Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
I really don't think this will make much of a difference.If Lieberman pursues this he won't get re-elected. And he just isn't principled enough to take a stand and risk his political future.
It worked out alright for him when he supported the Iraq war (possibly because it demonstrated that he in fact did have principles, and wasn't just toeing the party line). He risked his political future to back a war he supported. That's pretty principled.
He lost the primary in '06 then formed his own political party to win re-election. That's principled?
Yes. Yes it is.Unprincipled would have been if he had abandoned his stance on the war for fear of losing. He lost the primary because he wouldn't relinquish his principles.
...and then end-arounded his Party to win anyway. It's one thing to be a martyr for your cause. But you can't "go down for your principles" and then seek to win through another route.It makes a farce of the whole thing. What kind of sacrifice is it if you don't lose anything?
Being a party loyalist even if your own views are contrary to that of the party is called being partisan, not principled.I'm not suggesting that he should 'go down' for his principles. In fact, I think (know) that voters appreciate it when you buck your own party to support something you believe in. A principled stance registers much better with voters than a partisan one.And nobody is calling it a sacrifice. In fact, it would have been a sacrifice if he had toed the party line rather than stand against his own party to support the war. He would have sacrificed his beliefs for political expediency.
He didnt "end around" his own party- the Dems dumped him as a result of his stance on the war. He then did what he had to in order to get re-elected- and keeping hisprinciples in the process.
Joe Lieberman just wanted to represent his beliefs so badly, he couldn't help himself but run for Senate even though he lost the primary?Come on. He just wants to be at the center of it all. And missing from this whole debate about Iraq is the fact that he was absolutely wrong about it. I don't mind people standing up for what they believe in, but there's no use sticking to old ways of thinking simply for the sake of it.Obviously enough people bought into his schtick to re-elect him, but I think it's pretty distasteful to break off from the party because they weren't serving your interests and run around them. One of the reasons you have a party is that it unites around a set of beliefs. You don't like it? You leave, you don't wait to get kicked out and then weasel your way back in.
Serving his interests? They were doing something that he considered wrong! I'm sure he would have stayed a Democrat if the (Democratic) voters of Connecticut would have had him. But he's in no way obligated to say 'well, the Democrats in this state don't agree with me, so I'm just going to sink into oblivion.' No. He stuck up for what he thought was right, and when the Democrats wouldn't have him he said, 'fine. I'll do it myself,' and went and did it himself. He went to Washington, I would imagine, because he wanted to pursue his beliefs in the public sphere. Democrats rejected his beliefs, so he left the party. He didn't weasel his way in or out of anything.
It wasn't like he ran some insurgent campaign against the party from within and continued it after he lost. He was a three-term senator who was out of touch with the citizens who elected him. As I said--if he wanted to show real political courage, don't go through the primary process. But I don't think it's a beacon of integrity to lose that contest and then continue striving for the election.What's the point of even having a primary, in that case? It undermines the entire process. It would be like if Hillary dipped into the Clinton fortune, grabbed Bloomberg as a VP, and decided to run as an independent after she lost to Obama. Doable? Technically, yeah, probably. But not classy.
If he was "out of touch" then how did he get re-elected?
It wasn't that hard when the entire Democratic Party put its tail between its legs and got behind him anyway.
The primary system is completely useless beyond the party choosing it's candidate. The party chose its candidate, and Lieberman defeated him. I'm sure if they had chosen Lieberman he would have run as a Democrat happily. But he's not obligated to relinquish his office because the Democrats don't want him.Primaries are meaningless only to the extent that a third-party candidate stands a chance in the general election.And Lieberman may have been out of touch with Connecticut Democrats (obviously), but he wasn't out of touch with voters in general. There is a difference (though a subtle one in CT).Your analogy is incorrect. It would be more like if Obama pissed off the most liberal elements of the party so bad that they were able to defeat him in the 2012 primaries (obviously not going to happen), but his popularity with the country as a whole was still very high (again, we're talking hypothetical here) so he ran as an independent. We're talking about an incumbent battling the fringe elements of his party to remain in office and continue to pursue the causes that he believes in. If his constituency doesn't agree, they can vote him out. But party loyalty doesn't, at least shouldn't (and, in Lieberman's case, didn't) dictate policy wholesale. The state--or the district or the country, as the case may be--comes before the party. That is political integrity.
By doing this Joe Lieberman just made himself the most important person in the Senate. Now the whole world revolves around him until the Democrats either figure out a way around him or do what he wants.I see it as a power play, but I do see the 'principled' argument. I don't personally buy it but I suppose Joe Lieberman really just does love standing up for his personal beliefs, even if he isn't supporting the wishes of the people of Connecticut.
I am not in the least bit surprised that CT voters want a public option. And I would imagine they opposed the Iraq war as well. This one may be his downfall, but at least he'll be voted out knowing that he did what he thought was right. Elections ensure that if his views and the views of his constituents are at odds, he will no longer represent them. So be it. But at least he stuck to his guns and didn't back down from his principles...again.
But what is he in favor of, exactly? It isn't like he has the Lieberman Plan or anything. If he had principles that he was clearly sticking to I'd be more behind it, but really he seems to be just shielding Aetna profits.
I don't know what he's in favor of. I wasn't commenting on Joe Lieberman's brilliant solution for health care, I was noting that he is willing to buck Democrats to oppose something he doesn't believe in. You can be principled against something as well as for something.
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