Political Reality

All politics is present, not past.

"Sometimes you work hard, and people forget," Senator Joseph Lieberman reminded constituents as he accepted the Connecticut AFL-CIO's endorsement. Lieberman's rhetoric echoes what David Broder at the The Washington Post reminded readers about Joseph Lieberman: "three decades of constituency service -- the jobs he's saved, the grants and contracts he's helped secure -- entitle him to another term." The New York Times cites how Lieberman "has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case, he has strongly supported a woman’s right to choose. He has been one of the Senate’s most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation."

However, The New York Times then endorses Ned Lamont over Joseph Lieberman claiming "this race is not about résumés."

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This situation in Connecticut reminds me of when John Jacob was battling incumbent Chris Cannon in Utah. Jacob gained popularity particularly on the issue of immigration and blasted Cannon for not opposing illegal immigration. But, in "the days and weeks leading up to the election", "Cannon all but became a born-again Tom Tancredo." Never mind the fact "of his avid support for illegal-alien amnesties."

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So we see politics lives in the now.

Posted by Mike Tate at August 6, 2006 8:51 PM
Comments
Comment #173701

Mike:

So what the hell’s your point? Lieberman is being held accountable by the Democratic voters for his unswerving alliance with the Bush administration regarding the Iraqi war, his refusal to vote against cloture on the Alito nomination for SCOTUS, his steadfast refusal to step aside in his senatorial race in the 2000 presidential race when his was VP on the Democratic ticket, thus creating the situation that if he and Gore had won, his vacant seat in the Senate would have been filled by a Republican governor.

Many people in Connecticut believe he was spending more time abroad and in Washington than keeping his ear tuned to voter concerns. Lieberman was an increasingly favorite target of lobbyists and corporate businesses in the loop, as confirmed by the Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of him. The political arm of CofC declared that he had the biggest pro-business voting record of any Democrat in the Northeast. The CofC was pleased with Lieberman’s vote for NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA and weakening class action litigation rights of defrauded investors, injured workers and consumers. He enthusiastically voted for the Cheney/Exxon energy bill that gave susidized tax deferrals to booming oil companies, and did nothing to encourage fuel efficiency from cars or addressing global warming.

There was never a boondoggle weapons system he didn’t vote for, in eighteen years in the Senate he never brought up any concern about 46 million Americans without health care.

In fact, his entire behavior for the last six years has been one of an elitist elder statesman, above the fray—and entitled to a lifetime of comfortable status quo inevitability.

So, he’s finally being challenged by some very pissed off voters in Connecticut. He is actually being held accountable for his playing footsie with the neo-cons. Hmm, accountibility—there’s a novel concept.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 6, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #173706
The Washington Post reminded readers about Joseph Lieberman: “three decades of constituency service — the jobs he’s saved, the grants and contracts he’s helped secure — entitle him to another term.”

This is the problem with our country today. None of our elected leaders are entitled to retain their position. That is not what this country is built on. IF the people of CT are satisfied with Mr. Lieberman then I am sure they will return him to office. IF the people of CT feel that the positions he has taken recently are so out of step with their views, then they will rightly kick him to the curb. This is democracy in action, and it should be happening in every race across the country.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at August 6, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #173708

Politics reflecting the here and now, an interesting concept Mike. Wonder if history would back that concept up or is it just a new way of judging the credentials of a politician?

The Lieberman race also brings up another concept also. Should a politician vote his conscience or the will of the people he represents?

Posted by: The Griper at August 6, 2006 10:07 PM
Comment #173735

They should vote as close to what the people want as possible but sometimes the will of the people is not the best thing for the people. The Iraq war for example, the will of the people would be based on what the liberal press leads them to believe. Have things gone wrong, yes, but in what war has everything ever gone right. Has there been a loss of life, yes, but overall and for the length of time it has gone on it is a surprisingly small number. I spent my time in the military and any loss of life is a terrible thing, but looking back at past wars the administration and the commanders on the ground should be proud of the lives they have not lost as compared to the ones they have.

“Should a politician vote his conscience or the will of the people he represents?” The people have a lot of time to decide who they will vote for and with all the campaigning and smearing going on they can get a good idea of how this person will vote. I think they should try to vote “for the people” with as much knowledge and forethought as they can muster, but in the end they should vote for the good of the country and with some common sense.

Posted by: ShaunP at August 7, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #173740

Shaun,

got a feeling you will get a lot of disagreement on both parts in here. lolol we’ll see tho.

Posted by: The Griper at August 7, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #173743
Should a politician vote his conscience or the will of the people he represents?

Giper,

He should vote the will of the people. However, when his conscience tells him otherwise then he should go to the people and get their support by explaining to them why what they want may not be in their best interest. If the people are satisfied with your rationale then the backlash will be minumized. If they are not satisfied with your rationale and you vote against their will, the you probably will and should pay at the ballot box.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at August 7, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #173747

This is why I don’t want Lieberman as Senator:

“That’s something that distinguishes me from my opponent in this race; I don’t hate Republicans,” he said. “I know that sometimes in the United States Senate the best way to deliver for the people who sent me to Washington is to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. And I’ll tell you this: that doesn’t make me a bad Democrat, it makes me a better senator.”

