That's OK Joe. Lieberman Forgiven

Bill Gallagher

Because it was a secret ballot in the Democratic Caucus of the United State Senate today we may never know which 13 Dems voted against allowing Senator Joe Lieberman (I. Conn.) to hold onto a couple of key chairmanships in the next Senate session. The vote behind closed doors to let Senator Lieberman off easy was 42-13.

Do you think we can assume that Senator-elect Jeff Merkley was in a forgiving mood?

From The Huffington Post:

"He did speak at the meeting," said Julie Edwards, Merkley's communications director. "He is someone who cheered for Joe Lieberman in 2000 and Lieberman's words and actions this year were profoundly hurtful to him... The committee chairmanship is a privilege and not a entitlement and Senator-elect Merkley believes that being a member of the leadership comes with certain responsibilities. But at this point he does look forward to putting this behind us."

The one Senator who we know voted to punish Lieberman for his full-throated support of John McCain was Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. That's because he said so afterwards. Who were the other 12?

Here are a couple of points to ponder:

It was the next President who urged his former Senate colleagues not to banish Lieberman. Is this the way they would have handled such a blatant betrayal in Chicago? Doubtful. But Obama's playing softball, not hardball these days.

Can we assume from the lack of consequences for Lieberman that those 43 Democratic Senators never really considered his support of McCain as consequential? No harm, no foul?

Is there an end game here that we can only guess at? I think the next President may want to keep his friends close....but his enemies closer.

What does Lieberman now owe the next President? His gratitude to Obama for calling off the dogs could become obvious soon. And if Obama had not publicly interceded, if he had left Lieberman "twisting in the wind", how might that have hurt the delicate balance in the Senate?

Does the new Administration and the Democratic caucus need Lieberman more than he needs them?

Would John McCain have been this magnanimous in victory had there been a Republican Senator (Chuck Hagel, let's say) who had spoken at the Democratic convention and called him erratic and unfit to serve?

I suspect Lieberman's apostasy will soon be forgotten. Sure, Senator-elect Merkley was "hurt" by what Lieberman did. He'll get over it. And as the war winds down most people will forget why Lieberman bolted.

And by this time next year President Obama will look pretty good for having looked the other way.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I think that Joe Lieberman should be sent back to Connecticut in 2012 by huge margins -- there should be a dubious Hall of Fame for Bad Democrats, upon which the names of Joe and Zell Miller are etched it stone. And I don't think that any other Democrat should sit next to him at the lunch table. So there.

    That said, I agree with what Howard Dean said today --

    "You know, the desire of revenge is great, of course. But the truth is public policy doesn't run on revenge very well. And when you see the trouble this country has gotten into in terms of foreign policy, where Bush basically ran a foreign policy based on petulance because he was mad at, for example, Mexico, for abstaining on the Security Council when the Iraq War came up, if you have to actually run the country, it is best not to do it based on feeling of anger towards your enemies."

  • (Show?)

    The one Senator who we know voted to punish Lieberman for his full-throated support of John McCain was Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

    Actually, no. Bernie Sanders is allowed in the room - but since he's not a Democrat, he isn't allowed to vote.

    I also posted a full rundown of the Merkley coverage. I think it's clear how he voted, even though he (like the rest of the caucus) won't say.

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)
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    Not Bernie, but the OTHER Vermont Senator, Pat Leahy, had some pretty biting things to say about Traitor Joe, and it's a safe bet that Leahy, at least, voted to take the gavel away.

  • (Show?)

    Well, I just found the HuffPo post you referenced (next time, include a link!) And I think I stand corrected about Bernie's vote. I've seen that factoid (Bernie doesn't vote) printed all over the place - but if he says he voted, I believe him.

  • (Show?)

    I would have stipped him of the chair position. And it wouldn't have been revenge over a vote - it would have been because of his hugs divergence from the main principles and positions the Democrats stand for and believe in.

    I don't believe someone who so ardently campaigned against Democrats and Democratic ideals should be rewarded with a chair position.

    What would happen if he was removed from his position? Would he suddenly stop voting with us and vote with the Republicans? He'd just be buying a one-way ticket back home with that kind of action, for sure. People in his state may be willing to vote for him without a (D) next to his name as long as he still votes with the Democrats. I doubt they'd do the same if he switched. In my home district it only took switching positions on one key issue (gun control) to send home a 42-year member of Congress in a Democratic district.

  • (Show?)

    Obama isn't playing softball. He's playing smartball.

    Democrats still have a chance to reach 60--IF Lieberman still caucuses with the Democrats.

    It's also possible Obama's public statement on Lieberman was part of the deal that set-up the meeting with McCain yesterday, which may help provide back-up for Obama in case the Democrats don't get 60 votes or otherwise need some Republican votes to offset Democratic defections on some critical issues.

    So far, Obama and his transition team seem much smarter and better organized than the last two Democratic Administrations (Carter and Clinton). Rather than second guess, I'd suggest folks take notes.

  • DanOregon (unverified)
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    Keep your friends close - your enemies closer. Really, this was a no brainer. Why give the GOP a vote when you're already close to 60. Lieberman's already lost more than a committee chairmanship, he's lost the respect of most of his colleagues and a good chunk of the party faithful. He's going to be wearing that Scarlett Letter until he leaves the Senate. Consider Joe, one more member of the I owe Obama big time caucus joining Merkely, the Udalls, Hagan, and Shaheen.

  • Maureen King (unverified)
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    In a filibuster situation, it's not 60 seats but 60 votes that counts. Can the Ds depend on Traitor Joe to vote with them? Even after they kissed his pasty white behind today?

    I think it would have been more productive to court the votes of the remaining moderate Republicans (it would only take one, remember), strip Joe of his chairmanship, and ignore him while he stamped his foot and threw a tantrum.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    I love it...now the teeth knocking begins.

    All of you folks that thing Joe should have been voted out can shove it. I mean that honestly. You can't have supported Obama and not support his support of Lieberman maintaining his chairmanship.

    It's a new day in Washington. If you want to play partisan politics and cry about this you can go play with Sarah Palin up in Alaska for the next 4 years because I don't think you have a place in the vision Barack Obama has for our country and for America.

    It's what you call magnanimous in victory. Suck it up and shake hands with a Republican. You'll probably find that not being a jerk will get you a lot farther than throwing them as far away as you can think.

    Also, Lieberman votes with us what? 70, 80, 90% of the time? It's better than Mitch McConnell. Worry about it again when Joe is up for reelection.

  • (Show?)

    Jenni and Maureen are the smart cookies here.

    Kari, Sanders has a vote because he's a member of the Democratic caucus for the 111th. Obama and Biden don't have votes because they're not. It was made clear before the meeting that Lieberman and Sanders both had votes. (Lieberman's not a Democratic Senator either, obviously).

    This time next year, Obama may also look like a damn fool when Lieberman does the GOP's bidding and blocks one of Obama's pet initiatives, or begins oversight hearings on OBAMA at his GOP friends' requests. What then?

  • (Show?)

    "Democrats still have a chance to reach 60--IF Lieberman still caucuses with the Democrats."

    Yeah...but what does that have to do with anything? Lieberman was never going to caucus with the GOP; why would he have? There was not a thing in it for him, and McConnell had already told him so. It was an empty threat. He'd go from likely defeated in 2012 to definitely defeated.

  • (Show?)

    "All of you folks that thing Joe should have been voted out can shove it. I mean that honestly. You can't have supported Obama and not support his support of Lieberman maintaining his chairmanship."

    You can't support change and support him keeping the job. And anyway, when did Obama ever say he supported Lieberman maintaining his chairmanship? He certainly never said it publicly. We voted for change, and Lieberman is an obstacle to change, in a powerful position. We now have status quo running the Homeland Security Committee. How is that change?

    "It's what you call magnanimous in victory."

