Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Lieberman Outrage


Though it hasn't happened yet, it is appearing increasingly likely that Senate Democrats -- led by Barack Obama (who seems to be playing a much more active role in all of this than his spokesperson yesterday suggested) -- are going to choose Joe Lieberman to serve as their Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the next Congress. If that happens, there will be one important silver lining: it will remind many people, who have understandably forgotten due to the euphoria last week, exactly what most Beltway Democrats are, what their priorities and beliefs are, and to whose opinions and concerns they do and do not pay attention.

It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn -- rightfully so -- over the last several years, and particularly since 2006. This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place); massively expanded the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers; immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed it with virtually no changes; didn't even bother to mount a filibuster to stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and on and on and on. None of that has changed. That is still who they are.

Joe Lieberman didn't merely campaign against Barack Obama and several other Democrats. That's the least of his sins. He was not only among the most vocal supporters of the Iraq War, but at least as bad, has endorsed and supported every last radical Bush policy to expand executive power and surveillance activities while destroying core constitutional liberties and checks and balances. He used his Chairmanship for only one purpose: to block oversight into Bush scandals and corruption. He has spouted the most defamatory attacks, not only against Barack Obama, but against war opponents generally. More significantly still, Democrats in his own state -- his own constituents -- booted him out of the party, no longer wanting to be represented by him.

That is who Senate Democrats appear well on their way to selecting to serve as their Chairman of Homeland Security, of all committees. That's because nothing that Lieberman has done really bothers them. Endorsing the Iraq War and the full panoply of radical Bush policies isn't disqualifying in the least because so many of them also endorsed that and support it, or, at the very least, it's not a priority for them. They care even less what their "base" thinks, what the so-called "Left" wants. Few things in this world are less likely than them ever taking even a mild stand -- such as stripping Lieberman of his Chair -- in order to defend some sort of political principle, or to punish ineptitude, or to announce that there are certain lines to the Right that can't be crossed. They don't do that. They never have. And it shouldn't surprise anyone that they won't now.