Personally, I am tired of middle of the road types making nice nice with Republicans. I have watched Republicans hatch one crazy scheme after another and think the last thing the Senate needs is more of their friends.

Posted by: Max at August 7, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #173750

If they are not satisfied with your rationale and you vote against their will, the you probably will and should pay at the ballot box.

jayjay,

mmm that sounds good. maybe if we got more politicians voting their conscience we would not have as many life long incumbants in office.

Posted by: The Griper at August 7, 2006 3:18 AM
Comment #173752
“That’s something that distinguishes me from my opponent in this race; I don’t hate Republicans.”

This is a big part of Lieberman’s problem. He talks about left-leaning Democrats like a Republican would. He doesn’t acknowledge that his critics have a rationale basis for opposing him.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 7, 2006 8:09 AM
Comment #173755

JayJay

It is hard to figure out what the will of the people really is. Opinion polls are often unreliable and even when they are picking up the real thing, it changes. BTW - according to recent polls, only 19% of Americans support an immediate pullout. Others are divided among timed pullouts, staying until the job is done and INCREASING troops, so neither Lieberman nor Lamont would represent a majority view.

There is also the problem of representing WHICH will of the people. Lieberman was elected by all the voters of his state, not only the Dems. He has a responsibility to all of them, not just the Dems. The rest is politics, not ethics.

This is a referendum on Democratic reliability in security matters. If Dems vote out an experienced Senator who votes with his fellow Dems 90% of the time on the single issue of his support for staying in Iraq until the job is done, it makes us wonder if we can trust them with our nation’s security.

Lieberman is from the Roosevelt/Truman/Kennedy line of Democrats. It seems that strain has almost died out.

Posted by: Jack at August 7, 2006 8:25 AM
Comment #173760

“The Lieberman race also brings up another concept also. Should a politician vote his conscience or the will of the people he represents?”

In 1776, during the writing of the Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, a distinguished member of the British Parliament, was quoted by one of the authors as saying, “that a representative owes the people not only his industry, but his judgement, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.”

Regardless of what I think of Lieberman or any other elected official, this is to me one of the cornerstones of elected office. In my insignificant role on my local city council, I subsrcribe to this closely. And at times have made unpopular votes that made more sense for the “good of all involved.”

I don’t pretend to always know what is best for my constituents above and beyond their opinion. Many times, their opinion is not necessarily clearly known. An elected official can only do what they can do based on the facts before them, mitigated by common sense.

Posted by: Chi Chi at August 7, 2006 8:55 AM
Comment #173762
If Dems vote out an experienced Senator who votes with his fellow Dems 90% of the time on the single issue of his support for staying in Iraq until the job is done, it makes us wonder if we can trust them with our nation’s security.

Jack,

This is the double-think of our times. In order to show that they are “strong on national security”, politicians have to support wars that have nothing to do with our nation’s security.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 7, 2006 9:09 AM
Comment #173764

An elected official should strike compromises between what they believe and what their constituents expect of them.

If Lieberman really did want to tell the democratic voters that he wasn’t in complete disregard of their wishes, he could have foresworn running as an independent. Telling people that you care more about staying an incumbent than staying a fellow Democrat is the wrong signal to put out.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2006 9:12 AM
Comment #173765

Jack-
If it has died out, it’s because people are sick of folks going along with the cautious centrism, when the right takes advantage of that to swerve the government hard to the right. When we’re not having to strain against the wheel to put this nation back on the right track, practically speaking, then you’ll get your centrist back.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #173766
For example, Lieberman sided with religious conservatives in keeping Terri Schiavo alive against her will, and in allowing hospitals to deny morning-after pills to rape victims; he would not filibuster the Alito nomination to the Supreme Court, and he was the only New England senator to vote for the Bush administration’s energy bill, which gave it siting authority for a natural gas facility in Long Island Sound (taking it from the states); at a time of spiraling deficits he defends budget earmarks and even voted against an amendment that would have eliminated the notorious “Bridge to Nowhere”; finally, Joe opposes marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The list goes on.
Posted by: Woody Mena at August 7, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #173768

Above was a prominent Connecticut Democrat, George Jepsen, explaining why he is against Lieberman. So it is NOT JUST ONE ISSUE.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 7, 2006 9:21 AM
Comment #173769

I vote for people based on how their stance and vision - as much as I know of it - parallels mine on the issues I care most about. I also want someone who is intelligent and has the sense to see issues from more than one side.

I don’t want my representative to always be running around asking his/her constituents “How should I vote on this?” Keeping his/her eyes and ears on the feelings of the constituents is good, but keeping his/her mind on the issues at hand is the big thing.

