Sunday, August 13, 2006

jim hoagland, still doing mind-altering drugs

Again I'm forced to conclude that Jim Hoagland is not always entirely clearminded when he writes his column. Last week it was the idea that career diplomats at the State Department actually determined policy.

This week's sad example of how dangerous it is to write a political column while psychopharmaceutically impaired is Hoagland's homage to Joe "Kiss Me, George" Lieberman. Much the same crap about what foolishness Connecticut Democrats have committed by not renominating Lieberman.

A couple of particularly silly points. First, the idea of Lieberman (who, despite my recent criticisms, is not that bad a guy when he's thinking straight) as an insurgent is delightfully droll. Insurgents usually rebel against those in power. Lieberman is basically throwing a fit over being rejected. He shouldn't run.

Second, Hoagland criticizes the Democratic Party leadership for supporting Ned Lamont. That's stupid. First, they ALL supported Lieberman for renomination. But when the primary voters make a choice, assuming they haven't selected a David Duke-like untouchable, party leadership will always rally to the duly-nominated candidate. That's normal.

Hoagland also criticizes Lamont for being rich and being backed by rich people. Jim, I'd be delighted to see you expand that area of criticism, which could be applied to about 90% of elected Republicans in the White House and in Congress -- and probably a similar level of Democrats. (In this race, it was irrelevant as an issue, and the Lieberman's aren't exactly living paycheck-to-paycheck either. But it does show again that it takes serious money to defeat an incumbent, and sometimes the easiest source is the candidate's own checking account. But that's a different problem.)

Then Hoagland chides Connecticut voters for mistaking anger for political wisdom. Anger is a legitimate response for voters if they think a politician hasn't represented them adequately. Expressing that opinion at the polling place is the right thing to do. It's not like they nominated a member of the Communist Party.

Finally, turning to Iraq, Hoagland opines:
For that we need serious politicians working together to craft a bipartisan and realistic effort to find an honorable exit from Iraq, where the U.S. presence risks becoming not only ineffective but intolerable to the Iraqis themselves. That in turn means reshaping the U.S. strategic presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.
OK, I actually agree about reshaping the US presence in the Middle East. No question one of the root causes of terrorism is American policy in the region.

But it takes two to tango. The de facto Bush Administration and Republican leadership in Congress has refused any bipartisan approach for the past 5 1/2 years. Democrats who were suckered into bipartisan deals have been shafted. Ask Ted Kennedy about the results of his bipartisan work with the White House on education reform -- an early example that helped establish the tone of thise White House's "my way or the highway" approach to governing.

And this GOP regime has politicized national security to an unprecedented degree. Ask former Senator Max Cleland, who left three limbs in Vietnam, who Rove portrayed as an Al Qaeda sympathizer for having the nerve to want to protect labor rights of federal employees being redeployed into the new Department of Homeland Defense.

Frankly, Lieberman's tragic flaw was failure to recognize that he was getting NOTHING back from the Rove-Bush-Cheney crowd for his cooperation. Except for that kiss, I mean, and a few slobbery tributes from Dick Cheney that were actually back-handed swipes at Democrats. As much as showing anger over Mr. Bush's War, Connecticut voters were assessing Joe Lieberman's political judgement in remaining so close to the GOP regime despite the lack of any significant returns on his support, and they found it wanting.