I used to admire and respect Joe Lieberman, but I no longer can. I gave up on him as I watched the televised Abu Ghraib hearings two years ago and saw him bend over backwards to write off the abuse and torture at American hands as no big deal. Well, it was a big deal. And those who complain that the Iraq War is “the only reason” Lieberman’s party abandonded him today had better understand that the Iraq War is the defining event of our times, right up there with September 11, only far more awful in terms of lives lost and long-term costs for our nation.

I’ve never seen anything quite like the beating “liberal bloggers” took this week from voices in the mainstream media for attacking Lieberman. I’m sorry, but Lieberman let us down and cozied up to the worst president ever. This was his choice. I had no patience for some of the sillier expressions of our disgust with Lieberman – the blackface, the unflattering PhotoShopping, the merciless taunting, the unnecessarily vulgar comments on some of the liberal blogs (though God knows these pale beside what LGF commenters wrote about John Kerry in 2004). But if ever there was a reason or a time to lose one’s temper and blast a politician, this was it. Staying the course in Iraq equals death. This is now a mainstream position. Lieberman was not a centrist on this issue, he was right alongside the worst of the neo-cons. Just look at those who are most indignant at the way poor Joe is being treated – Michelle and Charles and Captain Ed. Not to mention Bill O’Reilly. This should tell us something, when the most die-hard warmongers embrace Joe and decry the way he’s being treated. You needn’t be a genius to know something is amiss.

In all of their arguments, the pro-war side commits the same sin as Lieberman: they equate the war with Iraq with America’s national security. To be against Lieberman is to be for a weak and effette America. You can only prove your commitment to a strong and safe America if you endorse Bush’s reckless and tragic war. This is so maddening, such a shameless contortion of basic logic one barely knows what to say. And when we see intelligent, socially liberal men like Marshall Whitman make this argument (for which I recently removed him from my blogroll) I can only wonder how Bush pulled it off, how, in the wake of 911, he managed to convince normally reasonable people that invading iraq was essential to our national security. At a time when we needed to focus all our might on the true enemy, Bin Laden and his cohorts.

I expect the chattering keyboarders on the right to go wild over the coming days, arguing that today’s primary in Connecticut shows the Democrats are the cut and run party, a party of traitors – all because we stand with the majority of the American people in recognizing this war is malignant, a catastrophe in every conceivable way and far more detrimental in the long term than Vietnam ever was. We all have to brace ourselves for the new wave of Rovian allegations of effeminacy, of weakness, of snail-eating Democrats selling out their country and leaving it helpless and vulnerable. (Being home this week and seeing how the primary is being covered on Fox News, I can state as a fact that this new meme is already in full swing, and it’s just getting started).

And now Joe says he plans to run as an independent, as though he hasn’t caused enough misery for his party as it is. A shame, that someone who could have been remembered as a great Democrat, a proponent of liberal causes like civil rights and a clean environment, decided to hitch his star to the ill-conceived and hideously executed war in Iraq. I don’t rejoice in his defeat. In a way, I feel for him – it seems he scarcely knew what hit him. Yet I am thrilled that Lamont won because it is a sign that sanity is setting in, and that the great moment I have been waiting for for six years may finally be at hand, when Americans recognize Bush for the calamity he is. I firmly believe that despite the crescendo from the raging right, Americans are smart enough to finally see through the lies, the bullshit, the soundbites. Once-rousing phrases (“As Iraq stands up, we shall stand down”) now ring hollow, and we are seeing the Bush administratrion for what it is: an empty, thoughtless, pathetic pseudo-government more fixated on photo-ops than the welfare of its citizens. And we have Iraq, a 21st century Titanic going down before our very eyes, slowly, painfully, pulling down the American way of life with it, as proof positive. Although there is no way at this point to rescue the sinking ship, tonight’s primary is still the first glimmer of light to be seen at the end of a very dark and very long tunnel. So for a moment, let’s place aside the agony of our unwinnable war and think about what will follow, a government purged of toxins like the Bush people, a government that is truly accountable for its actions and that doesn’t snarl “Bring ’em on” at the expense of American lives and ideals.

I remember reading Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain in college, and its melodramatic but evocative closing line has always stayed with me. (This is from memory, so if I’m off here and there, please be forgiving).

Out of this universal feast of death, out of this extremity of fever, kindling the rain-washed evening sky to a fiery glow, could it not be that Love one day shall mount?”