If I find my “representative” fails to represent my views I will vote against them on the next go ‘round. That is the here-and-now of it, and I see Lieberman experiencing just that.

Posted by: myles at August 7, 2006 9:24 AM
Comment #173770

Maybe it’s just me.

I thought that when you voted someone into office, it was because they shared your opinion, and your trust about how the country should be run.
I see very few Democrats lining up behind Lieberman. In point of fact, he seems to be garnering most of his support from the Republican pundits.

The bottom line is whether or not Lieberman is representing the people of Connecticut.
Is he doing the job that, in their opinion, they sent him to Washington, to do?

They have the final say, he works for them, not for the right wing pundits.

Posted by: Rocky at August 7, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #173772

Usually glad when a Democratic icon goes by the wayside, not so sure in Lieberman’s case.

Someone referred to him as a Kennedy Democrat. Now I am not sure he is that, but he seems reasonable in some respects, is pro defense/American, and usually civil in his discourse. Those are enough positives for me to pull for him in these circumstances - after all, we are dreaming if we think a Republican or a better Dem. is replacing him. Go Joe.

Posted by: Seminole 6 at August 7, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #173786
BTW - according to recent polls, only 19% of Americans support an immediate pullout. Others are divided among timed pullouts, staying until the job is done and INCREASING troops, so neither Lieberman nor Lamont would represent a majority view.


Jack,

The first part may be true, but I would question the second part of your statement. Lieberman was not put in office by the majority of Americans, nor will he win or lose this race based on what the majority of Americans think. The question is what do the majority of Connecticut voters support? That is the great thing about our country. We have a diversity of views from across the country diverging in Washigton. When the system works the way it is suppose to, all those views lead to debate and a compramise, which is probably a lot better than if everyone in the country was united with one view.

After 9/11 the country was more united than any other time in recent history. Some politicians, IMO, abused that unity. Instead of using the power the people united behind to go after those responsible for 9/11, they used that unity to divert the war effort to Iraq. The result is that we went from the most united in recent history to the most divided in recent history.

This is a referendum on Democratic reliability in security matters. If Dems vote out an experienced Senator who votes with his fellow Dems 90% of the time on the single issue of his support for staying in Iraq until the job is done, it makes us wonder if we can trust them with our nation’s security.

No it isn’t. This is a referendum on who controls the Democratic Party, the liberal DNC wing or the conservative DLC wing. This is a battle between the status quo DLC and grassroots action. Connecticut is a very liberal state. I don’t see how the anti-war views in Connecticut have any bearing on Democrats in other states. This is a local race, not a national one. Besides, war does not necessarily = national security.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at August 7, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #173800

Tim Crow,

Here’s the bottom line: politics thrives in the now. Just as people forget what they had for breakfast five days ago, so too will the fickleness of the masses forget about how great of a lawmaker any politician was 10 years ago when being challenged by someone more appealing. Politicians cannot count on their past political performance for any support. All that matters in politics is what you are currently saying — or doing.

Posted by: Mike Tate at August 7, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #173807

Politics is and always has been a “what have you done for me lately” type of deal. Any politician who does not know that is not paying attention.

Having said that, I think most voters over estimate what one single congressman can do, especially a freshman, during one term. The promises of “I will lower taxes” etc. are hollow. I have much more respect for realistic officials who provide leadership in one direction or the other, and can, over time, pass good public policy.

Posted by: Chi Chi at August 7, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #173808

Mike:

“All that matters in politics is what you are currently saying — or doing.”

Ahh, okay, now I understand. Well,with, as you say, the short memory of the electorate, you are probably right. And I think it’s regrettable.

I think most of us here at Watchblog don’t fall in that category, though. We do our homework and make mental notes on important issues and how our representatives vote on them.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 7, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #173809

Politics is not just politics anymore. It is a way of life. It dictates what we believe or even buy.

For example: When the Bush-Kerry election campaigns were taking place, Republicans and Conservatives have boycotted the Heinz Ketchup and other ketchups have been going up. They even came up with a new ketchup called Freedom Ketchup.

Politics is everything. It is economics, law, religion, consuming, and your standard of living. Whether you want it to be or not, politics is your life. So vote carefully!!!!

Posted by: stubborn conservative at August 7, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #173836

I see a lot of good ideas being thrown around here today. but one more thing that needs to be considered also, power in the senate itself.

aren’t members of the commitees selected by seniority? and some commitees considered more desirable than others, powerwise? or the senior membrs get to choose which commitee they wish to be on? wouldn’t the state of Conn. be sacrificing the power that Lieberman would give it by voting him out of office?

Posted by: The Griper at August 7, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #173867

I suppose that title works for those living in a the pre-apocalyptic 9/11 world.
But the rest of us, you know, those in the 40-60% gray are in the middle are not happy with you G-O-pee’rs

Posted by: Joe at August 7, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #173889

Tim Crow: You’ve got it =)

Posted by: Mike Tate at August 7, 2006 8:02 PM
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