A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Catching Up

Well, that sucked. I had a nice long post started about the two big issues John covered while I was gone—the Connecticut primary and the Israel/Lebanon war—and Blogger ate it. Bleck. Okay, here’s my attempt to resurrect what I had written:

The Connecticut Primary:

In regards to John and tc snarking at each other in the comments sections of John’s post, I will paraphrase Dan Ackroyd. John and tc, you ignorant sluts. To call Joe Lieberman either an ultra-liberal or a shill for Rush Limbaugh is ludicrous. Lieberman was a moderate Democrat who didn’t mind working with the other side and *gasp* would actually compromise with them to try and accomplish something. The fact that he voted Democrat is hardly confirmation of ultra-liberalism—he’s a Democrat. The fact that he actually talked to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity does not make him Michael Savage. Have we gotten to the point where even talking to somebody who has a different political viewpoint is enough to brand him unacceptable to the party he’s served for decades?

That said, Joe is acting like his senate seat is his by right, and his ill-considered independent run is classless and petty. On this I agree with tc—the voters made their opinion known, and that’s how democracy works. Time for Joe to pack it up and become an elder statesmen for his party ala Al Gore.

Before leaving this topic, however, let me throw this, from The New Republic, into the mix:

In a quick and dirty analysis of the difference between the Lamont and Lieberman voters based on income, education, and other demographic data from across Connecticut, Ken Strasma of Strategic Telemetry found that Lamont's strongest support came from areas with high housing values, voters with college or graduate degrees, and parents with children in private schools. Lieberman's votes, in contrast, came from the cities, renters, blue-collar and service-sector workers, and those receiving Social Security benefits.

If the CT primary was a true reflection of a “grassroots” uprising of the populace fed up with Bush’s war policies, wouldn’t this be the other way ‘round? That disconnect between perception and reality is highlighted in a different TNR article than the one above. To wit:

No twist in the Connecticut Senate race better captures this bizarre moment in American politics than a recent anti-Wal-Mart rally featuring Ned Lamont. The early-August rally was sponsored by WakeUpWalMart.com, a union-backed group seeking better pay and benefits for Wal-Mart workers, and Lamont took to the dais sounding like a regular Norma Rae. "This is about waking up Wal-Mart, and this is also about waking up corporate America," he told the crowd. "Corporate
America has to look out for its workers."

Pardon my class warfare, but what the hell was he talking about? Lamont is a wealthy cable executive from Greenwich whose great-grandfather once ran JP Morgan's global empire. Of his
estimated $90 to $300 million net worth, somewhere between $2,000 and $30,000 are invested in ... Wal-Mart. When later pressed on this point by Time, campaign manager Tom Swan revealed that Lamont doesn't hold the stock directly, but through a Goldman Sachs "Tax Advantaged Core Strategies" managed account. Ah, right. I think you get one of those with your afl-cio membership.

And, of course, it's not just Lamont whose rhetorical cruise missiles have a knack for honing in on his own economic interests. As a group, the bloggers and activists who powered his rise are overwhelmingly affluent and well-educated. According to a Pew Research Center survey in 2005, about 65 percent of activists and donors to Howard Dean's political organization, Democracy for America, make over $50,000 per year, versus about 36 percent for the general public.

Interesting, no?

Israel and Hezbollah

Sadly it’s pretty simple. Hezbollah won and the world is a much more dangerous place for it. The fact that the world cowtowed to terrorists who deliberately, and with calculated disregard for those they claim to protect and represent, hide their munitions and themselves amongst civilians and then claim savagery on the part of the other side when civilians die is nearly inconceivable to me. Hezbollah, despite being the direct cause of the deaths of thousands of Lebanese—above and beyond the hundreds of Israelis they killed—is now receiving adulation within Lebanon and throughout the Arab world.

I have no faith in the U.N. being able to keep the peace anywhere, much less in one of the most volatile and violence fraught regions of the world. And it makes me sad that thoughtful, educated people cannot see the distinction between death as a terrible and painful side effect of war and death as a terrible and painful effect of deliberately shooting rockets at civilian areas and then hiding amongst civilians when the other guy shoots back. Oh say, like this.

I don’t mean to pick on tc, and I’m pretty sure he is thick skinned enough to not be upset by it, but honestly, the stance that as long as the fighting has stopped it’s a good thing boggles my mind. Death is a tragedy and I hope I never have to know the sorrow of losing a child. But all of the death from the last month of fighting between Hezbollah and Israel now serves no purpose but to embolden Hezbollah. And Hamas. And al-Qaeda. And Iran. And on. And on. And on.

Sorry tc, but saying, "Always good when the killing stops, if even for a short while." is a nice sentiment and totally out of touch with reality. The key bit being "if even for a short while." Pop quiz: Is it better that the cease fire now means only about 1200 people died during the abbreviated war, but 5000 more will die in the next 5 year or that 3000 would have died if the fighting had continued until Hezbollah was eradicated and 500 more would have died in the next five years?

Enough blather from me. I’ll sum up in two quick hits—one a bit from Yossi Klein Halevi writing in The New Republic (registration is required, though it is free), and the other from Michael Rameriz who penned one of the most sublime and effective editorial cartoons I have ever seen.