    How many chairs should Reid give the Republicans, then? Half? That'd be magnanimous. What Obama's not doing is magnanimous, it's cocky and foolhardy. Joe will fuck him, and there won't be anything anyone can do about it. The man's an unrepentant liar, and only a battered spouse or a Democrat believes an unrepentant liar.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Torridjoe apparently missed the boat on the message. I'll repeat it for you then sir.

    "There is no red America, there is no blue America, just one America."

    We won. Now we get to move on and erase the hyper partisanship that the Republicans created and you are spewing Torridjoe. I mean it. Stop! You look like a ridiculous petulant baby.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, Sanders has a vote because he's a member of the Democratic caucus for the 111th. Obama and Biden don't have votes because they're not.

    That's basically correct. Interesting how many blogs "reported" that Sanders wouldn't get a vote.

    One correction: Biden would have had a vote, because he hasn't resigned yet. Right now, he could still (technically) decline the vice-presidency in favor of keeping the Senate seat. Unlikely, of course. Which is why he didn't show up for the meeting.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Joe...come on...you really think Lieberman is going to side with Republicans? Really? Dude is already apologizing for things he said on the campaign. He says the tone was, "heated." He's done now and that's obvious. His chance at veep is over. It's how a campaign is run. It's why John Kerry was the first to welcome back McCain in the Senate today. It's politics and campaigns don't mean much once they're over with. Being nice to Joe will get the Dems much farther than throwing him out and looking like the Republicans did for much of the last decade...just an FYI for you.

  • (Show?)

    Seeing as we're talking about the DEMOCRATIC Caucus, partisanship definitely plays a part in this. But to me, it's beyond that. It's about the fact that he's chair of a committee where he OPPOSED many of the things that Democrats and Obama were supporting during this election. He has disagreed with Democrats many times on issues regarding homeland security and the War in Iraq. Why should he be rewarded with the chairmanship of a committee? And that is exactly what being the chair of a committee is - a reward.

    I never said he had to be thrown out of the caucus. I can understand keeping enemies close. But the chairmanship of a committee? A committee that overseas Homeland Security - an area where we'd like to make a lot of changes? I don't think so.

    This is the same type of action that has pissed off average Americans around the country since Democrats took control of Congress. Their first action can't be giving people too much hope about change right now.

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)
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    You can't have supported Obama and not support his support of Lieberman maintaining his chairmanship.

    I fucking well can, too. What, not support the man who accepted aid from Obama in keeping his Senate seat, and who then spoke at the GOP convention, who campaigned openly for the Republican, who called Obama an enemy of Israel, and who may well have cost us Senate seats in blue Minnesota and Maine by carrying water for the Republican incumbents? I can't support Obama and not love that guy too? Watch me.

    It's a new day in Washington. If you want to play partisan politics and cry about this you can go play with Sarah Palin up in Alaska for the next 4 years because I don't think you have a place in the vision Barack Obama has for our country and for America.

    Wow. And just three weeks ago, Obama's election was gonna be a mandate for socialism, the most liberal Senator in Washington...what a long strange trip it's been.

    It's what you call magnanimous in victory. Suck it up and shake hands with a Republican.

    Sorry, you won't fool me with that trick again. I CAN'T shake hands with Republicans any more. The last time I reached across the aisle, they cut my hand off and laughed at my "weakness".

    Bipartisanship == date rape. Remember?

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    "It was the next President who urged his former Senate colleagues not to banish Lieberman. Is this the way they would have handled such a blatant betrayal in Chicago? Doubtful. But Obama's playing softball, not hardball these days."

    I don't think it's "playing softball" so much as being pragmatic. Obama is not a hothead like Bush and McCain; he has a cool, analytical mind and is guided by practicalities rather than personal emotions. I'm more hotheaded and I would have loved to see Lieberman punished for his betrayal of the party, but in the long run I believe we will see that Obama made the right call.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    "I think that Joe Lieberman should be sent back to Connecticut in 2012 by huge margins"

    Oh, there's no question that Lieberman's political career in Connecticut is over. After 2013 he won't be a senator anymore -- unless he moves to a red state. Maybe he can move to Arizona and he and his BFF McCain can be in the Senate together.

  • (Show?)

    Jenni

    If he'd been stripped, Lieberman would have caucused with the GOP.

    What happens when Lieberman blocks a key initiative? He gets removed then.

    The Dems have Lieberman over the barrel right now.

    This is the smart political move. As has already been noted, keep your enemies closer.

  • (Show?)

    (Lieberman's not a Democratic Senator either, obviously).

    I recently read somewhere that Lieberman has never actually changed his "D" affiliation..but I can't remember where I read this...I'll see if I can find it and post it.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    For once the Dems didn't act like Republicans. True Christianity was finally presented here and it is very refreshing and comforting to see and witness. there is hope after all.

    It is great to see that we can "forgive the sinner, but not the sin" and go our merry way without anyone getting uptight and contemptious over it.

  • (Show?)

    Paul G. is exactly right. Others have expressed similar thoughts here but he laid it out the most succinctly.

  • (Show?)

    Secret ballots suck!

    The mere fact that we're not sure how Jeff Merkley voted after REPORTEDLY speaking out against Lieberman makes that real clear. BTW, how do you think Ron Wyden voted? No doubt he was one of the 42 for Joe. The first issue for a Democratic challenger in 2010!

    Jack Roberts suggests, "It's also possible that Obama's public statement on Lieberman was part of the deal that set up the meeting with McCain...."

    That suggests McCain had some leverage with the President-elect. "Call off the dogs on my buddy Joe and we'll have a sit down, Obama." I don't think so. McCain needed that meeting to begin rehabbing his image more than Obama did.

    Finally, Lieberman may keep those chairmanships but Harry Reid still controls what legislation gets sent to those Committees.

  • (Show?)

    The mere fact that we're not sure how Jeff Merkley voted after REPORTEDLY speaking out against Lieberman makes that real clear.

    Just to clarify Bill, are you suggesting that Jeff lied to Charles Pope?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2008/11/merkley_enters_debate_over_the.html

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "are you suggesting that Jeff lied to Charles Pope"

    No, we are sugggesting that Jeff look into anger management classes.

  • (Show?)

    Happy to clarify, Carla.

    ``Sen. Lieberman's choices for this last election cycle were very difficult for me personally. I felt a lot of personal pain,'' Merkley said.

    It's not really clear to me that Jeff Merkley gave that quote to Charles Pope. It could be that's what Merkley said during the closed-door caucus session. If that's the case it's what they call hearsay in court.

    Further down in Pope's story it's clear that Merkley's talking to him.

    I have no doubt Merkley was deeply troubled by Lieberman's actions on behalf of John McCain. I sure would like to know for sure how he voted.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Martin Luther King, Jr. never compromised with Bull Connors or his ilk to settle for a seat in the middle of the bus. He helped make more social and economic progress for Blacks and people in the lower economic strata than Obama and his compromising Democrats ever will. Change? What change? And what does this say about the Democratic Party? The ethically bankrupt rule?

    But I'm going to take a leaf from the Democrats' play book. There is a man charged with murder in my area. I'm going to write the DA to look forward and forget about the past. Let the man go and not waste money on a trial while the economy is down.

  • (Show?)

    Garrett, the whole "let's hold hands and sing kumbaya" schtick is cute, but you're looking at this the wrong way. Lieberman clearly should have lost his chair, not because of retribution, but in the interest of good governance.

    We just won this election in a landslide. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Republican policies at all levels of government. And yet, the Senate Dems are going to allow a Senator who is at odds with the strong majority of Americans over the Iraq War to chair the Homeland Security Committee. How does that make any sense? And even worse, he has proved himself to be completely incompetent and ineffective in that position over the past 2 years.

