If you’re a registered Democrat in Connecticut and you’re reading this, remember:
The polls open at 6:00 AM EDT and close at 8:00 PM EDT (5pm MST). Get out there and vote!
Also, if you’re a registered Democrat in the 4th congressional district of Georgia… Vote for Hank Johnson! Give McKinney the boot!
P.S. Back to Lieberman v. Lamont… after the jump, excerpts from Lieberman’s big speech on Sunday, defending himself head-on against the false charges that are being leveled by Lamont and his blogospheric allies:
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s start with the biggest lie being told about me by the other side Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the false charge that I am George BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best friend and enabler. As MaxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s friends in Georgia would say, that is a load of hogwash. …
I believe that [Bush’s] agenda was wrong for our country and our future. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the truth.
In the Senate, I have acted on that conviction time and time again, standing against the President on most every big domestic issue. I did so because I believe that his policies were damaging to our state and country. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the truth.
[Lieberman then listed a bunch of issues where he has opposed Bush, including tax cuts, stem cells, gay marriage, bankruptcy, affirmative action, the environment and Social Security.]
Now with all that said, I will never hesitate to work across party lines when it helps me get something done for the people of Connecticut. … I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hate Republicans. I know that some times the best way to get things done in the Senate for my constituents is through bipartisan cooperation.
That doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make me a bad Democrat. It makes me a better Senator.
Indeed it does. Also:
On Iraq, as you know, I supported the resolution giving the President the authority to use force to take out Saddam Hussein, as did most Senate Democrats. I still believe that was right.
What I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think is right, as I have said over and over again, are many of the Bush AdministrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decisions regarding the execution of the war. The fact is, I have openly and clearly disagreed with and criticized the President for, among other things:
* not winning the support of our allies in the run-up to the war;
* not having a plan to win the peace;
* not putting enough troops on the ground;
* putting an American in charge of the Iraqi oil supply.
And I said that if I were President, I would ask Secretary Rumsfeld to resign. I first said that in October 2003. …
But if we simply give up and pull out now, like my opponent wants to do, then it would be a disaster to Iraq and to us. We would run a high risk of allowing Iraq to become like Afghanistan when the Taliban were in charge, and Al Qaeda had safe haven from which to strike us.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s precisely because of the horrible cost of the war, and the impact that has had on public support for our mission in Iraq, that I have tried to present an honest, non-partisan, balanced picture of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happening on the ground there. I have been encouraged by the formation of the Iraqi unity government. But like a lot of Americans, both supporters and of opponents of the war, I am increasingly troubled by the sectarian violence in Iraq.
I not only respect your right to disagree or question the President, I value it. I was part of the anti-war movement in the late 1960s, so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to be lectured by Ned Lamont about the place of dissent in our democracy.
My opponent wants you to believe otherwise, to cement his distortion campaign against me. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why they keep repeating and misrepresenting a single comment I made in one speech, in which I said we undermine the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s credibility at our peril.
I know that statement has been widely misconstrued, so let me address it head on. I did not suggest that the President or anyone else — including me — should be immune from criticism. The best proof of that is I myself have challenged the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policies on many occasions.
The point I was trying to make was about how we disagree. My concern was, and remains, that if opponents or supporters of the war go beyond disagreeing to exploiting the war for partisan political purposes, much like Republicans did to Max Cleland on homeland security, we could lose more than an election. We could put our mission in Iraq, the lives of thousands of American soldiers carrying it out, and our national security at risk. That is what I care about.
The continual invocation, devoid of all context, of Lieberman’s comment about “undermining presidential credibility” has been one of the most irritating things about this campaign. Here’s what I wrote about it back in December:
Lieberman isn’t saying “agree with the president or you’re a traitor.” He’s saying that, to the extent Democrats and Republicans actually already do agree about most of the relevant issues regarding what we need to do next in Iraq (which he argues is actually quite a substantial extent), it’s wrong for them to play up the differences and ignore the agreements for the sake of purely political advantage. Read the whole speech and this is quite clear. In other words, he’s NOT attacking principled dissent over the war; he’s attacking the unprincipled act of playing politics with the war. Those are two very different things.
And he’s right — Bush is going to be around for three more years, so Democrats are doing themselves no favors if they pretend they don’t have to keep dealing with him; and we do undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril, which is why, on matters of foreign policy and national defense, we should not attack the president’s credibility lightly — i.e., not if it’s for political gain, only if it’s truly a matter of principle. (So in other words, saying “Bush Lied” is deeply irresponsible unless, you know, Bush actually lied.)
Admittedly, Lieberman probably could have chosen his words better in that particular paragraph, and thrown in an extra caveat or two. But the criticism of him is way overboard when you look in its entirety at what he actually said, which is, as always with Senator Joe, quite reasonable.
As Martin Peretz says, a victory for Lamont would be a victory for the forces of extremism in the Democratic Party — which, in the long-term, would be a very bad thing for the Democratic Party. If you care about the future of the party, and by extension the nation (since a viable opposition party is essential to the health of the nation), you should be rooting for Lieberman today, because a Democratic Party that doesn’t have room for Joe in its “big tent” is a Democratic Party that is doomed to another long run on the outside looking in.