Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pat Buchanan tries to explain why Joe shouldn't run?

"Joe, why are you doing this?"

That is a question Joe Lieberman will hear again and again from old friends, as he mounts his "independent" campaign for the Senate seat his own party voted on Tuesday to take away from him.

And there is no compelling answer Joe can give.

Joe insists he's a progressive Democrat in the mainstream of the party and has a voting record to prove it. But Ned Lamont is a progressive (i.e., liberal) Democrat, and the Connecticut party chose him as its Senate nominee, not Joe.

Joe could say Iraq is the dividing line and the critical issue facing America. But Tuesday's primary was a referendum on Iraq, and the Connecticut Democratic Party voted to declare itself antiwar. And Joe does not even intend to run as a war Democrat in November. For he knows it would drive away an even larger share of the Democratic and independent vote than he lost on Tuesday.

But if he will not run as a principled pro-war senator, what, then, is the argument for re-electing Joe? For the transparent conclusion is that his independent campaign is simply about Joe's unwillingness to accept the verdict of his party and give up his cherished Senate seat.


Joe Lieberman will, and should, run for senator, because he's the best senator for Connecticut, and the best Connecticut senator for America, and because most Connecticut voters support him for re-election. Connecticut's Democratic party wants to deprive Connecticut of a popular centrist senator, and force on them a partisan limousine liberal. There's no reason at all that Joe Lieberman should let them do that. What is so difficult to understand about that? Nothing at all; but there are a lot of people with an interest in pretending not to understand it.

Buchanan goes on to blast the Weekly Standard for speculating about Lieberman as a future Republican VP nominee:

In short, The Weekly Standard wishes to see, on a Republican ticket and a heartbeat away from the presidency, a proud liberal Democrat who supports partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, gay rights, affirmative action, reparations for slavery, gun control, higher taxes on the top 2 percent, distribution of condoms in public schools and driver's licenses for illegal aliens.

What does Joe oppose? School prayer, the American Legion's flag amendment, Sam Alito, drilling in the ANWAR and any phase-out of death taxes.

Last year, Joe's rating by Americans for Democratic Action was 80. The ACLU gave him an 83, the NAACP an 85, the AFL-CIO a 92, LULAC a perfect 100. In 2004, Joe got a 100 rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League and a zero from National Right to Life. His American Conservative Union rating was zero. His Christian Coalition rating was zero. The National Rifle Association, which grades by letters, gave Joe a big, fat "F."

But as long as you support war in Lebanon, war in Iraq and a "war-fighting Republican Party," in The Weekly Standard's phrase, you get a pass on everything else. Beat the drum for permanent war for global democracy and against Islamo-fascism, and all other sins are forgiven you.

Such is the state of conservatism, 2006.


Of course the idea of Lieberman as a Republican VP is a little implausible. But Buchanan is in no position to lecture anyone on being a conservative. Generally, I'm not a fan of quarreling over labels, and I'd rather let people call themselves what they want rather than try to purge people. But Pat Buchanan doesn't even support free trade, for heaven's sake. His ideas on foreign policy are close to Lenin's diatribes against imperialism, and he likes to deploy the rhetoric of class. Buchanan is closer to being a Marxist than to being a conservative. If the Democrats can purge Joe, isn't there some way that conservatives can purge Pat Buchanan for good?

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