I want to believe tonight that Love is mounting, and that the cheap props that have held up the desperate and vacuous Bush government are about to collapse and crumble under their own weight. The victory today of Ned Lamont is an important first step, and we must now prepare for the wave of propaganda and hatred that will inevitably follow. For the first time in years, I feel we can overcome this wall of hatred, and that the qualities that made America, for all its faults, such a great and wonderful nation will prevail and triumph.

The Discussion: 33 Comments

Great post, Richard.

I’d add that it’s not just the war in Iraq that these loons equate with our national security, it’s war in general. I read a very telling comment in the LA Times today, about the difficulties that the US has right now in trying to broker peace between Lebanon and Israel. One of the biggest problems, according to this article, is that the Bush administration is inexperienced in diplomacy! I mean, think about that one! Six years, and they don’t have the expertise in how to negotiate with people, other than at gunpoint.

Lieberman’s defeat is very good news. Being against the Iraq war is a mainstream position, shared by a majority of Americans, not simply some wild-eyed leftist fringe.

August 9, 2006 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Great post Richard. Lieberman is entitled to his opinions, but he got what he truly deserved. It’s unfortunate that he will now go on to make more of a mockery of our system with his “independent” run. Lisa’s comment about the diplomatic shortcomings of the Bush team are right on. Rice is nothing more than a cold war academic out of touch with the changing world. Cheney and Rumsfeld along with ultra-hawkish goons like Pearle and Wolfowitz have steered this country into a quagmire of epic proportions from which there will be no easy escape. I am sure that from a non-American perspective the entire gang could fit the definition of war criminals for the misery and suffering their opporunistic decisions have cost.

August 9, 2006 @ 7:59 am | Comment

He’s going to stand as an independent, so does this mean he’ll split the Democrat vote and potentially let the Republicans win?

Or can he take on the Democrat candidate and the Republicans?

August 9, 2006 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman loses but this “closet Republican” is no independent. His loss to Ned Lamont was a referendum on the Joseph Liebermann support for the Bush Iraq war. Now Liebermann says he plans to run as an independent in November. He also predicts that he would be returned to the Senate for a fourth term. This is the same Senator that predicted he would win the Democratic Primary, predicted he would be Vice President of the United States and predicted that we would find Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) in Iraq. Whatever!

This “closet Republican” lost the election because of his “blind faith” in Bush and his support of the Bush war in Iraq. End of story.

Candidly, I’m glad he lost. He was no Democrat and he is no independent. I hope other “closet Republicans” and other politicans both Democrat and Republican who support the Bush War in Iraq feel the wrath of the African-American voters in November.

August 9, 2006 @ 10:25 am | Comment

Quote: �(A)nd we are seeing the Bush administratrion for what it is: an empty, thoughtless, pathetic pseudo-government more fixated on photo-ops than the welfare of its citizens�

(1) Bush administration is NOT an empty, thoughtless, pathetic pseudo-government. It IS one of the most powerful and authoritarian governments in the U.S. history, so powerful that it can crush its dissents without any hesitation, tell lies, wage a war, butcher legislative branch and courts without taking any responsibility.
(2) No government in any country ever cares about its citizen�s welfare. The welfare of people is gained through their constant and relentless fight with its own government and other countries, even though sometimes the fight involves only casting a vote or writing something like this in a blog once a while.

August 9, 2006 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

Cynthia McKinney, whose foreign policy views are closer to those of the Democratic left than Ned Lamont, also lost. Go figure.

August 9, 2006 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

Being against the Iraq war is a mainstream position, shared by a majority of Americans, not simply some wild-eyed leftist fringe./i>

It is now but it wasn’t when Congress voted in 2002 to give Bush the authority to launch an invasion. I’m glad the American public is turning against this war, but we need to deconstruct the lead-up to the invasion and ask ourselves why a large majority of Congress and a majority of Americans initially supported the invasion in the face of strong global opposition.

August 9, 2006 @ 7:56 pm | Comment

Slim, I see McKinney’s defeat as a good thing, a sign the electorate isn’t motivated by a mindless left-wing influence but instead craves real change and improvement. Out with the old, especially when it was inefficient and embarrassing

Sonagi, it’s an easy phenomenon to trace. The media fell into lockstep with Bush after 911, which isn’t entirely surprising. The NY Times and the Washington Post led the march into Iraq (and both published mea culpas pointing out their own flawed reporting that accepted GOP talking points as universal truths), which is why it’s so ironic to see the right now blaming those two papers for today’s anti-war sentiment.

