The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lieberman critics emerge outside the blogs

After a couple of weeks hearing only from conservative pundits who universally support Lieberman, and used their access to push the notion that blog writers and readers are loony radicals, some prominent columnists are starting to respond. And doing an excellent job of it. And they're helping to dispel the myth that Lieberman is only out of favor with Democrats over the Iraq war.

The always-awesome Joe Conason has a piece in the New York Observer that highlights the problems most people have with politicians these days:

Mr. Lieberman dutifully recites his opposition to “tax cuts for the rich” and “privatizing Social Security,” and his support of “universal health insurance” and “affordable health care.” When he utters those phrases, unfortunately, they ring hollow to many rank-and-file Democrats.

Actually, the syndrome afflicting him is found among entrenched veterans of both parties, especially those who appear more concerned with connections and contributions than values or ideals.

Now Mr. Lieberman has long been known to cultivate the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, which provide jobs in his home state and contributions to his campaign fund. But he has literally been sleeping with one of their Washington representatives ever since his wife Hadassah joined Hill & Knowlton last year. The legendary lobbying and P.R. firm hired her as a “senior counselor” in its “health and pharmaceuticals practice.” (. . .)

The Senator has demanded that Mr. Lamont release his income-tax returns, which must mean that he plans to do likewise. His latest financial disclosure lists Mrs. Lieberman’s compensation from Hill Knowlton only as “more than $1000.” Presumably his tax returns will show how much more—and measure his distance from the people he represents.

The WaPo's Harold Meyerson reminds readers and pundits of the obvious:

The issue here isn't that Lieberman is not 100 percent. It's that his positions -- not just on foreign policy but on trade, Social Security and other key issues -- are often out of sync with those of Democrats in his part of the country. To expect his region's voters to dump the area's moderate Republicans but back Lieberman is to expect that they will adopt a double standard in this year's elections.

Lieberman's ultimate problem isn't fanatical bloggers, any more than Lyndon Johnson's was crazy, antiwar Democrats. His problem is that Bush, and the war that both he and Bush have championed, is speeding the ongoing realignment of the Northeast. His problem, dear colleagues, is Connecticut.