Tuesday, August 08, 2006

if lieberman loses, the terrorists win!!!!~11

today is primary day in three states. one of those states is connecticut, and today's most-closely-watched race is CT senator joe lieberman's attempt to defend himself against primary challenger ned lamont.

lieberman has always been at the "conservative" end of the democratic party, and recently he's only drifted further to the right. not only did liberman cheerlead enthusiastically for an invasion of iraq, he continued to adamantly support the war well into last week, even issuing orwellian-sounding edicts like

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war, we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril.

in other words, democrats should stop worrying and learn to love the bomb. more importantly, they should STFU already.

but the problem isn't just his support for the war. lieberman has become a virtual caricature of himself: the go-to guy whenever republicans need a democrat who's willing to publicly talk trash about other democrats. liberal bloggers'd had enough of lieberman's shenanigans and threw their weight in behind lamont. as atrios recently explained:

No matter what happens on Tuesday, the fact is that this should have never been a race. As big a wanker as Lieberman has been, he should have been able to easily swat away a primary challenge.

I had to think pretty hard about encouraging people to give money to Lamont. I probably thought his chances of winning were about 5% back when this began and I had to consider whether asking people to donate their time and energy for a long shot of a cause was really worthwhile. Ultimately I decided that it was, but I still never saw it as anything but a tremendous long shot.

atrios then quotes from digby:

All Lieberman had to do in the early going was ignore the sniping, distance himself that schmuck in the white house and it would have been very difficult for Lamont to get enough traction to get this far. Perhaps it would have happened anyway, but I have my doubts. In fact I sincerely believed when this whole thing began to bubble to the surface that the point of this challenge was to get Joe to distance himselof from that schmuck in the white house and keep him on the reservation. I never dreamed he'd be so stubborn about something so obvious.

yes, lieberman's campaign has made so many missteps it would take a whole blog—not a blog entry, but an entire blog—to document them all. now he's fighting for his livelihood against lamont in a race he should have been able to easily win. this is understandably freaking some people out. but what's telling is how many of lieberman's most vocal supporters are republicans.

here's e.j. dionne, in today's syndicated column:

Some events are so important that the battle to interpret their meaning begins even before they actually happen. So it is with today's Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.

Most of the commentary is premised on the idea that antiwar businessman Ned Lamont will defeat Lieberman, one of Congress' strongest supporters of the Iraq war. This speculation may be premature for reasons we'll get to. But the two lines of argument hardening into place tell us a great deal about the course of this fall's election campaign.

Republican supporters of President Bush and the war are claiming that a Lamont victory would signal a dovish takeover of the Democratic party by activists organized by anti-Bush bloggers -- and would show that there is no room left in Democratic ranks for moderates.

The most over-the-top version of this argument came from William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard. "What drives so many Democrats crazy about Lieberman is not simply his support for the Iraq war," Kristol wrote. "It's that he's unashamedly pro-American."

personally, the most over-the-top version of this argument that i've seen was made by gary welsh at advance indiana, but your mileage may vary.

i've been a regular reader of advance indiana for months because the content is usually strong. gary is a proud republican, but his posts are often well-thought-out and he generally doesn't fall into the traps of neoconservatism, bush idolatry, or war-mongering that are so common in right blogistan. maybe this is because gary's perspective as an openly gay republican gives him a different view than many straight republicans; i don't know. every couple weeks or so, there will be an odd rant about bill clinton or bart peterson that'll make me scratch my head, but they tend to be easy enough to ignore.

however, i was taken aback by gary's sunday post titled "lieberman loss would be loss for america". i was shocked not because gary clearly doesn't understand the roots of the anti-lierberman movement (which was not a surprise, because gary is a republican, after all), but because of the shocking "you're either with us or the terrorists" rhetoric that i would never have expected from gary, who i had thought to be relatively rational and intelligent, and especially not now, in 2006.

bruce parker was disturbed enough by the post and its subsequent comment thread that he started his own post on bilerico. in contrast, everyone's favorite blowhard from the star ed board, rishawn biddle, linked approvingly to the post, writing:

Advance Indiana stirs a hornet's nest of sorts with a post explaining why U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's possible loss of his senate seat is no boon for America's fight against terrorism. Plenty of left-leaners take the moderate site and its proprietor to task, with one calling the arguments "disingenuous" and debating whether any of the examples cited are related to each other. He smartly counters their deconstruction.

here's a quote from gary stirring the hornet's nest:

While it is easy to stand up and say you are against the war, it is tougher to think of the consequences of doing nothing. Lieberman understands that the very survival of Israel is at stake, as well as our country. Radical Muslims are devoted not only to rubbing out Isreal, but also America.