    The whole gracious winner thing is nice and all, but let's actually think this through. Harry Reid is not going to give committee chairmanships to Republicans. That's not how the Senate works, chairs are members of the majority party. On the issue of national security, Lieberman might as well be a Republican. No one is saying that we should be gracious winners and let Thad Cochran chair the Appropriations Committee. That would really be a new day in Washington. So why should we allow an Independent who is functionally a Republican chair the Homeland Security Committee? It's logically inconsistent.

    Democrats should be focusing on good governance, not PR stunts that make us look all-forgiving. Good government is responsive to the public. So when voters resoundingly reject the very same policies that a Senator like Lieberman advocates, he shouldn't be rewarded with a position of power. Instead, a Senator whose views are supported by the American public should have that responsibility.

    And all of you who prattle on about pragmatism! When you publicly reject your own party, there have to be consequences. Lieberman didn't just vote the wrong way on the Senate floor. He categorically rejected our Presidential nominee, he said that Obama doesn't put the country first, he brought up Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, he said that Obama was abandoning the troops by not voting for an Iraq funding bill without a timeline. Despite all of this, he was rewarded with a chairmanship! What kind of message does that send to other Senators? What happens when an important albeit controversial vote goes to the floor and Dick Durbin is trying to round up votes? What leverage does he have to help us pass universal healthcare when you can reject your party in a much more public fashion and not be punished? There have to be consequences for a Senator's actions.

    So don't give me this whole bipartisan, gracious winner, one America, new day bulls***. This was Senate Dems putting PR gimmicks ahead of good governance. It was Senators putting personal friendships ahead of what they say they believe to be the best policies to move this country forward. This was the exact same reasoning that led the House and Senate leadership to cave on FISA and Iraq. This was not change, it was just more of the same.

  • (Show?)

    It's not really clear to me that Jeff Merkley gave that quote to Charles Pope. It could be that's what Merkley said during the closed-door caucus session. If that's the case it's what they call hearsay in court.

    Okay, fair enough. So what leads you then to believe that Pope got this quote (whether it be directly from Jeff or second-hand from the meeting), is wrong?

    And why not give Jeff the credit he's due: a freshman senator, new to the caucus--stands up and speaks out against the policy of the President-elect and the leadership.

  • (Show?)

    That suggests McCain had some leverage with the President-elect. "Call off the dogs on my buddy Joe and we'll have a sit down, Obama." I don't think so. McCain needed that meeting to begin rehabbing his image more than Obama did.

    And what exactly, pray tell, is McCain going to do with his "rehabbed" image? He's 72 years old and has no real political future other than continuing to serve as a U.S. Senator from Arizona--if he even wants to do that. I doubt his meeting with Obama was necessary to secure his reelection.

    Most things in politics don't operate by explicit quid pro quos in any event. I don't know who paul g. is who posted above, but he clearly has a much better understanding of how things work in the political arena--I'm almost tempted to say "in the adult world"--than most of the people who have posted on this.

  • (Show?)

    And all of you who prattle on about pragmatism! When you publicly reject your own party, there have to be consequences. Lieberman didn't just vote the wrong way on the Senate floor. He categorically rejected our Presidential nominee, he said that Obama doesn't put the country first, he brought up Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, he said that Obama was abandoning the troops by not voting for an Iraq funding bill without a timeline. Despite all of this, he was rewarded with a chairmanship!

    Nick, seems to me that your real beef here is with Obama. No, Dem Senators don't have to do anything Obama says or honor his wishes on anything - even though Obama, in fact, is not yet part of the Executive branch when constitutional issues clearly would come into play. But do you really believe that America will be better off with an adversarial relationship between Obama and Senate Dems? I mean, doesn't Obama have more right than anyone on the planet to throw stones at Lieberman for what was said during the race?

  • Sacha (unverified)
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    "And why not give Jeff the credit he's due: a freshman senator, new to the caucus--stands up and speaks out against the policy of the President-elect and the leadership."

    Some of us EXPECT are representatives to speak their mind no matter how many powerful people are lined up against them.

    That's their job. I don't high-five the dude at McDonalds when he doesn't burn the fries, either.

    Sheesh! Set your standard for heroism a little higher, eh.

  • (Show?)

    What Obama said is that he wanted Lieberman to stay in the caucus, he didn't say he wanted Lieberman to keep the chairmanship of Homeland Security. I don't claim to know what went on behind the scenes, but that's a purposefully vague statement: it absolves Obama of responsibility for the caucus' decision without actually endorsing letting Lieberman keep the gavel. Maybe that's in fact what he wanted, but it's not what he said publicly.

    In any case, why not strip his Homeland Security Chairmanship and let him keep the Environment and Public Works gavel? Or let him chair another subcommittee on a topic he agrees with us on? That would be a perfectly reasonable course of action, rather than giving him a position of power over an issue he disagrees with Democrats and most Americans on. That would in no way be vindictive, it would actually support Obama's agenda, and it would satisfy his statement unless Lieberman was a baby and left the caucus, in which case nobody would blame Obama.

    If Obama did in fact want Lieberman to keep the chairmanship, then yes, I suppose I disagree with him more than the Senate Dems. But really this is just another instance of the Congressional Democratic Leadership caving in and placing their image ahead of what's best for the country. At least I know to start saving up to donate to Reid's primary opponent in 2010.

  • (Show?)

    It's all about legacy, Jack. I think that matters to John McCain. Look at how he handled his pandering on the Confederate flag in South Carolina in 2000.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/17/081117fa_fact_grann

    Excellent article, by the way.

    And Carla, granted, Jeff Merkley could have said nothing during that closed-door session of the Democratic Caucus. I suppose speaking out with Senators Leahy and Sanders took some courage for the rookie from Oregon. So credit where credit is due. And at least he gave his base back here something.

  • (Show?)

    Wow, Garrett--I'm a ridiculous petulant baby? Does that go for Senators Leahy and Sanders, and the other 10 who apparently voted in your view out of "hyperpartisanship" rather than simple accountability and fairness? What about Kos? Is he a baby? How about Glenn Greenwald--petulant? Or Jane Hamsher--ridiculous? You calling Jenni Simonis a baby?

    And it's touching that based on some weak mea culpas, now all of a sudden we can trust Joe Lieberman. Which raises the question: for God's sake, why? He said if he lost the CT primary, he would accept it. He lied. He said he needed to be re-elected to help elect a Democrat in 2008. He lied. He said he would support McCain, but wouldn't attack Obama. He lied. He said that whether Obama was a Marxist was a "good question," which is either a lie or a sign of extreme ignorance on Lieberman's part, neither of which is particularly palatable. He said on record that it would be "dangerous" for Dems to get 60 votes. I assume you believe he's lying there, otherwise your position is highly untenable. So why would we expect him to not side with Republicans on his key issues, again?

    It's certainly not on the basis of any consequence he might suffer. He's already done about the worst things you can do to stab your party in the back, and got off clean. Being nice to Joe will achieve the same result being nice to him (and Republicans) has achieved the last two plus years--jack shit. Status quo. No change. Is that what you voted for?

    Kari, interesting technical point about Biden. I agree both with the possibility and the distant likelihood.

    Paul, I'm really shocked to see you say something this naive: "If he'd been stripped, Lieberman would have caucused with the GOP. What happens when Lieberman blocks a key initiative? He gets removed then. " Why on earth would he have caucused with the GOP? What would it have gotten him? He'd have lost his committee chairs and seniority, and been part of the impotent minority. And of course he would have put a .44 bullet into his re-election chances, moving them from slim to officially none. When Lieberman blocks a key initiative, how will that be worse than what he's done for all of 2008? And if they didn't punish him now, what's the rationale for punishing him then? (And I believe it takes a 2/3 vote to reorganize. You think the Dem caucus would suddenly grow an even bigger pair than the set they failed to display yesterday?)

