I have been shying away from writing about politics, the law, and other topics not related to writing for a while now. Writing is what I do, and so I began to think that it should become the central topic of what I write about here. After doing a bit of industry news and discussing what I learned from Alex Epstein last weekend, I feel that now is a good time to talk about something that I consider to be more important that my career and passion.
I don't have much to do during the mid-term elections this year. The woman representing my district of North Carolina is a Republican, and one that is not up for reelection. There have been whispers and rumors that former N.C. Senator John Edwards may run for President again in '08, and I would happily support his bid, but for now there's nothing going on for me locally, as far as I know.
Connecticut on the other hand is spilling onto everybody's plate this year. Joe Lieberman is not a liberal Democrat, and the man is hardly what I feel to be a moderate either. I was strongly against Lieberman in '04 because there were a few stances in particular that just riled the hell out of me.
Lieberman, like my dear Hillary (oh, how I wish to smack thee in the face for this) thinks that violence in films and games is not just a worsening problem that needs fixing, but that a new law is going to make it all better. They are in lock step on the issue, and it's a massive waste of time. Real horse shit.
Hillary's flip-flop on support for the Iraq war is bad enough, but Lieberman is still siding with the war mongers, and that's unforgivable.
I want to like Joe. He's done a lot of good things for his state, and his dedication to the party even in the face of his mounting detractors is admirable. (If and when he tries to run as an independent, you can safely wash away that comment.) In fact, I cannot and will not fault the man for standing up for what he believes in. He votes his conscience which is more than you can say for a lot of people in the House and Senate, where the Republicans have been doing Karl Roves bidding without missing a beat for six straight years.
The problem is, Joe wasn't elected to vote his conscience alone. The party supported him because he supported the parties ideals, and the citizens voted him into office because they believed in him; that he would serve them and their ideals faithfully. And he hasn't done that.
Nobody wants a mindless robot, whether it be on the battle field, or in the halls of Congress. No more so than anyone wants a rogue. However, it ultimately comes down to serving both interests equally, and when you can't do that any longer, it's probably time to let go.
Ned Lamonts surge in the polls and popularity, and the Democratic backlash against Joe Lieberman are not about the men, or their chief issues. It is not a referendum on their character, or a litmus test on their ideological stances on the "core issues". No, the issue is far more complex than that.
Lieberman isn't trusted to make the right choices for his Democrats anymore, and all the right ones he has made don't seem to count for much anymore. And as much as this is about Lieberman, it's about Bush too. GWB stole Connecticut's car and then banged its sister, and Lieberman's response is to pat him on the back.
Zel Miller was a lot like this, only the party didn't then have the balls to show him the door before he had the good sense to run away like the coward he was, but not before gleefully speaking at the Republican National Convention; sticking his thumb in our eyes, laughing all the way at how much he hated us, and how much fun he had screwing us over every chance that he got. The man believed that the party had abandoned him, that his beliefs were more important that the ones of the people who voted for him. I can't think of a more contemptible person in the Democratic party than he was. Other than Joe.
Lieberman isn't there yet, but he's trending that way. There is a difference between a Democrat that thinks cutting taxes with the largest deficit in history is a good thing (Lieberman did not do this; it's an example), and consistently supporting a war that is against the party line, and for that matter unfavorable to a large majority of the country as a whole (Lieberman did do this).
One of the things I find most annoying about politics is that politicians hardly ever do what they say they will. Republicans are supposed to be the small government party, the one that stays out of your home and out of your personal business -- unless there is something going on in your bedroom that they ought to know about.
Democrats are supposed to be the party of self-responsibility and freedom of choice. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Yet Lieberman and Clinton both wrote the "Family Entertainment Protection Act", making it the responsibility of retailers to police violent and explicit video games on store shelves (what, they aren't doing that already? Bull..), when it is the parents whose job it is to keep things away from their kids that they'd rather the kids not have.
Other things that have irked me were Lieberman's stance on same-sex marriage. He's fine with civil unions, but against marriage, as if that actually addressed the issue of civil rights. One fountain for blacks, one for illegals, one for gays, and one for the rest of us. In American, that is simply unacceptable. Freedom means the freedom to think, to speak, and to live; it doesn't mean the freedom to discriminate.
His 2004 platform of anti-Domestic Violence also seemed misguided. Aren't we supposed to be anti-violence period? You teach your boys not to hit girls when they are little, but you don't teach them to not hit anyone in the first place? Yeah Joe, that worked for Bush, right?
Amongst all this mess, Lieberman has supported good causes before and continues to do so today. The NRA hates the man, and that alone is worthy of praise. His stances on education, labor, social security, flag burning, and the environment are indisputable. But it's just not enough anymore.
The reality of today is that moderates are out of favor within both parties. The Republicans at large are sick of their guys not doing what they said they were going to do when they elected them, and tired of them screwing up virtually everything that they have tried to do.
Democrats are sick of a conservative institution that thinks compromise is a four letter word. Nothing ever gets done because they refuse to work with Democrats (or the planet for that matter) on anything -- they just don't see the value in cooperation.
Democrats in Connecticut are sick of Lieberman trying to do what he thinks is right, and not what they think is right. Everyone is sick of Republicans, even their own constituents. It's not a surprising or unforeseeable state of things, either. If this country were meant to be run by a single voice and party, there wouldn't be elections and parties at all. Yet this system allows it, and this is the price we pay.
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