August 9, 2006 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman loses but this “closet Republican” is no independent.

Lieberman a closet Republican? Jesus Christ, Lieberman had a lifetime ADA voting record of 76. Compare this to, say, liberal whipping boy Rick Santorum’s lifetime record of 7 or Bill Frist’s lifetime record of 3, and that kind of rhetoric falls flat as a joke. A clearer perspective is that Lieberman talked moderate and voted left most of the time except for Iraq. If his voting for the war made him a closet Republican, then Hillary should watch out for you people, shouldn’t she?

Also, do you really think Love is mounting, Richard? You admit that some comments on the liberal blogs were vulgar, but in the spirit of Glenn Greenwald, let’s recap: I guess “Love” is what drove Hamsher’s blackface Photoshopping (which you rightfully condemned) or her calling him “rape gurney Joe” (which you did not condemn), or the constant anti-Lieberman Nazi references (LieberYouth, anyone?) on dKos and Firedoglake, or the classical dual-loyalty them Jews sure have funny names anti-Semitism on Huffington Post (blogrolled as one of your “Precious Stones” — and you’re not removing them anytime soon like you removed Wittman, are you?) and other blogs. Where’s the line between love and hate? How is this slimy rhetoric any evidence of the triumph of love? And if there is love in a win for the anti-war position, how can it avoid being tainted by this kind of extremism?

Anger isn’t love. The left has the right to be angry, but they don’t have the right to call it love. Lamont’s victory was an exercise in raw power by the party’s angry anti-war wing bankrolled by someone who inherited his money. Remove the war and the concomitant netroots support from the equation, and Ned probably wouldn’t be able to buy himself a Senate seat. Now, Lieberman was a sanctimonious nanny-stater and big government guy, and as a libertarian-minded person I’m happy to see him go, but I’m not happy to see him go this way. This is a triumph of politics at its meanest, and the netroots are just beginning.

Everyone will go Swiftboating now.

August 9, 2006 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

In case you didn’t notice, I attacked Hamsher for the blackface, twice. All I am referring to in regard to “the Love” is the American public, which seems to be opening its eyes. Please, see things as they are.

I never called Lieberman a closet Republican and never supported the rather rabid attacks on him, even though I believe it’s fair to say he invited some of them. Some. But I despise bullying tactics from any side, be it the left, the right or the CCP. That’s really what this blog is all about.

You are, as usual, completely and totally wrong in regard to the Connecticut election. Most of the voters there have never, ever read any of the liberal blogs. They are simply fed up with the war and feel Lieberman has abandoned them. Period. This had nothing to do with blogs or leftists and it had everything to do with Lieberman ignoring his base and supporting a war that is killing all of us. Period. This has the potential to be a turning point for America. The only thing that can spoil it is a rallying cry from the right, echoed by fools (like yourself in your comment, I’m afraid) insisting that it represents the threat of late-60s style US-hating Abbie Hoffmans. Bullshit. We are sick and tired of this war, and of mealy mouthed apologists who refuse to feel the pulse of America. Enough. Enough. Don’t blame it on Kos or Atrios. They can’t hold a candle to Fox News and the belligerent right (Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Rush, Sean Hannity et. al.- that’s where you will find the REAL hate). You have only Bush and his apologists to blame.

August 9, 2006 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

Matthew, a very good observation and a position which I also subscribe.

Political parties are based on coalitions. One coalition member of the Democractic party is the Jewish bloc. I think it will be prudent to watch and see if this begins to fracture that bloc and support for the Democratic party begins to waiver (as it may appear to the Jewish bloc that the Democratic party is abandoning Israel).

August 10, 2006 @ 12:10 am | Comment

Most of the people who voted for Lamont did not vote for him soley for his anti-war position. In fact, this was not their major consideration. They voted against Lieberman because they felt he was too close to Bush, period. There are plenty of Democratic senators and congressmen who supported the war, initially, and they aren’t being rejected in the same manner. They agreed with the NYT editorial that called Lieberman “Bush’s enabler.” Lieberman has betrayed his own progressive legacy through the social and foreign policy positions he has taken in the last six years.

And I am sick of hearing how being against the Iraq war is some radical fringe position. A clear majority of Americans are now against the war. A clear majority also now believes that the Democratic party is better equipped to handle terrorism than is Bush’s Republican party.