    Carla, Joe is a registered Democrat in CT, but he is not a Democratic Senator. He's an independent who caucuses with the Dems. And on this: "And why not give Jeff the credit he's due: a freshman senator, new to the caucus--stands up and speaks out against the policy of the President-elect and the leadership." That's worth less than a bucket of warm spit if he went on to vote to retain Lieberman, as seems most likely.

    Jack, McCain's meeting wasn't a question of necessity but sufficiency. He's already losing in a poll to Janet Napolitano for his seat.

    Nick Wirth gives some very solid--albeit ridiculous and petulant--analysis. While the likes of Kevin still want to frame it as a question of retribution, the proper issue was of accountability and good governance, neither of which is served by yesterday's vote.

  • (Show?)

    I don't claim to know what went on behinds the scenes either. But the entire tenor of Obama's public comments viz Lieberman have been of a graceous and a forgiving nature - showing him once again to be by far the better man of the two (IMHO).

    So I'll ask again who other than Obama has a greater right to throw stones at Lieberman for what he said and did during the election?

    Don't get me wrong, I would have preferred to see Lieberman stripped of the chairmanship. But the reality is that he can be stripped of it at any time and both he and the Dem caucus know it.

    And... having had the hand of forgiveness extended to him in such a public manner, how big of an ungrateful ass-wipe would Lieberman look like to the entire country if he were to glibly ignore the wishes of President Obama and the Dem caucus on matters before his committee?

    What paul g. said rings absolutely true to me. This is NOT the capitulation that some would like us to believe it is. The entire dynamics of the situation are fundamentally different.

    Lieberman has effectively been cuckolded.

  • Sacha (unverified)
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    Let's for a second forget the "high-school-student-government-nerds" political world of retribution, anger and hurt feelings and look at this a little more professionally.

    Will Joe Lieberman's stated beliefs and agenda with regard to Homeland security issues, etc., help or hinder the Democratic majority's effort to move forward its agenda?

    It's not about payback, it's about moving forward. Elections have consequences. The Democratic majority won the right to put people in those positions who will help move the agenda forward. If Joe Lieberman is not one of those people, then he should go. Otherwise, let him stay. That's what the debate should be about. It's that simple.

    That Merkley felt he needed to inject his "hurt feelings" into the discussion is "disappointing" and unfortunately foreboding about what kind of Senator we may have hired.

    "I suppose speaking out with Senators Leahy and Sanders took some courage for the rookie from Oregon."

    Again, hyper-insider discussions about hurt feelings did not require courage and were counter-productive to the discussion. This episode is not indicative of any substantive change from the Beltway status quo.

    A sign of REAL change that would have required REAL courage would have been for Merkley to stand up and say, "First of all, I don't hide my votes from my constituents. The rest of you may be comfortable with that, but I think it's a violation of the trust placed in me by the people I work for -- my fellow Oregonians who "hired" me with their votes. It's wrong, and I will not participate in the secrecy with regard to my vote. I ran on a slogan of change, and one of the first changes I can make is by not slinking into a backroom to make decisions."

    This episode is truly disappointing.

  • (Show?)

    Some of us EXPECT are representatives to speak their mind no matter how many powerful people are lined up against them.

    That's their job. I don't high-five the dude at McDonalds when he doesn't burn the fries, either.

    So the only time they're going to hear from you is when you're pissed off...not when they actually DO A GOOD JOB??

    God, no wonder a lot of good people won't run for office.

    It takes a helluva lot more guts to stand up in a new place and speak your mind--against the majority. The idea that we should sit here and not laud that..is frankly sad and pathetic.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    So don't give me this whole bipartisan, gracious winner, one America, new day bulls***.

    Funny...I thought that's what Obama's whole campaign was about.

    Please...if you really want go ahead and urge the Dems to govern like the Republicans did while they were in power. We'll probably have between 8-12 years in power and then our Dems will get thrown out just like the Republicans did.

    At this point, if we're pragmatic about it, we'll be the majority for a generation. I'd rather have that and be able to move the country forward slowly and surely rather than forcing everything all at once and having to suffer the backlash.

    The country is moving in our direction. We just need to make sure we can keep continuing to steer the conversation. Giving 47% of the country the finger and saying eat my ass for the last 8 years is exactly what these Republicans would do and it's exactly what America rejected in 2006 and 2008.

  • sacha (unverified)
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    "It takes a helluva lot more guts to stand up in a new place and speak your mind--against the majority. The idea that we should sit here and not laud that..is frankly sad and pathetic."

    Let's see: It takes real guts for a United States Senator to speak his mind. We shouldn't really expect them to speak their minds. So when they actually do, it's worthy of praise.

    I call that the soft bigotry of low expectations. Set your standards for "courage" a little higher aned you might actually see some one day.

    It's disappointing that Merkley's "mind" contained emotional distractions about hurt feelings and anger rather than a substantive debate about whether Lieberman is the right person in that position to move the agenda forward.

    It's also disappointing that Merkley and Wyden "respect" their Beltway buddies' need to conduct business behind closed doors more than they respect transparency for the Oregonians who hired them.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    So don't give me this whole bipartisan, gracious winner, one America, new day bulls***.

    Funny...I thought that's what Obama's whole campaign was about.

    Most people thought Obama's campaign was about change. Where's the change?

    Obama is surrounded by Clintonistas. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank rigged their committees on one of the most important issues of this century - the bailout - so that the only witnesses would be Bush's agents - no outside or contrarian opinions from the likes of Joseph Stiglitz, and Obama goes along with it. Except for his mother, his wife and ethically bankrupt colleagues anyone with a basic understanding of ethics must have loads of contempt for LIEberman and Obama wants to keep him in the Democratic caucus. That's change? That's the same-old-same-o that got Congress a lower approval rating than Bush.

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    Let's see: It takes real guts for a United States Senator to speak his mind. We shouldn't really expect them to speak their minds. So when they actually do, it's worthy of praise.

    As a freshman standing up against the leadership and the majority? Absolutely.

    I call that the soft bigotry of low expectations. Set your standards for "courage" a little higher aned you might actually see some one day.

    Call it whatever gets you through the day. But then you continue to make my point that there's a reason more good people don't run for office. If you're not even willing to laud people WHEN THEY DO THE RIGHT THING...then that's pathetic.

    It's disappointing that Merkley's "mind" contained emotional distractions about hurt feelings and anger rather than a substantive debate about whether Lieberman is the right person in that position to move the agenda forward.

    Why? Given that Merkley was probably fairly down on the list of speakers (he's not even sworn in yet), the odds that those points had already been made multiple times is highly likely.

    It's also disappointing that Merkley and Wyden "respect" their Beltway buddies' need to conduct business behind closed doors more than they respect transparency for the Oregonians who hired them.

    So your contention is that every caucus meeting should be open..? Every strategy session should have a policy that allows public exposure?

    Again, no wonder more good people don't run for office. This is such thin gruel..even with the obvious ardor with which its typed.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Most people thought Obama's campaign was about change. Where's the change?

    Obama is surrounded by Clintonistas.

    Oh the shock! A Democrat hiring people with experience in a very successful White House. The horror!

    Apparently nothing is good enough for some people.

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    "Don't get me wrong, I would have preferred to see Lieberman stripped of the chairmanship. But the reality is that he can be stripped of it at any time and both he and the Dem caucus know it."

    False. It would take another reorganization, subject to filibuster.

    "how big of an ungrateful ass-wipe would Lieberman look like to the entire country if he were to glibly ignore the wishes of President Obama and the Dem caucus on matters before his committee?"

    About as big as he looked when he lied about not running as an independent, or not attacking Obama? And what were the consequences of that, exactly? Be specific, Kevin: what has changed that suddenly keeps Lieberman in line?

