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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Left, right, center: ‘Traitor Joe’ eats his cake too”

    Consider a man who thought it a “”good question”” to ask whether President-elect Barack Obama is a Marxist. Consider a man who falsely accused Obama of voting “”to cut off funding for our troops,”” said Obama had “”not always put country first,”” and said that the difference between Obama and Sen. John McCain was that “”Hamas endorsed Obama.””

    Consider all this, and then consider the fact that Democratic leaders in Congress overwhelmingly decided to let this man keep his job. They did that because, as you may have guessed, this man is that insider of Washington insiders, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.

    Senate Democrats voted 42-13 – “”by secret ballot,”” the Boston Globe noted – to allow Lieberman, a sworn turncoat and enemy of the Democratic Party, to keep his prestigious position as chairman of the Homeland Security panel. It was “”a bitter disappointment,”” the Los Angeles Times noted, “”to many of the same people who enthusiastically embraced Obama.””

    We are assured that keeping Lieberman was essential for the sake of “”bipartisanship.”” Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves who Lieberman is.

    This is the man who refused to endorse the Democratic Party in the 2006 congressional election. The man who warned his fellow Democrats not to criticize President Bush because “”in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.””

    The man who, after losing the Democratic primary in his own state, ran on his own hastily-assembled party and smeared his opponent as a racist. The man who pretended to oppose the Iraq War on the campaign trail, then called for a troop surge after his re-election.

    By the way, he was also McCain’s first choice for running mate.

    Joe Lieberman is no longer a Democrat. He’s not even friendly to the “”Democrat Party,”” as he condescendingly refers to it, aping the crudely ignorant lingo of right-wing demagogues. If they sincerely believed in the “”principles”” they allegedly fight for, the Democrats would have thrown him under John McCain’s Straight Talk Express and left him to the Republicans.

    So why didn’t they? Whatever the answer is, it certainly isn’t the one we’re being offered. The notion that Senate Democrats are too soft-hearted to throw their old chum Lieberman under the bus is a pleasant one, but difficult to take seriously. The likely answer is much more distressing.

    Why, after all, did Barack Obama emphasize “”change”” in his campaign, and why did it appeal to so many people? He surely didn’t mean merely that he would be a “”change”” from the Bush administration; any of the candidates would have been. What he meant was that his election would be a blow to the Washington establishment.

    So what message does this move send to voters?

    This one: “”The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question.”” Thus said an anonymous Senate Democratic aide to the Washington Post. In other words: We’ve got your vote, now leave us alone for the next four years.

    The Post then noted one possible result of letting Lieberman off the hook: “”the left”” – by which they mean anyone who differs with the Washington “”bipartisan”” agenda on anything -ÿmight become alienated and “”far less willing to go along and get along with President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda.”” Very likely, and certainly something you’d think that powerful politicians – who presumably want to keep voters on their side – would remember.

    Or maybe not. Here’s a frightening thought: Could it be that Democratic leaders don’t want Americans to remain active, interested citizens? That they want to thrust them back into cynical, apathetic silence? If so, what better way to do it than to try to turn voters against their own popular president?

    Is that why, against all reason, they eagerly tried to blame Obama for a decision they knew would be overwhelmingly unpopular with the so-called “”left”” -ÿthat is, with almost everyone who voted for Obama?

    “”I bet that Lieberman gets to keep his committee chairmanship because Obama has signaled that he wants him to.”” That was Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Nov. 11. “”If Barack can move on, so can we,”” said Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., on Nov. 19. “”The senators were quick to publicly credit Obama for their decision,”” declared the Los Angeles Times.

    The notion that this is being done because it’s what Obama wants is purely mendacious. Even if Obama did want Lieberman to keep his position it wouldn’t matter, because the president has no say at all over who gets to sit on congressional committees. The notion that powerful congressional leaders would voluntarily surrender their power to a new president who hasn’t even taken office also begs credibility.

    Let’s leave the last word to a man who knew something about political maneuvering himself. “”In politics, nothing happens by accident,”” said Franklin Roosevelt. “”If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.””


    – Justyn Dillingham is the opinions editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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