A majority of mainstream Americans think that the Iraq War was a mistake, and they are looking for an alternative to the disasterous path the Bush Administration has put this nation on.

Labeling Lamont’s election as some sort of Leftist “purge” is absolutely absurd and is merely parroting the latest RNC/Rovian talking point. I don’t know whether people saying this actually believe it or are just following the “party” line.

You wanna talk purges? Take a look at today’s Republican Party.

August 10, 2006 @ 12:27 am | Comment

We’ll see, JFS. I am Jewish myself; I know many, many Jewish people and I can safely say most will be voting Democrat yet again (as they always have), and most see Lieberman as a disgrace to the party. I went to a dinner party just last night with my uncle, who’s actually one of the few members of my family who’s a Republican, and I was somewhat startled and pleased when he sounded off against Lieberman and Bush, speaking of the two men as if they were in the same camp. He plans to vote Democrat for the first time in a long time (he’s a Clinton hater, so needless to say he and I have never been too close, at least not politicallly) – all because of the war. Yes, we will see factions: pro-war and anti-war. And now 60 percent of the people are on the record as being anti-war. You choose whichever faction you’d like. I believe in November we will see the anti-war faction sweep the elections like no other force in recent memory. Anti-war, not anti-national security. It’s not the 60s anymore; everyone knows we need a strong military and the will to root out and kill those who would destroy us. What we don’t need are simpletons leading us into pointless and suicidal wars. To repeat what I said to Stimson, this has nothing to do with the radical left infecting US politics. It has everything to do with a new consciousness in America, an awareness that this war in Iraq is a terrible thing, and that people who support it are leading us in a dangerous direction. Never again.

August 10, 2006 @ 12:28 am | Comment

Thank you Lisa.

August 10, 2006 @ 12:31 am | Comment

speaking of Republican purges…

August 10, 2006 @ 12:34 am | Comment

Wow, what a great article! Thanks for that reality check, Lisa. Looks like Matthew is looking in the wrong place when it comes to party purges! 🙂

August 10, 2006 @ 12:47 am | Comment

This talk of purges and closet Republicans is BS. Joe lost because he allowed himself to be used by the GOP to beat Democrats as “Cut and Run” during the so called “war debates” Congress has every 4-6 months. I remember a Daily Show sketch last winter featuring several Republicans saying exactly the same line…”Democrats like Joe Liberman know that we can’t Cut and Run in Iraq” or something like that.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how Joe let the GOP do that to him. It’s one thing to debate whether or not we need to be in Iraq. It is quite another thing to allow yourself to be used as a tool by the other party to paint your own party as a bunch of cowards which the whole “Cut and Run” spin so effectively does.

I still think that although the polls show that the majority say they want to get out, the reason why the whole BS “Cut and Run” line works so well is because deep down in our gut, we know that we all jumped on the war bandwagon and even though it has become apparent that we have failed, it is pretty dishonorable to go and create all that chaos in Iraq and then just leave. Guilt will keep us there until there is no shred of doubt that Iraq has crumbled into civil war and it is a shame because a lot of our boys are going to die because of that guilt.

August 10, 2006 @ 1:28 am | Comment

The Republicans took us into Iraq with noble intentions, and if it wasn’t for the insurgency all of America would be praising Bush for his heroism.

On a different note, I see that lirelou, like Sojourner, has defected to the other person’s site, and that the other person has photos of himself naked with his woman, hidden away.

Some things in life sure are constant.

August 10, 2006 @ 1:31 am | Comment

The Republicans took us into Iraq with noble intentions, and if it wasn’t for the insurgency all of America would be praising Bush for his heroism.

Noble intentions? A non-existant tie between Sadaam and 911? Non-existant WMD’s. All the GOP and the rest of Washington morons (Democrats included) did was choose Iraq as an excuse to appear to be doing something to fight terrorism. Instead we’ve now created the world’s most attractive terrorist training facility with daily exercises exercises against American forces as a training tool.

George Bush as a hero? An embarrasing Yale legacy, a man who has never held a job in his life, an alcoholic and possible drug addict surrounded by scheming, old world politicians and bank-rolled by the oil industry, short of giving his life for this country I can’t think of anything he could do to earn the title of hero. The title he has earned is “The Worst American President Ever!” and he is currently working on “war criminal” added to his resume.

August 10, 2006 @ 3:17 am | Comment

Richard – I live in CT, and I worked at the polls for Ned Lamont on Tuesday. What the Democrats of CT said on Tuesday was this: “The war is a lie and we know it.”