    "Giving 47% of the country the finger and saying eat my ass for the last 8 years"

    Who has said that, and what does it have to do with this conversation? Using the normal rules to organize committees is giving the country the finger? Who told you 47% of America supports Joe Lieberman as anything other than a useful dupe? "Being pragmatic" means moving forward and doing what was charged of them--changing policy. Homeland Security policy does not stand to change. Isn't that giving 53% of the country the finger?

    "As a freshman standing up against the leadership and the majority? Absolutely."

    Doing theater doesn't involve any courage beyond overcoming stage fright. What would have taken courage is voting against Lieberman. Merkley apparently voted FOR Lieberman. Not courageous.

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    One other thing: I assume that Garrett and others who are pleased with Obama's approach and directive, are pissed at Merkley if they think he voted to strip him, right? The correct vote by that account would be to follow Obama's wishes, wouldn't it?

    So is Jeff Merkley threatening our new majority by voting no, as Kari and Carla and Kevin and others are trying to assert?, Garrett?

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    So is Jeff Merkley threatening our new majority by voting no, as Kari and Carla and Kevin and others are trying to assert?, Garrett?

    So for TJ, Merkley is damned if he did..and damned if he didn't.

    Ta-da!

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    "So for TJ, Merkley is damned if he did..and damned if he didn't."

    Big logic error for you there, since he quite clearly was not damned by me, but enthusiastically praised, when it was reported he voted against Joe: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2008/11/18/142029/72/369#c369

    It's only if he didn't, that he's damned by me. Nice try though. (I take that back; it was lame, and more of the continual dodging of the issues to talk about me instead).

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Oh the shock! A Democrat hiring people with experience in a very successful White House. The horror!

    Apparently nothing is good enough for some people.

    Garrett: Wise up and get real. For openers these are key players in the Obama machine: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Madeline Albright. The first two were major players in setting the stage for the current financial crisis, and Albright is the wretch who said on "60 Minutes" of an estimated half million Iraqi children who died because of sanctions, "We (Clinton and his administration) thought the price was worth it."

    Apparently no matter how atrocious and immoral some people are they good enough for some Democrats.

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    TJ: There IS no talking with you about the issue. You've foregone conclusioned the thing to death and no amount of facts or evidence will dissuade you.

    Your apparent befuddlement (or whatever the appropriate label is) at the predicament is only held only by you..with perhaps a few fries on the side.

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    Funny...I thought that's what Obama's whole campaign was about.

    At this point, if we're pragmatic about it, we'll be the majority for a generation. I'd rather have that and be able to move the country forward slowly and surely rather than forcing everything all at once and having to suffer the backlash.

    That's what I'm talking about, being pragmatic. Why put a Senator who is basically a Republican when it comes to National Security in the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee? They should have reversed their decision and let him keep his gavel in the Environment and Public Works subcommittee, and/or given him a different chairmanship on an issue which he actually is in line with Obama and the majority of Americans. And like I said, what message does this send to other Democratic senators who are considering bucking the party on important legislation?

    I'm not saying that the Senate Dems should make Lieberman a pariah. They shouldn't kick him out of the caucus. Rather, they should exercise their right that they earned over the past 2 elections to appoint Democrats to chair Congressional Committees. And Lieberman is not a Democrat on issues of national security.

    I would hope that Obama's campaign was about making substantive policy changes for the betterment of all Americans. Giving Lieberman the chairmanship of Homeland Security is not conducive to that. And for what it's worth, I wasn't saying that it's bs for Obama to talk about changing the tone of politics, I agree with him on that. Rather, it's bs to use that argument in defense of Lieberman.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Albright is the wretch uhhh you're calling Madeline Albright a wretch? You're forgetting the policy with Saddam was containment. What was their other option? Lift sanctions on him and let him off the hook? The other would be regime change. We all know how that worked out. Good one Bill, I hear Margaret Thatcher hasn't been called a witless shrew in a while.

    Next

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    Garrett, the sanctions policy was obviously failing with mass murderous consequences by 1993 at the latest. It never had Hussein "on the hook" -- just deepened the misery of the Iraqi people.

    Not everyone shares your assessment of the Clinton presidency. A lot of us see it as ratifying Reaganism and making a lot of bad laws, during a time of economic prosperity.

    I think Nick Wirth has is right on Lieberman. It is disappointing but not really a surprise -- Obama took advantage of anti-war sentiment but never really was an anti-war candidate, and apparently has decided against trying to make any real effort to break the stasis in Israel/Palestine.

    A question is the extent to which having Lieberman in the Homeland Security chairmanship will have the effect of insulating both Obama and the Congressional leadership from pressure from the left internationally, and if so, whether that was also the intent. It kinda looks that way to me.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Well said, Chris.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Albright is the wretch uhhh you're calling Madeline Albright a wretch? You're forgetting the policy with Saddam was containment. What was their other option? Lift sanctions on him and let him off the hook?

    Garrett: I get the impression from your comments that you have a cavalier, Kristol-like approach to consigning hundreds of thousands of people to a miserable death. Kind of like Ms. Albright.

    As for containing Saddam Hussein his military was totally crushed after the first gulf war so what was the big deal? Let's say he acquired an atom bomb. What would he have done with it? The man may have been one of the most evil of people during the 20th Century, but he wasn't an idiot. He knew what would have happened if he attacked another country. He wasn't like the average American who has a problem remembering some political event that happened more than a couple of weeks ago. The ending of the first gulf war was indelible in his mind, and you could bet he wasn't about to risk a repeat. And, as those of us who have been paying attention know, this war on Iraq was based on lies and totally unnecessary.

    How many deaths would cause you some concern? Apparently, half a million innocent Iraqi children didn't impress you. Or are you some form of racist hostile to Arabs and Muslims?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    How many deaths would cause you some concern? Apparently, half a million innocent Iraqi children didn't impress you. Or are you some form of racist hostile to Arabs and Muslims?

    Good one Bill...you really look like a real person we should listen to by calling me a racist. You don't know anything about me Bill. You mostly just make yourself look like a ridiculous joke by calling me a racist.

    Look...the people who died had the unfortunate problem of living in Iraq that was under sanctions from EVERYONE. A lot of kids died. That is awful. It makes me feel terrible inside and I hate it. Lots of kids died in WWII too. Lots of them were the Nazi's faults and lots of it was the Allies faults.

    We're talking about cutting off the leader of the country. Unfortunately those kids were born in Iraq. Where their leader tried to spend oil for food on other things. It will always be horrible they died...it sucks...how are you going to fix that Bill...freaking world peace? Good one...heard it before. Do you want everyone to fix everything in a big hippie drum circle at the Country Fair? Quit bitching about it and come up with a solution that is realistic. That's why you sicken me. You tell me I'm a racist and I'm pro killing innocent children because I don't blame Madeline Albright for the death of an estimated 500K deaths in Iraq. Come up with a solution buddy...one that isn't reeking of patchouli.

    What were they supposed to do in the 90s Bill? How is Barack supposed to change it?

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    TJ writes: One other thing: I assume that Garrett and others who are pleased with Obama's approach and directive, are pissed at Merkley if they think he voted to strip him, right? The correct vote by that account would be to follow Obama's wishes, wouldn't it?

    So is Jeff Merkley threatening our new majority by voting no, as Kari and Carla and Kevin and others are trying to assert?, Garrett?

    What an odd claim, TJ. No, I don't demand lockstep voting from my Senator. If it turned out that Jeff's vote was the key vote, then I might be unhappy.

    But it wasn't the key vote. Jeff was able to vote a) his conscience and b) his constituency. Jeff is a newly elected Senator from a very liberal state. The party and the president didn't need his vote.

    This may seem ruthlessly pragmatic for you, but I'm interested in changing policy in Washington, not settling old political scores.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I get the impression from your comments that you have a cavalier, Kristol-like approach to consigning hundreds of thousands of people to a miserable death. Kind of like Ms. Albright. ... Or are you some form of racist hostile to Arabs and Muslims?

