Dump Lieberman for democracy

Just what is this problem Lieberman supporters have with democracy — you know, the will of the people and all that? 

A little history is probably in order (I’ll keep it short so no one gets a headache).  As you likely already know, the people themselves didn’t always get to elect their senators: Up until May 31, 1913, the constitution provided for the selection to be made by a vote of the state legislature

But then along came an earlier generation of liberal troublemakers in what came to be known as the Progressive Era.  These malcontents (without blogs even) had the audacity to suggest, among many other things, that maybe, just maybe, the democratic process should be used in selecting senators.  And thus was born the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution:

Clause 1. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

(My emphasis)

Shocking!  The people themselves, in all their unwashed glory, getting to directly pick who represents them in the United States Senate.  It’s a wonder the Republic has survived for as long as it has.

But, alas, I suppose it’s the fate of liberals (who by definition are supposed to be optimists about human nature) that people will often end up disappointing us, at least a little.  And to be honest, the 17th Amendment hasn’t exactly worked out the way our ancestors hoped it would.  Far from becoming a vibrant new playground for democracy, the direct election of senators has been perverted into little more than a bought and paid for travesty, where only those who can (often by dubious means) raise huge mountains of other people’s dollars (or spend huge mountains of their own) have any chance of gaining election.

And yet, something very special is rising up out of the rubble right now — an honest to God popular uprising against a well entrenched incumbent.  Joe Lieberman, who is not only a three term incumbent (and thus by definition a made man), but also a former Democratic Party vice presidential candidate, is facing the very real possibility of losing in the primary to an upstart (a richer than double-fudge cheesecake upstart, to be sure, but then you can’t have everything).

This is the real deal.  This is honest to God democracy of a kind we don’t see nearly often enough. 

So what’s the judgment of the elite political punditocracy?  Are they shouting for joy over this sudden outbreak of democratic spirit? 

That would be a no.  As the consistently excellent Joe Conason noted in a recent column:

The conventional narrative of what may become Joe Lieberman’s final campaign for public office—parroted faithfully by pundits and politicians who admire the Connecticut Senator—is a moving tale of courageous dissent in the very maw of fanatical extremism. It is the story of a supremely decent public servant, purged by party activists with a mean-spirited, shortsighted, single-issue obsession. And it is a fable with a familiar moral, supposedly proving once more that the Democratic Party cannot be trusted to protect America.
Compelling as this account of the beleaguered Democrat’s travails may sound, it is very much like his position on the war in Iraq: wrong, superficial and divorced from reality.

According to the standard version, Mr. Lieberman is the victim of ferocious “liberal bloggers” from around the country. Dispersed across the United States, these meddling left-wing activists somehow conspired to launch Ned Lamont’s primary challenge, and then somehow mesmerized voters, perhaps via the Internets, to reject the Senator they had chosen three times before. Combining Internet technology with progressive ideology, the miasmic and unwholesome blogosphere now threatens to swallow poor Joe in a cloud of angry, buzzing bytes.
So a New York Times columnist denounces the Lamont campaign as a “liberal inquisition.” A Fox News commentator cries out for the “soul of the Democratic Party and the future of civility in American politics.” A syndicated columnist clucks that the end is near for “anyone who is going against the grain with unpopular views, or telling the faithful what they need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear.” A Washington Post columnist warns that  “as the party moves to the left now in this primary season, it moves away from positions that will be winning in general elections.” And a former lobbyist for the Christian Coalition, magically transformed into a Democratic strategist, mocks Lamont supporters as “McGovernites with modems.”

A odd bunch these neocons like Lieberman, don’t you think?  They don’t mind killing people by the thousands to try to transport democracy to other countries, then they turn around and resent it when folks here at home try claiming a little for themselves.

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4 Responses to “Dump Lieberman for democracy”

  1. Larkrise Says:

    Lieberman richly deserves to get the boot. If Hillary doesnt shape up, she deserves the same results. I have no respect for either one of these people. The Democrats will be better off without them.

  2. bigdavefromqueens Says:

    HEADLINE: LIEBERMAN supports jew hating, anti-semitic, terrorist supporting Maliki.

    Just another example of Lieberman having no principles and blindly supporting Bush.

  3. rjcrane Says:

    Joe Lieberman is not the most conservative Dem in the Senate. There are several Senators with worse “progressive” scorecards than his…including the Nelsons and Salazar. What makes Joe a target for defeat and rightly so his is position on the Iraq war aka Bush’s Folly and his public support of Bush. He thus has been unwillingness to admit the war was probably the most tragic immoral and strategic mistake in U.S. history. He also went so far as to claim those not supporting Bush and his failed war were undermining Bush’s presidency. A position no Democrat should ever take. So the reason Joe should be defeated is because he is just like Bush: Someone who can’t admit they made a tragic mistake and someone who would label any dissent as “unpatriotic.” Voters should not confuse clarity of conviction with stupidity, naivete and stubbornness. Joe is the latter.

  4. alwayshope Says:

    It will truly be a victory for democracy when Joe loses.
    It will really rile everyone and hopefully show the idiots in this country what happens when informed, caring people participate in their own future.
    It’s beginning to dawn on everyone that these congresspeople are out for themselves and their continued access to power and money. We’ve always known that corruption was there, but these guys are so in-your-face, mind-numbingly, blantantly, immorally, unapologetically screwing us. All of their stupid wars for oil are sickening, all of their macho posturing is getting old.
    They are not doing anything to help our country or the average Joe, so this Joe must go. Truth is the first casualty of war, Lieberman should be the first casualty of the return of the real America.

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