Halevi first:

This is a nation whose heart has been broken: by our failure to uproot the jihadist threat, which will return for another and far more deadly round; by the economic devastation of the Galilee and of a neighboring land we didn't want to attack; by the heroism of our soldiers and the hesitations of our politicians; by the young men buried and crippled in a war we prevented ourselves from winning; by foreign journalists who can't tell the difference between good and evil; by European leaders who equate an army that tries to avoid civilian causalities with a terrorist group that revels in them; by a United Nations that questions Israel's right to defend itself; and by growing voices on the left who
question Israel's right to exist at all.
Now Rameriz:


Nick, you want to argue with my posts, do it on my web site.

Bringing up Ned Lamont's assets in his argument against WalMart is a red herring. In truth, an owner of managed funds really doesn't have day to day control or necessarily knowledge of what is in those funds. It is up to the managers of those funds to make the decisions.

So now, people making over $50,000 can't be the grassroots? When did this happen? I always miss the memos.

The reality is that Joe Lieberman is only a moderate by Republican standards. His voting, especially when it comes to his committee appointments, invariably supports The Bush Agenda when it makes a difference. When the vote is moot, he will vote with Dems, but as I said, that's just ideological cover.

We agree on one thing: The voters said No to Joe, and he should drop out.
Nice post, Nick. Although, I'm not sure I agree that it's classless for Lieberman to run as an independent.
“In regards to John and tc snarking at each other in the comments sections of John’s post, I will paraphrase Dan Ackroyd. John and tc, you ignorant sluts. To call Joe Lieberman either an ultra-liberal or a shill for Rush Limbaugh is ludicrous.”

Nick, you not-so-ignorant slut, you are engaging in moral relevance when you paint both TC and I with the same fanatic partisan brush. In the first place, I called Lieberman a Solid Liberal, not an Ultra Liberal. And his voting record, which I posted and TC did not comment on, shows him to be a fairly typical liberal.

Mine and TC’s positions are not exact opposites. Indeed, using the math concepts of sets, TC and I would have some intersection in our spheres of positions on this matter.

That said, this post was great! Lamont being the candidate of the rich and guilty white liberal set is no surprise. You know that bunch hates voting for a balding, blue-collar Jew. It just isn’t in them. Vote for the handsome WASP. He’s one of us!

And the Hezbos situation does defy all reason. I can only surmise that the world is insane.

War is hell, and it ought to be super-violent and super deadly. When cities are leveled and entire populations displaced, perhaps there will be less wars. These sanitary and civilized wars only encourage more wars.
tc, my post is only partially related to yours. I find your position distressing and depressing, so I said so in relation to my position. I also linked to it so that people can judege for themselves.

It's not that I want to argue it, because the Israel/Palestine topic is about as entrenched as the abortion topic. If I feel like engaging that particular argument, I will, in fact, do so on your site. I referenced your post as typical of the sort I just can't wrap my head around because it was A) Just about the perfect example and B) Easy to find.

As to Joe.
Oops, accidentally posted too early.

As to Joe. Committee appointments are traditionally the purview of the two party leaders aren't they? It was my understanding that there wasn't any voting for those, but that the make up them varied depending on which party was in control of the particular house of Congress. Am I missing or misunderstanding something?
Lieberman isn't attempting to have the Democratic primary results thrown out. The voters in Connecticut's primary election for the Democratic Party have spoken, and the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut will be Ned Lamont. Next up is the general election, and all of the voters in Connecticut, not just those in one of the party primaries, will make their opinion known as to whom they would like to have represent them as their senator.

Lieberman is the incumbent, he believes that he has represented the people of Connecticut well as their senator, and he thinks that he will be a better choice for Connecticut than the candidates which the Democratic and Republican parties are presenting. Just as Lamont met the requirements to challenge Lieberman in the Democratic primary, Lieberman has met the state's requirements to appear on the ballot in the general election as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate. There is no rule stating that an incumbent cannot run for the office that he currently holds if he loses his party's primary.

Personally, I don't care one way or another; I am putting this out there somewhat as a devil's advocate.

What's interesting, though, is that a guy who is mounting an independent run for his senate seat is being called classless and petty for basically saying, "I don't care that I lost a close primary race. The people of Connecticut have chosen me to represent them for three straight terms, and I believe that I am the best choice to continue in that capacity for them, with or without a 'D' after my name on the ballot." As often as I have read on this blog that we need decent independent candidates with name recognition to challenge the Democrats and Republicans, I am rather surprised that it now appears that those independent candidates must meet the pre-requisite of not having been knocked out of their party primary by a challenger.

The general election, not the party primaries, is where the full electorate chooses the candidate who will represent them, and it is that election in which all of the voters make their opinion known. You now have a situation that Nick has asked been asking for, in which a big name with political experience is taking on the Democratic and Republican parties. One of them will end up being chosen by the people as their senator this November, and that's how a representative republic works.
Errmmm... ouch.

Good points Mojo. Damn you.

I guess it just seems like a case of sour grapes to me and, as a recovering whiner, that sort of thing always grates on me. But, you are absolutely correct-- this is nearly precisely what I've been hoping for. Just not the way I expected, or hoped for, it to come about.

Huh. Forest for the trees, I guess.

Thanks Mojo.
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