    Good one Bill...you really look like a real person we should listen to by calling me a racist.

    Garrett: I could have bet a bundle you would come back with that response. If you hadn't been embarrassed by my questions about you, you would have recognized I was trying to make an assessment of you without coming to a conclusion. Asking if you are a racist is entirely different from calling you one? But I'll tell you what I think you probably are. You are probably similar to what I was several years ago having loyalty to a group that didn't deserve my loyalty, and for that I was partly to blame in not doing my homework.

    Let me do for you the favor Lewis Lapham did for me in one of his Notebook essays in Harper's by recommending reading a Walter Karp retrospective. You might also read Hans Christian Andersen's tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. It has a good moral that all Americans should consider. Then there is Orwell's "Animal Farm"

    It will always be horrible they died...it sucks...how are you going to fix that Bill...freaking world peace? Good one...heard it before. Do you want everyone to fix everything in a big hippie drum circle at the Country Fair? Quit bitching about it and come up with a solution that is realistic.

    This comments suggests you are prepared to accept the unacceptable. World peace is highly unlikely in our time, but the answer is not in some formula that creates a paradise. It is in a constant campaign of rejecting the unacceptable because evil is a constant in the human condition because otherwise good people are prepared to accept it and do nothing to oppose it. You can bet there were plenty of people telling Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and others like them they were unrealistic only to have it proved to them their negativity was wrong. The Founding Fathers of this nation had many opponents advocating remaining a colony of Britain. You know what happened there.

    You might also consider the alcoholics prayer without jumping to the conclusion I'm accusing you of alcoholism: Grant me the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I can't change - and the wisdom to know the difference. A piece of wisdom applicable to those of us who are not alcoholics as much as those who are afflicted.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Nick Wirth asked, "Why put a Senator who is basically a Republican when it comes to National Security in the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee?"

    Because the DP is basically the left wing of the single corporate/empire party? The DP has been essentially the junior partner of the RP for a long time.

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    Because the DP is basically the left wing of the single corporate/empire party? The DP has been essentially the junior partner of the RP for a long time.

    After watching the last eight years of Republican rule in the White House and the GOP rule of the legislature (and in much of the SCOTUS apparachick as well), I don't know how you post that with a straight face.

    The notion that the Dems are just GOP-lite has been so thoroughly debunked by the policies of the Bush Administration and the Newt-Delay-neocon Fantasy Island that its epic in scale.

    The Dems problem has been that they traditionally don't know how to stand up to it or push back against it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Because the DP is basically the left wing of the single corporate/empire party? The DP has been essentially the junior partner of the RP for a long time.

    Walter Karp said something similar decades ago and nothing has changed.

    The Dems problem has been that they traditionally don't know how to stand up to it or push back against it.

    The Dems didn't stand up because they are for the most part in agreement with their rivals for corporate baksheesh. In going along with the accusations of being spineless, the Democrats can mask their true position of being in league with their corporate donors.

    A prime example of corporate/Democratic party/Republican party collusion occurred when Bush sent his Wall Street agents to Congress to get some bailout money. Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and their Democratic and Republican accomplices rigged their committee hearings so that the only witnesses would be Paulson, Bernanke and Cox working on behalf of Wall Street. Anyone likely to have a contrary opinion was excluded.

    (and in much of the SCOTUS apparachick as well)

    Did you mean aparatchik? For someone with pretensions of being a writer, Carla, you do have a tendency to be careless with words.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Carla said, "The Dems problem has been that they traditionally don't know how to stand up to it or push back against it."

    You poor dears. If only you had some spine, you would always do the right thing, or so the cliche goes. Well, I don't buy it.

    You Dems need to familiarize yourselves with the massive literature that supports the contention that the DP and the RP have core ideological agreements about international hegemony and corporatism. (That doesn't mean that there are "no differences" between the parties, and NO ONE is saying that.)

    It's obvious that Dem "leadership" are far more willing to "reach across the aisle" to right-wingers than they are to embrace anyone to their left (as Bill B. pointed out with his bailout lesson), so your failure to see it must be an ideological blinder, like that of those adults who couldn't see that the emperor was wearing no clothes. Such ideological discipline is remarkable.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    (That doesn't mean that there are "no differences" between the parties, and NO ONE is saying that.)

    The corporate plutocracy is like the federal government which has certain powers but grants other power outside its interests to the states. The corporatocracy has the party in power (or both parties in the spirit of bi-partisanship) do its bidding and lets the parties do as they wish with matters that don't concern the corporations. That's where the differences come into play. The GOP panders to the neocons and the religious right while the Democrats throw a few crumbs to the people to keep them believing they are the party of the people.

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    You poor dears. If only you had some spine, you would always do the right thing, or so the cliche goes. Well, I don't buy it.

    Sometimes its about spine. Sometimes its about political savvy. Sometimes its about a fundamental inability to craft an appropriate elevator speech or bumpersticker.

    Whether you "buy it" or not, that's generally the case, your jaded and (IMO) shallow view notwithstanding.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Sometimes its about spine. Sometimes its about political savvy.

    Does that explain how Congress managed to get a lower approval rating than Bush? Quite an achievement.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Gee Bill, could it have anything to do with a stalled Senate? You know, not passing much of anything? And why would that be? The Republicans made enough public statements about their dedication that the Democrats wouldn't be passing anything...

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Gee Bill, could it have anything to do with a stalled Senate? You know, not passing much of anything?

    Chuck: There are, no doubt, many factors and the one you suggested can be included, but hypocrisy on the part of politicians probably was more obvious and more persuasive to most people forming opinions. Fortunately, I won't need to give you an example because I wouldn't know where to begin.

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    Chuck: There are, no doubt, many factors and the one you suggested can be included, but hypocrisy on the part of politicians probably was more obvious and more persuasive to most people forming opinions.

    What "hypocrisy" specifically, do you refer?

    The Republicans in the 110th U.S. Senate filibustered more times than any in the history of the body. And you point the finger at Democrats..and sit in wonder at the low public opinion of the legislature.

    While certainly Democrats are not free from blame--this hardly buffets your claims that the two parties are virtually the same. Coupled with the enormous pile of evidence to the contrary, your argument has now unraveled, Bill.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    What "hypocrisy" specifically, do you refer?

    That's a pathetic question, Carla. The examples are more than abundant.

    ... this hardly buffets your claims ...

    What do you mean by "buffets"? It looks like you might have mean "supports" but I can't see how "buffets" makes any sense, which figures. Be careful about claiming a typo. I don't think "buffers" would work either unless you stretch the meaning Webster's gives to it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    ... this hardly buffets your claims ...

    Or, did you mean "buttresses"?

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Carla: Your strawman arguments seem foolish and devoid of sophistication, even to a person as jaded and shallow as me. Try to read this again, or find someone to explain it to you:

    "You Dems need to familiarize yourselves with the massive literature that supports the contention that the DP and the RP have core ideological agreements about international hegemony and corporatism."

    "Remember that the political spectrum in the United States is quite narrow. The U.S. is a business-run society, somewhat more than Europe. Basically, it is a one-party state, with a business party that has two factions, Democrats and Republicans. The factions are somewhat different, and sometimes the differences are significant. But the spectrum is quite narrow." (Noam Chomsky, The Financial Crisis of 2008)

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    That's a pathetic question, Carla. The examples are more than abundant.

    Then you should have no problem offering citations. Please do.

    And by buffet, I mean to force (with difficulty) your claim or point. The most common usage of "buffet" in that context is to talk about a ship buffeting against the wind. I'm extending the context for my own euphemistic purposes.

    Harry: Citing Chomsky to me without bothering to actually rebut my points is a demonstration to me that you consider your arguments as weak as I do.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    this hardly buffets your claims that the two parties are virtually the same.

    and

    And by buffet, I mean to force (with difficulty) your claim or point

    Why would I want to "force (with difficulty)" my own claim? And, in which direction would I force it?