August 10, 2006 @ 5:32 am | Comment

Sam, the war was founded on lies from day one, and by now you should acknowledge that. As for good intentions, yes there were some of those, but there was also a lot of greed as well and hubris beyond measurement. Go look at Ricks’ new book Fiasco. I browsed through a copy today – there is very little noble or praiseworthy about any aspects of this war. To say “IF” there hadn’t been an insurgency is rather absurd considering we created the breeding grounds for the insurgency when we lost control of basic services and, due to Rumsfeld’s “War Lite,” had too few troops pn the ground to maintain order. The insurgency grew day by day out of the Bush people’s incompetency. “Six months…” “insugency in its last throes…” “a cakewalk…” “we know where the weapons are…” “bring ’em on…” Not to mention Abu Ghraib. One lie after another. Now, I am not ready to say what happened to Lieberman should happen to every incumbent who supported the war. There is room for diversity and centrism. But when Lieberman scolded us that we should not criticize the president during a time of war and that to do so aids the enemy, he lost all credibility and any appearance of true centrism. That is a radical and un-American attitude, and it will haunt Lieberman the rest of his career.

August 10, 2006 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Former pro-war, pro-Bush conservative Andrew Sullivan on yesterday’s defeat:

“It will be tempting to believe that Joe Lieberman’s defeat in the Connecticut primary means something profound about the future of the war or the future of the Democrats. It may indeed mark a turning point in the public’s patience with the president’s war-management, but we’ll have to wait till November to confirm that more generally. The primary defeat wasn’t a rout, after all. And Lieberman, even among Democrats, was a special case. Hawkish Democrats, like Clinton, have managed to maintain support for the war against Islamist terror, while criticizing the president’s staggering ineptness. Lieberman seemed unable to do this. He appeared more interested in becoming Rumsfeld’s successor than in getting re-elected in blue-state Connecticut. And it’s worth recalling: many Republicans have been more critical of the Bush administration’s war decisions than Lieberman. Lieberman is to George Will’s and Bill Buckley’s and Chuck Hagel’s and Bill Kristol’s right on this. His position that any criticism of a president is inappropriate in wartime is also simply Hewittian in its proneness. At least that’s my instant response to his political demise as a Democrat. I’m not crying any tears. Do you know anyone who is?”

August 10, 2006 @ 5:55 am | Comment


I do not reside in the USA at the present time, so I am not able to have any feel for the political winds or sentiments or anything of that nature; but if history is any indicator, anti-war sentiment is not a useful base to form political coalitions. I chuckle at your use of ineptness. President Bush ought to have easily been defeated in the last election, he had nothing going for him. And yet, the ineptness of the Democratic party not only re-elected the President, but gave him a large enough victory that it appeared that he a mandate to make war. No, Richard, I think it is the ineptness of the Democratic party that made this war.

August 10, 2006 @ 6:22 am | Comment

First up, Richard: I guess you can’t read between parentheses, but I KNOW you condemned Hamsher. Yet, her main blog and the blog she posted the blackface pic on are still blogrolled by you, while in this post you proudly announce you delinked Wittman for far less offensive hackery.

And sorry, but the “real hate” is on the right? I suppose I have to go out and make a disclaimer and say Coulter is scum and Hannity is scum and the Swiftboaters were scum, and they were and are parasites on the American body politic. And you know what, I FUCKING LOATHE THEM. I didn’t vote in 2004 in part because of them. (Also, because I wanted to go 0-2 voting in elections where Bush was my party’s candidate.) Yet the very fact that I have to include such a statement in this comment underlines the hypocrisy of your rejection of “hatred.” The folks here are comparatively nice and civilized, but have you ever read comment sections on half of the blogs on your blogroll? (I can, now that Blogspot has been unbanned here in China.) Is there anything that can make you say, “These people really are as bad as the right”?

I don’t think you’re going to realize it when that level of extremism hits because your emotions are running too high.

