Click Here North Star Writers Group
Syndicated Content.
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Page
David J. Pollay - The Happiness Answer
Cindy Droog - The Working Mom
The Laughing Chef
Mike Ball - What I've Learned So Far
Bob Batz - Senior Moments
D.F. Krause - Business Ridiculous
Paul Ibrahim
  Paul's Column Archive

August 9, 2006

The Democrats’ Scalp of Choice


(Editor's Note: Some references in the column were updated August 11, 2006 to reflect the outcome of the races mentioned.)


It is completely normal, in fact essential, for any political party to mobilize against some of its most divisive, extreme or even irrational members when these mavericks have a consistent negative impact on the team. As such, you would figure the Democratic establishment would rally its troops to ensure that those who serve as more of a liability than party leaders would be systematically rooted out as necessary for the well-being of the organization.


You would think that the Democrats would start by doing what they did in Georgia - eliminating Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, whose name recognition is tied almost solely to the outrage she has caused over the years. Soon after the attacks of September 11th, McKinney apologized on behalf of Rudy Giuliani, who had turned down a monetary donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal because the accompanying message placed blame for the attacks on U.S. foreign policy.


In 2002, she suggested that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the attacks that killed close to 3,000 Americans, and she was recently one of only three members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. A few months ago, McKinney created a national hullabaloo after physically hitting a Capitol Hill Police officer, claiming she was actually the victim because of her status as a “female, black, progressive Congresswoman” before being forced to recant.


McKinney did indeed lose, but there was hardly a massive movement within the Democratic Party to oust her.


You would have hoped that one of America’s two major political parties would channel their efforts toward ousting yet another source of public embarrassment. Congressman John Murtha, a former member of the armed forces, gained national attention when he called for an immediate withdrawal of the United States from Iraq, which in and by itself is reckless and irresponsible. Delighted with the enthusiastic response he received from the far left of his party, he further spiced up his comments by asserting that he would not join the military today.


Instead of working to rectify his demoralizing comments, Murtha further put down our troops by publicly declaring that U.S. Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood,” referring to a yet unresolved incident in Haditha, Iraq, involving the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians. While one expects that a congressman would wait to understand the facts of the situation before making such powerful statements, Murtha did not even give the Marines the benefit of the doubt, sullying their names and reputations while they have not even been charged with any wrongdoing.


Yet many Democrats choose not to punish such symbols of thoughtlessness and betrayal – they instead have a tendency to reelect them, as they did in the case of Murtha. They do, however, choose to punish another brand of Democratic delegates. As is currently being demonstrated in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, the Democratic politicians most at risk are the coalition builders, and the ones who place principles above politics.


Senator Joe Lieberman is a good Democrat. Liberal on most issues, he was thought trustworthy enough by his party establishment, as recently as the year 2000, to be the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States. For 18 years he served his party – and his country – in the Senate, and has proven himself a solid leader and popular within Connecticut’s general electorate. One would think that Lieberman is an asset that his party would fight to retain at all costs.


But Democratic primary voters ousted him on Tuesday.


Lieberman has stood up for his beliefs in a party that is decreasingly tolerant of ideological diversity within its ranks. Though his backing of the Iraq War in its opening stages put him in line with the majority of Americans, his continued support for it today has placed him in a camp dominated by Republicans as Democrats increasingly deserted the pro-war coalition. As such, he is now seen by his party mates as a traitor for maintaining a stance shared by Republicans, including the worst of them all, President Bush.


Top Democrats have come to see the senator’s behavior not as an expression of his beliefs, but as an active process of disloyalty to the party. A top congressional aide told the Washington Post that “Senator Lieberman is past the point of being taken seriously… because everything he does is seen as advancing his own self-interest, instead of the Democratic interest.” When last week Al Sharpton headed to Connecticut to campaign for Ned Lamont – Lieberman’s challenger in the heated race – he explained that Lieberman “has been much more aligned with President Bush” than he ought to be.


The New York Times endorsed Lamont partly because Lieberman “has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons” (Notice the “how” in that statement, the Times is no longer debating whether the President lied). Al Gore, who chose Lieberman as his running mate the year the Supreme Court stole his victory (and possibly his Internet patent), has refused to endorse him in the current primary. Respected Democratic senators have also insisted that they will support Lamont, the winner of the Democratic primary, even if Lieberman runs as an independent, as it now appears he will do.


By pulling their support for a party asset such as Lieberman, Democrats have hung his scalp on the wall with a message that any efforts at bipartisanship that do no specifically boost the party will be punished with the utmost severity. If not even someone with the magnitude of Lieberman is allowed to escape the strict limits of the party’s ideological scope in order to ensure the nation’s security, one cannot help but wonder where the Democrats’ priorities are, and importantly, what type of breed the Democrats are fostering at the lower levels of the nation’s political tree as we enter an era of severe national security threats that necessitate less politicking and more patriotism.


© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI16. Request permission to publish here.