    It appears, Carla, you are digging yourself into a deeper hole because you can't admit you made the wrong choice of a word. Try it sometimes, Carla. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it isn't the end of the world.

    To become a good writer one has to learn. Unfortunately, the learning process often means going through the embarrassment of admitting, at least to oneself, to having made errors.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Bill, you are at great pains to BUFFET your views. I find amusing parallels in your choice of entertainment tonight, namely, baiting some individual for masturbatory pleasure. Just as I am now engaging. Let me provide you a parallel line here...

    You are raretly to ever admit poor concept choice.

    To become a good thinker one has to learn. Unfortunately, the thinking process as it regards personal insight, regards the requisite that one must relinquish denial, and the ability to assess oneself accurately.

    You, my friend, show precious little of either of these baseline attributes for becoming a good thinker.

    Cheerfully chumming the waters,

    RW

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    t appears, Carla, you are digging yourself into a deeper hole because you can't admit you made the wrong choice of a word. Try it sometimes, Carla. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it isn't the end of the world.

    Okay Bill. If that's what gets you through the day, rather than actually discussing and dissecting the topical points, do what you must. I've used the same label previously to convey the same sort of meaning, so it is what it is.

    Now let's get back to the meat of this--please provide citations to back up your assertion that the Democratic Party and the GOP are virtually identical. Please keep them to the last eight years as it is more timely and certainly most topical.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Carla: it can be worrisome that even as a new team is assembled, the same old ship of state is sailing under that figurehead. I mean: the Fed is run by whomever the Fed is. And NSA continues to operate without being much touched by any administration, unless you count the fact that the last one smeared more darkness onto it. Abominable. But they were such blunderers we need to thank them: rendition, not a new tactic, was heaved up into our sight. We should thank that horrible man Bush for what he has allowed us to finally see and face - such darkness.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Now let's get back to the meat of this--please provide citations to back up your assertion that the Democratic Party and the GOP are virtually identical. Please keep them to the last eight years as it is more timely and certainly most topical.

    Examples have been provided on a number of occasions on other threads, and I have neither the interest nor the time for repeating them or digging them up for you.

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    Hey...that's your call. But clearly you've made assertions in this thread--and you're also very clearly unwilling to back them up with evidence..in this thread.

    This further demonstrates the weakness of your arguments, frankly.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Now let's get back to the meat of this--please provide citations to back up your assertion that the Democratic Party and the GOP are virtually identical. Please keep them to the last eight years as it is more timely and certainly most topical.

    Oh, who knows, but the point is that it only feels like they've been different to Dem aparachiks!

    You can tell Dean from Shrub, right? The parties haven't had that different feel. Obama is getting that different feel, with a few "pointy headed intellectuals" in his appointments!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Hey...that's your call. But clearly you've made assertions in this thread--and you're also very clearly unwilling to back them up with evidence..in this thread.

    This further demonstrates the weakness of your arguments, frankly.

    OK, Carla, on the similarities shared by Democrats and Republicans and hypocrisy:

    In January 2001 all 435 representatives and 100 senators took an oath to uphold the Constitution. In October 2002 approximately three out of four (Democrats and Republicans) reneged on their oaths and gave Bush authority to wage war on Iraq. If the Democrats had voted as a block against this war they would not only have distinguished themselves as different, they might have obviated this disastrous war.

    The Patriot Act: 99 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for the Patriot Act without so much as reading it. Russ Feingold was the exception in the senate. The situation was similar in the House.

    FISA: This was a bi-partisan effort.

    Cheering on the Israeli Defense (?) Forces when it was clear they were committing crimes against humanity in Southern Lebanon with their over-reaction to relatively minor offenses by Hizbollah.

    Supporting the Likud and Kadima parties in their human rights abuses (recently certified by a UN commission) in Gaza. Again bi-partisan support.

    Committee hearings on the bailout rigged by Chairman Chris Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank with the agreement of the ranking members and committee members from both parties. Since you seem to have a problem remembering details, let me repeat why I said these hearings were rigged. The only witnesses they listened to were Bush's agents from Wall Street - Paulson, Bernanke and Cox. No one with the likelihood of a contrary opinion was invited to speak.

    Hypocrisy: They all recite at one time or another the Pledge of Allegiance and have rendered it into an act of national hypocrisy. The republic: A society where people are elected to represent the people in government. These politicians represent the corporations that give them legal bribes to pay for their campaigns. Not the people.

    "Under God": The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared insertion of "under God" in the Pledge was unConstitutional. Jim McDermott (D-WA), when he tried to leave out "under God" when he led the House in the Pledge was attacked by a bunch of his fellow representatives who place their religion above the Constitution they pledged to uphold. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and a Democrat, called McDermott on the carpet and ordered him to say "under God" even though it was unConstitutional.

    "Liberty and justice for all" The vast majority of senators and representatives have passed laws that favored Wall Street (bankruptcy, for example) and helped lock people into poverty. People living in poverty enjoy precious little liberty. Justice? Justice is placed in jeopardy when there is no Constitution, and Democratic and Republican politicians have shown they will ignore the Constitution whenever it is politically expedient for them to do so.

    Need more?

  • Shirley C. (unverified)
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    <...Bill's stuff...>

    Preach nigga preach!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Carla: Is Shirley C. a friend of yours? It seems she is on the same side of this debate as you.

  • Carla Axtman (unverified)
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    Bill:

    It seems Shirley is cheering you, not me.

    As for your line items, I'll try to address them one at a time when I can do my own citations, which I hope will include links.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It seems Shirley is cheering you, not me.

    That's not plausible if she refers to me as "nigga."

    One other item that suggests an odious commonality among the Washington (DC) elite that would include Democrats and Republicans. The annual White House Press Correspondents' Dinner attracts all the big players in politics in that city. In what may have been its most shameful event there was a supposed comedy skit in which Bush made light of not finding those WMDs we had to take away from Saddam Hussein while our troops and thousands of Iraqis were being killed and maimed. Only two guests had the moral disgust to get up an walk out, if I recall correctly. The rest including, no doubt, Democrats and Republicans remained and either thought it funny or at least acceptable. I recall seeing a clip of a prominent lawyer, allegedly a Democrat, who seemed to find this act hilarious.

    See this article by David Corn

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Check this link for the 2004 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as Joe Lieberman and Nancy Pelosi seemed to.

  • Carla Axtman (unverified)
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    That's not plausible if she refers to me as "nigga."

    That label is sometimes a term of support. And given the rest of the sentence construction, it lends itself in context to be a support of you. Either way, I have no idea who that person is.

    And if you're really going to give me the White House Correspondents dinner skit as a demonstration of how D's and R's are exactly the same..that's truly pathetic. You have your back up because they're not supposed to get up and walk out of something YOU don't like? Or that an alleged Democratic lawyer may have found funny and you didn't?

    Pretty weak tea, man.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Carla: Almost my entire contribution to BO during the past couple years has been devoted to this topic. Like Bill B., my jaw drops at the suggestion that no evidence has been advanced that the DP and the RP have core ideological agreements about corporatism and military hegemony. That we both want to throw up our hands and ignore your claims in the face of this is understandable. Here's a brief recapitulation of my arguments:

    Democrats have favored INCREASING militarism and military spending, even at a time when our economy and our ecology are collapsing.

    Al Gore was a corporatist/hegemonist who ran on a hawkish platform of regime change in Iraq. He cheered on the killer sanctions and promised to go "further". He not only failed to distinguish himself from Bush in 2000 debates, but, like Obama, he went out of his way to describe himself as the same as his Republican "opponent" on foreign policy.