A case in point: The war in Iraq is “killing all of us”? The war in Iraq is a horrifically mismanaged shitstorm, but could you tone down the hyperbole a little? The war in Iraq has taken the lives of a few thousand fine young Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, but screaming that it’s killing all of us is worse than hysterical, it obscures the question of what we can actually do about Iraq. Should we exercise a netroots-endorsed insta-pullout, even if it means widening the Iraqi civil war? How did you feel about Murtha’s “let’s redploy to Okinawa” plan unveiled on Meet the Press? Was this in any way sensible or just a ridiculous response to a serious problem? The problem with the “antis,” and they’re not Abbie Hoffman retreads — please spare me the Hannity tactic of putting words in my mouth — is that much like Bush himself, they have no plan to improve the situation in Iraq. What I see is not Vietnam lefties redux — though noted right-winger Jacob Weisberg does — but a reemergence of the much older isolationist left that will simply refuse to deploy any US soldiers, anywhere, for any reason. I don’t count you as part of that wing of the Democratic Party, but they are major meme entrepreneurs in the netroots.

Oh wait, nevermind responding to my analysis, I know what you’ll say, I am “usual, completely and totally” wrong. Nice ad hominem you used there. That kind of shit should be beneath you, man.

Your other commenter, who I quoted, called Lieberman a closet Republican. That point wasn’t addressed to you, Richard, which brings me to…

The Other Lisa, I’m sorry, what part of Markos’ quest to “nuke” the Democratic Leadership Council doesn’t look like a purge? What did Al From do to make liberals want to give him the Lin Biao treatment? And keeping with this Cultural Revolution theme, we’ve studied China long enough to know that the”closet Republican” rhetoric bandied about by some commenters here and on the major lefty blogs sounds exactly like the epithets hurled by the Party against members who were more liberal or conservative than the Party line allowed?

The bright spot I’ll allow: McKinney lost, so Democrats are angry, not insane. 😉

August 10, 2006 @ 6:38 am | Comment

Matthew, I don’t have the time or the patience to respond to you right now, except to note that I find it fascinating how many Republicans criticize Democrats for kicking policies and politicians to the curb that have been unable to deliver us winning elections. We really appreciate your concern…not so much.

I hope you enjoy the company of the 23 percenters who still believe in Bush, Bush’s noble intentions and the Tooth Fairy.

August 10, 2006 @ 9:42 am | Comment

AN is our troll and he can’t be permitted to stay. Sorry Lisa 🙂


August 10, 2006 @ 9:43 am | Comment

Wow! I’m tempted to leave that comment, “Arabian Nights,” for the sheerl, staggering stupidity of it! Here you are, fulminating against the US with every post, and now you’re, let’s see if I can break this down…

According to Arabian Nights, the Democratic Party is run by people like Richard and myself who have loyalty to no nation…meaning that the Democratic Party is run by traitors to America…

Gee, AR, given your anti-American sentiments, I’d think you’d be cheering us on for that!

Your tinfoil hat needs adjusting.

August 10, 2006 @ 9:49 am | Comment

Matthew, Kos wants his people to win. I want the people I like to win. He’s an activist – but if you actually read his blog, his viewpoints are mainstream and moderate, though some of his commenters, just like some here, are frequently off the wall. The blackface and nastiness ate into Lamont’s lead and hurt him – the Americans are too smart to be swayed by those kinds of cheap tricks. Or at least they are now; we learned from years of Rovian dirty tricks that a smear is easy to pull off. What matters increasingly, I’m delighted to see, is substance, and thus I am so happy with the McKinney defeat – loud-mouthed extreme BS’ers who aren’t focused on getting things done in a responsible manner are dead meat in November.

As to Iraq killing us, you’d better open your eyes. It’s not the 3,000 young soldiers I’m referring to. Look at what’s risen up in a region that was literally devoid of terrorism in the past, the death squads, the raging anti-Americanism that’s spilled out to its neighbors. They always hated us, but they weren’t ever so willing to express their hatred in acts of violence. This was supposed to be about hearts and minds, flowers and chocolate, greetings as liberators, schools and hospitals and everything paid for by cheap oil. Remember? I saw Abu Ghraib as the turning point – after that, I felt we had no hope, especially as I saw the Liebermans sweep it under the rug. Iraq is killing us – our global reputation, our ability to effectively help police the world, our ability to fight terrorism, our ability to have plenty of cash and oil in reserves – all squandered by our man-boy leader. The casualties in Vietnam were far greater (after 12 years, of course) but were still relatively miniscule as wars go. But it did destroy our institutions and our faith in government, and we’ve never recovered. Iraq is far worse, in that it has alientated our closest friends and launched extremists into respectable positions of power thanks to Bush’s fantasies of democracy as a be-all end-all. Just look at Lieberman’s defeat to see how it’s turned our politics on its head. Look what it did to him, and look what it did to America’s voters. I’m here now, and I can tell you, Iraq is on everyone’s mind, even if people are still dazed and confused as to how we got into this mess. As to how we should get out, I’d have to guess we’ll do a Vietnam, proclaiming a kind of victory and running away. There is simply no choice. Do we keep sending in more troops to fight in what’s becoming a true civil war? Like we did in Vietnam? It’s a terrible solution, imperfect and unfair to the Iraqis But is there an alternative? As one blogger said, “And no, I don’t know how to unshit the bed. But I know who shit the bed.” Bush and Lieberman, the bed shitters, are now paying the price, both in the election booth and in Iraq, for their hideous deception of us and of themselves. Speak well of the war if you so choose, but you are increasingly alone in the woods, howling at the moon.

