as happy to accept the good wishes of odious figures such as Sean Hannity and Karl Rove.

The night of his defeat, Lieberman tried to cast the result of the primary as illegitimate because "the old politics of partisan polarization won today. For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let this result stand." But what does it mean that the politics of partisan polarization won? It means that Lieberman lost. It's a perfectly circular definition.

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