Well, that photo probably just lost us our Ohio readership — which I think amounts to my mother and my college roommate — but COME ON, PEOPLE! If you can’t vote these nutbags out of the majority this fall — or, maybe I should say, even if you do technically vote them out but a series of suspicious developments reverses the election results and you aren’t prepared to fill every courthouse in the state with legal challenges — then we’re going to have to conclude that you kind of like being governed by potential felons and frauds and wingnut “clergy” who demand your gubernatorial challenger “prove” his sexuality in court. (OK, OK, it would be damn good entertainment if there weren’t so much at stake. If Molly Ivins gets tired of Texas politics, there’s a very rich vein to tap in Ohio.) (Hat tip to G.D., who spotted the t-shirt somewhere in the Castro.) (P.S. That’s the San Francisco Castro, if Rev. Russell Johnson wants to know.)
The opposition to Lieberman is motivated by an effort to reverse the trend to the right. It’s true that Lamont’s campaign has been energized by widespread opposition to the Iraq War and the fact that Lieberman has been one of the most loyal Democratic defenders of President Bush’s Middle East policies.
But Lieberman’s troubles are, even more, about a new aggressiveness in the Democratic Party called forth by disgust with the Bush presidency — an energy comparable to the vigor that a loathing for liberalism brought to the Republican right in the 1970s and 1980s.
Like the earlier generation of conservatives, today’s Democratic activists are impatient with accommodating the powers-that-be. They demand that Democrats stop trying to chase a “center” that has veered ever rightward since 1980.
Instead, they want to haul that center back to more progressive terrain. That’s why so much of the political energy in Connecticut seems to be with Lamont.
But he also parrots increasingly tiresome “wisdom”:
A Lieberman loss next week could also create distracting problems for Democrats. Lieberman has said he would run as an independent if he lost the primary. This would divert national attention from the Democrats’ central goal of making this fall’s elections a referendum on Bush and the Republican Congress.
Cow pies! Lieberman has made a career of diverting, distracting and dividing Democrats, and that’s a big part of why he’s in the trouble he’s in! It is NOT just his bizarre allegiance to Bush’s war. It’s his bizarre allegiance to Bush! Mark Schmitt has a very smart interpretation of Lieberman’s problem today:
It’s a great expression of the Democratic Party of 1996: You got your enviros, you got your minorities, you got your women. Each group has one issue. For the enviros, it’s ANWR (the most trivial of victories, but the one that raises the money). For the minorities, affirmative action. (Likewise, of minor relevance to the actual structure of economic opportunity for most African-Americans and Latinos.) For women, it’s all about “preserve abortion rights.” There are a couple others, but those are the basic buttons you press to be credentialed as a good liberal Democrat. After you press them, you can do whatever you want.
But has Lieberman failed to press those buttons? No! In fact, he’s been pounding on them like that guy at the elevator who thinks that if he presses “Down” hard enough and often enough, eventually the elevator will recognize how important and how late he is.
But it’s not working. Why? Two reasons: One of course is that Iraq, and the constellation of foreign policy and security failures it represents really is huge. And while Democrats can accept a fairly wide range of viewpoints, roughly from Biden’s make-it-work to Murtha’s get-out-now, only Lieberman’s stay-the-course is ridiculous. It’s pretty difficult to look at ANWR and Iraq and conclude that a good position on ANWR more than offsets a bad one on Iraq. (Especially if there’s no reason to think that Ned Lamont has a different position on ANWR or the other three buttons.)
The second reason is that Lamont supporters actually aren’t ideologues. They aren’t looking for the party to be more liberal on traditional dimensions. They’re looking for it to be more of a party. They want to put issues on the table that don’t have an interest group behind them – like Lieberman’s support for the bankruptcy bill — because they are part of a broader vision. And I think that’s what blows the mind of the traditional Dems. They can handle a challenge from the left, on predictable, narrow-constituency terms. But where do these other issues come from? These are “elitist insurgents,” as Broder puts it – since when do they care about bankruptcy? What if all of a sudden you couldn’t count on Democratic women just because you said that right things about choice – what if they started to vote on the whole range of issues that affect women’s economic and personal opportunities?
But caring about bankruptcy, even if you’re not teetering on the brink of it or a bankruptcy lawyer yourself, is part of a vision of a just society. And a vision of a just society – not just the single-issue push-buttons of a bunch of constituency groups – is what a center-left political party ought to be about…
(Emphasis mine.) It’s just killin’ Lieberman. Some Democrats are finally articulating a principled vision, and the establishment Dems don’t know what to make of it. And pseudo-Dem Joe Lieberman is completely befuddled!
She paused. “…Except there’s a woman presiding.”
Paused again. “…And she’s my lesbian partner.”
It will probably also shift direction, slightly. With such an important election coming up, it will be impossible not to blog about political news, but for my own sanity and well-being, I need to spend a more time on the news relevant to my own studies (environmental ethics, especially the biodiversity crisis), and on developments pertaining to the progressive faith community. I hope y’all will continue to find those things worth checking in for. Of course, I’m not speaking for my co-conspirator, abc, but her posts have tended to be more thoughtfully tailored toward progressive faith issues to begin with. (I also hope to post some short reviews of a few good books I’ve managed to scarf down this summer.)
And for those increasingly necessary moments of zen, I’m adding a few blog links to the sidebar – sites I head for when my “other” blog visits start to give me a headache. Enjoy.