August 10, 2006 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

JFS, yes, the Democratic Party has been inept and has yet to articulate a unified message. As we all say, the only thing that keep the Republicans in power is the Democrats. But watch closely – think they ar emore unified than ever, and it’s the war that’s giving them common cause. Even the majority who were pro-war, like Hillary, are increasingly outspoken about the way it was handled. All but Lieberman, and he paid dearly for his pusillanimousness (pusillanimity?). Make no mistake, the war is what the November elections will be about, with corruption, cronyism and Katrina (all closely linked) thrown in for good measure. It’s a matter of competency, and Iraq war, instead of being the shining beacon of liberty, stands as the shining beacon of incompetency, hubris and raw greed.

As I said in my post, the GOP is now racing to use the Lieberman loss as proof the Dems are weak and deafetist. If the Dems can convince the average voter that the war in Iraq is not synonymous or even related to national security, they can’t lose. It’ll be a hard battle, but with 60 percent of the population against the war and more joining the majority every day, it’s quite possible. The Dems are getting more disciplined, and if they choose the right candidate, like Al Gore, in 2008 they may well take back the government.

August 10, 2006 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

From David Broder today:

you can see the disillusionment with Iraq coloring Democratic politics more broadly. Hillary Clinton, that most cautious of centrists, delivered a public tongue-lashing to Don Rumsfeld last week over his mismanagement of the war and said he should resign. And New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is coordinating the party’s effort in the 36 gubernatorial races this year, told me this week that he thinks the Iraq issue “will spill over” into those contests, adding two or three points to the Democratic side. With American generals talking openly about Iraq’s verging on civil war, he said, “it allows Democrats to take positions that are responsive to the public and yet are protected from Republican political attacks.”

I think the Dems finally have a strategy.

August 10, 2006 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

I believe the American people are in general not pacifists. They have no basic anti-war feeling. Any anti-war sentiment will be a function of the specific war that is impacting their lives, either directly or indirectly. To base a coalition on an anti-war sentiment is extremely risky.

Let me give you an example. Let us review the American Civil War (I am not equating the American Civil War with the American Iraq War, I just wish to describe the risk involved in using anti-war sentiment). two years and one year prior to the election in ’63, Abraham Lincoln was in deep trouble, headed for almost certain defeat in the upcoming election. But events within six months of the election changed all that, and he was re-elected with a comfortable margin. Also, do you remember all those photos of Iraqi women holding up their ink-stained thumbs in the election there. If that had happened within a month of an election here, all the anti-war candidates would have been annilated in the voting booths.

Also, to your chagrin, the war itself went extremely well, both in Iraq and in Afganistan. It is not the war that is the problem right now, it is the occupation. The war itself is ancient history (I read an article just recently by some guy who was berating Julius Caesar for his politital views-my goodness, that guy has been dead for over two thousand years, there is no relevence at all). You guys would be better off to decouple the occupation from the war, and focus on the occupation. You cannot just propose a cut and run option. The problem will not go away. The problem is fascism. The Democrats need to have a plan to handle that issue. If they do not, then they will lose the upcoming election, just as they lost the last two elections which they should have won.

August 11, 2006 @ 12:07 am | Comment

I won’t disagree with you. But planning for the invasion is only part of the equation. If you don’t plan for the occupation as well, you can then go on to lose the war. As we have.

August 11, 2006 @ 12:09 am | Comment

“The war went extremely well”?!?!

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of “the war.” Talk about parsing!

The invasion went well, but that was predictable, when one side has an overwhelming force advantage. The war is what’s continuing now. And if you think that’s going well, I guess that depends on what your definition of “well” is.

August 11, 2006 @ 12:31 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.