in gary's view, there are only two options. option A: bomb the hell out of the middle east, thereby destroying radical islam. (exactly how all this bombing and killing will wipe out radical islam is TBD at a later time. insert "underpants gnome" joke here.) option B: sit around on our asses and let the terrorists take over the world. in gary's view, beyond those two options, as the weatherman would say, there is absolutely no other possibility.

so either you support the war against radical islam or you're a liberal. but wait, that's not all! gary continues (emphasis mine):

I don't like the war in Iraq. I don't like Israel's war against Hezbullah. But when I look at the consequences of doing nothing in the face of an opposition that is committed to the annihalation of everything I treasure, I choose the lesser of the two evils. If Joe Lieberman loses because Democrats don't think he's anti-war enough, then all of America loses in our battle against our real enemy. Democrat activists need to wake up and accept the reality of who our real enemy is. Any freedom-loving person should have no problem comprehending this reality.

as bruce said, "It seems like AI is saying to us that if Lieberman loses the terrorists win." but there's no "seems" about it; that is literally what gary is saying. gary doesn't mince words here. he uses the "if...then" construction so there's no doubt what he means. if lieberman loses (p), the terrorists win (q). converted into symbolic notation, that's p→q. this is basic stuff, symbolic logic 101.

so when readers took gary to task for this bizarrely binary worldview, here is how he "smartly counters their deconstruction":

American liberals are completely discarding the American tradition of a bipartisan foreign policy. The fact is that American liberals don't want to fight radical Islam, even though they are committed to our destruction.

this is news to me, since i was pretty sure that liberals were the ones who were protesting the taliban, the US alliance with iraq, and so on back in the '80s and '90s, when reagan and poppy bush were still friends with those regimes. still, while this is misguided and wrong, it didn't prepare me for the bruises i would develop after my jaw dropped to the floor when i read this (referring to bil browning and jerame davis of bilerico; emphasis mine):

I know the two of you, Bil & Jerame, reject any concept of a bipartisan foreign policy. The two of you also despise Sen. Evan Bayh for this very reason.

Did the U.S. error in its past support of Iraq's Hussein? Did the U.S. err in its past support of the Shah prior to his overthrow in Iran? The case can be made that we erred badly in both instances, but what's done is done. You can't simply bury your head in the sand and pretend these problems will go away.

My problem with people like you, is that you can only see the bad in what America does. You never can see the good we do. In so doing, you give comfort to our enemies.

It's pretty easy from where the two of you sit to criticize our military's actions. I thank God for the men and women in uniform who have fought to preserve freedom here and elsewhere. You think you can negotiate with terrorists; you cannot.

"people like you...give comfort to our enemies." in 2004, it was "if bush loses the presidency, the terrorists win!" now that's evolved to "if lieberman loses the connecticut senate primary, the terrorists win!" but the "giving comfort to our enemies" chestnut hasn't changed at all. and rishawn biddle—who i must emphasize again is on the indy star editorial board—reads this stale propaganda and declares that gary "smartly counters their deconstruction"?

the thread goes on from there, with gary dredging up a bunch of stereotypes about liberals without realizing that he himself has devolved into the ultimate stereotype of a right-wing blogger: insisting that the terrorists will take over if (insert pet issue here) and impugning the patriotism of those who disagree.

i never imagined gary would sink so low, and i'm left disillusioned by the whole thing, wondering whether i had misjudged him all along.


Jerame Davis said...

Thank you! I used to have a lot of respect for Gary and his writing. I've regularly been a fan of his insight and ability to uncover newsworthy items. Lately, however, his rhetoric has tacked way to the right and gotten a bit extreme.

Even Bush has given up on the "people like you give comfort to terrorists" saw.

I just hope Gary gets back to doing what he does best and not simply attacking and trying to tear down those who disagree.

I still hope Lieberman gets trounced today. Yesterday's polls show him at a 6-8 point disadvantage. My concern is that if he doesn't lose big, he's going to go forward with his 3rd party run. *sigh*

Doug said...

I still have a lot of respect for Gary. I just wildly disagree with him on this issue.

Steph Mineart said...

I, too was floored by Gary's analysis, which made me go back and re-read
a lot of his writing, trying to make sense of the right-shift and lack of logical analysis in the Lieberman post. I'm not sure if I reconciled anything in my mind.

I'm still puzzled and upset by the "The fact is that American liberals don't want to fight radical Islam, even though they are committed to our destruction" comment a day later... what does he think the word liberal means?