    Democrats have refused to impeach the war criminals in charge of our country. They have acted in complicity with Bush crimes of torture. They have failed to even try to filibuster war funding bills. They have failed to prevent war funding bills from arising from committee in the House.

    Democrats chose Joe Lieberman as their VP candidate in 2000, and they begged John McCain to be their VP candidate in 2004.

    Democrats willfully chose to ignore stolen elections in 2000 and 2004, and they failed to act to end voter caging in 2008.

    Democrats have consistently ignored the overwhelming support of the American people for even-handedness on Israel/Palestine, instead choosing unqualified support for US-Israel crimes, in spite of the fact that this endangers us perhaps more than any other single foreign policy issue.

    Democrats have consistently ignored the preference by the American people for government-backed universal health insurance.

    Democrats have joined with their Republican brethren in destroying the possibility of democracy in elections by conspiring to keep out alternative voices in debates and in mounting bogus challenges to ballot inclusion.

    The leadership of both major parties wanted the supplemental to be tied to the privatization of Iraqi oil.

    "Law and Order" for the DP/RP means for non-whites/non-rulers.

    Democrats have gone out of their way to frame issues in right-wing terms, including the "Iraq WAR" instead of occupation; withdrawal of "combat troops" instead of all corporate and military personnel; "redeployment" rather than return home.

    Democrats have supported "free trade" instead of fair trade; corporate personhood instead of corporate responsibility; nuclear instead of solar first; maintaining our unnecessary and self-defeating nuclear arsenal; non-living wage; maintaining of Taft-Hartley.

    Democrats have terrorized their supposed enemies with nuclear annihilation (Telling the population of a sovereign nation that has not attacked you that you would "not rule out" nuking them is TERRORISM.)

    Democrats have supported the "war" on drugs, the "war" on terror, the Patriot Act, FISA abominations, and pay-or-die health insurance.

    Democrats have supported neoliberal economics.

    Democrats have refused to support the War Crimes Act of 1996, the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Tribunal, all of which have been violated during the past twelve years.

    Democrats in the House voted for the original authorization for Bush to use force (that only Barbara Lee opposed), from which have flowed all his and Cheney's other claims to unchallenged power.

    Is all of this too shallow and jaded for you? I have a lot more.

  • Carla Axtman (unverified)
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    Carla: Almost my entire contribution to BO during the past couple years has been devoted to this topic. Like Bill B., my jaw drops at the suggestion that no evidence has been advanced that the DP and the RP have core ideological agreements about corporatism and military hegemony.

    Well golly Harry, if that's what I'd said, then perhaps your jaw might have a reason to drop. It isn't.

    And just because you've devoted your commentary time at Blue Oregon so heavily toward making the point, doesn't make the point any more closer to true. It just makes it more full of pixels..which can be the same thing as being full of shit (or not), depending on what you use to back it up.

    I see no evidence that Al Gore is exactly like the Republicans when it came to Iraq. I'm not crazy about Lieberman either..but in 2000 Gore was looking for someone squeaky clean who'd spoke out against Clinton's stupidity. It had more to do with that than anything.

    You've just dropped the rest of this laundry list with absolutely ZERO citations or proof. I can say that the moon is made of green cheese--but unless I can lay down some pretty compelling and substantial evidence--there's really no reason to consider my accusations worth the pixels they're posted with.

    Same with yours.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    You have your back up because they're not supposed to get up and walk out of something YOU don't like? Or that an alleged Democratic lawyer may have found funny and you didn't?

    Carla: It is pointless debating with you. If someone makes a point against you, you lack the character to admit it or the ability to refute it with a reasoned argument or facts. Example, one of many: The video showed Lieberman and Pelosi laughing at Bush's sick jokes about missing WMDs. I asked you if you enjoyed Bush's jokes about those missing WMDs as much as Joe Lieberman and Nancy Pelosi did? You didn't dare respond to that because you probably had enough sense to realize how cretinous those jokes were while at the same time you couldn't bring yourself to admit or imply your disappointment/shame or whatever applied to these Democratic party leaders. Your only response was the limp-assed one quoted above. Unfortunately, this is typical of many bloggers on this and other sites.

    Did you read my link to David Corn? Google for "White House Correspondents' dinner 2004" and you will find Corn and I weren't the only people disgusted by these jokes.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Carla: NO ONE IS SAYING THE DP AND THE RP ARE EXACTLY ALIKE OR THAT THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM.

    NO ONE. Not Nader, not Chomsky, not me.

    That's what makes your arguments STRAWMAN arguments.

    It's easy to attack someone who says, e.g., that Mussolini and Hitler were exactly alike; they weren't, but they were both fascists.

    It's an interesting rhetorical trick to call into question the veracity of everything I wrote because I didn't give citations. (I did give citations the first time I wrote about most of these issues.)

    Surely you won't challenge the facts that the DP opposed impeachment of Bush and Cheney, or that Obama has called for increases in military spending, or that the DP refused to filibuster or prevent appropriations bills from emerging from committee. I don't believe that you're that ignorant of the facts. If you want to challenge something specific, I'm willing to supply the source. Otherwise, do your own research and oppose my arguments with your own sources.

    I enjoyed the pixels-shit/piss-rain analogies. Now that's politics.

    Since you love Chomsky so much, here's a parting (such sweet sorrow) shot:

    "...there are very serious illusions that there are major efforts to instill. And I don't think they are very hard to dismantle. Almost anything we understand about international affairs is on the level that my 10-year old grandson can figure out, if given a chance. So just give people a chance to figure it out for themselves. Everything we are talking about, for example, is completely obvious. You would see it unless you are deeply indoctrinated not to see it...

    But for elites, they have to believe. They are the ones who are the managers and the directors, whether it's political or economic, or doctrinal managers in universities and media and so on. They got to believe. Otherwise they can't do the job. So they have to be profoundly indoctrinated. Furthermore, it is in their interest to be indoctrinated, they are the ones who gain from these activities." On War and Activism

  • (Show?)

    Carla: It is pointless debating with you. If someone makes a point against you, you lack the character to admit it or the ability to refute it with a reasoned argument or facts. Example, one of many: The video showed Lieberman and Pelosi laughing at Bush's sick jokes about missing WMDs. I asked you if you enjoyed Bush's jokes about those missing WMDs as much as Joe Lieberman and Nancy Pelosi did? You didn't dare respond to that because you probably had enough sense to realize how cretinous those jokes were while at the same time you couldn't bring yourself to admit or imply your disappointment/shame or whatever applied to these Democratic party leaders. Your only response was the limp-assed one quoted above. Unfortunately, this is typical of many bloggers on this and other sites.

    No Bill--I didn't respond to the point because frankly, I didn't think it held much water. You're basically irritated because Pelosi and Lieberman laughed at a joke that you find offensive and tasteless. To me, that's essentially meaningless. It sure as hell doesn't show that they're in some sort of policy league with Bush.

    Thanks for pointing out what you consider to be my character flaw(s). I'm sure there'll be more to come. I look forward to finding out more about what a lousy person I am.

    And Harry, WADR, you essentially ARE saying that there is no difference between R's and D's. If you want to parse it by saying that they have "core ideological agreements"--then parse away. But that doesn't change the essential.

    If that's not what you mean to say, or that's not your point..then you're doing a really lousy job of getting that across, IMO.

    Yes, some in the DP opposed the impeachment of Cheney and Bush in 06 when the Dems took over. Is it because they share core ideology with the GOP, tho? I've seen no evidence whatsoever to merit that leap. What I did see is that there were a shit-ton of other problems that the Dems wanted to tackle that actually had to do with the every day lives of a lot of Americans. And the GOP filibustered and blocked like crazy--to try to keep those things from happening.

    How this demonstrates a "core ideological agreement" between the two is a mystery to me.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the "pixel-shit/piss-raining" verbage. I'll put that back into the arsenal for another day.

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