Friday, November 10, 2006
Well, it didn't work. Turns out Senator Lieberman is onto something, and national candidates better take note. In a three party race in which Lieberman ran as a prowar independent, his policy positions captured 50% of the vote. The Republican, a virtual unknown, captured 10%. That means that the prowar vote, in deep blue Connecticut, was 60%. The antiwar vote, in deep blue Connecticut, was 40%. And that was a maxed out, heavily funded, party machinery-driven, antiwar vote.
Politicians take note. A substantial majority of this country's voting citizenry wants to win in Iraq, win in Afghanistan and defeat expansionist Islamism. I happen to believe (rather optimistically, and perhaps naively) that Democrats, having won control of Congress, are about to join the war, rather than retreat from it. I know that position seems a hopeless dream perhaps, but I believe that at least a portion of their national leadership (i.e., the Clintons) cannot help but take note of their friend Joe Lieberman's victory -- in deep blue Connecticut.
You are correct, of course. But it's also worth noting that the Lamont supporters were ONLY able to beat Lieberman (narrowly!) in the primary through a furious last-minute campaign to register independents specifically to vote for Lamont. So it isn't even a matter of the Dems changing their mind --a majority of them had not backed Lamont in the first place!
By the way, there's a bit of deja vu here. Few outside CT (and some other devoted readers of National Review) even know how Lieberman first won this seat. Back in 1988 William Buckley started a campaign to oust leftwing GOP Senator Lowell Weicker by voting for Lieberman. (My wife and I, living in CT at the time, joined that group... the ONLY time we've voted for a Dem for such a high office.) Though we would all have preferred a viable Republican, we recognized Lieberman as strong in a few key areas, and a man of far greater character than the one he replaced. I'm sure that history made it easier for Republicans to support him this time out.
Here is different conclusion from the same facts: Perhaps instead of voting FOR the war, they were voting FOR Lieberman. Maybe the election wasn't a referendum on the war. Perhaps it was just an election. Perhaps drawing sweeping conclusions is an excercise of a weak mind.
Well friends, I live and vote in Connecticut. I've got a different take on it than CP, and have to agree with anonymous; there was lots more going on in "the land of steady habits" than simply a referendum on the war:
The folks who stuck with Joe did so because Lamont was a one trick pony, a lightweight, and had little to offer besides a poke in the eye of the hawks. The seat was not going to go Republican (clearly, with just 10% for entertaining but nonviable Republican candidate and strong Republican support for Lieberman) so Democrats did not need to worry about keeping this Senate seat.
Instead, Connecticut voted on a bunch of issues in addition to the war. We threw out two of our three Republican Congresspeople (in my district it was Nancy Johnson who lost in all but six towns and so also lost her seat of 24 years). Nancy went ultra negative on advice from Bush administration strategists and it turned out to be a snake that bit her hand. Chris Shays (C4) is now the only Republican from New England in the House of Representatives, and he had a fight to keep his seat. There was a very strong desire for new leadership in Congress across our region.
We kept our Republican governor because we like her and she is efective, and my Republican state senator Andrew Rorabach for the same reason. But in this state we wanted effective leadership and strong voices from the region at the national level, and we weren't getting that in Congress from the Republicans. We knew as well, despite his cosiness with Bush, that we'd get it from Joe, but could not say the same for Lamont.
As a life-long Connecticutian, I have to agree with this. The election was less about the war than Democrats would like to admit.
On an unrelated note, I had a bit of fun tonight and wrote my own news story about the recent al-Qa'ida message regarding the election. Enjoy.
Iraq Al-Qa’ida threatens White House, Congratulates fellow Democrats
AL-QA’IDA'S Iraq chief threatened overnight in an audio message posted on the Internet that the terror network will "blow up the White House" and offered to meet with incoming Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi to strategize.
"We announce today the end of a phase of the jihad (holy war) and the start of a new one... to usher in the project of an Islamic caliphate and restore Islam's glory, and to take the White House for the Democrats in 2008, God willing!" Abu Hamza al-Muhajer said.
“With our noble brothers in Jihad now in control of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Defense Armed Services Committee, and the House Ethics Panel, we will surely strike a blow for the Caliphate against the idolatrous American people. We will raise their taxes, plunder their savings and, God willing, cause the defeat of the American army in Iraq as we Democrats have always done throughout our glorious history, praise God!”
The authenticity of the message could not be independently confirmed, but experts at the CIA said the speaker on the tape sounded authentic. “Yes,” said staff operations officer Last Name Withheld, “it sounds like a typical tape we would receive from al-Qa’ida or the Democratic National Committee. We put the probability of its authenticity at 99.5%”
"The location chosen by your mujahedeen brethren to set up their state... is but a stepping stone for the leap," Muhajer said, referring to the "Islamic state of Iraq, New York City, and San Francisco" proclaimed last month.
An alliance of Sunni insurgents headed by the Iraq branch of Al-Qa’ida announced the creation of an independent Islamic emirate in Iraq in a video posted on the Internet on October 15, after parliament in Baghdad approved a federal constitution for the war-ravaged country. Branch officers were established in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Berkeley, California.
In Friday's message, Muhajer said he had mobilized 12,000 fighters for the Islamic state and was grooming 10,000 more. Muhajer said his primary recruiting ground was the messages boards at Moby.com and Daily Kos.
"I tell the commander of the faithful, the honourable Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi: I have put 12,000 Al-Qaeda fighters at the disposal of the Islamic state of Iraq and the Democratic National Committee to prepare for the 2008 elections," Muhajer said, pledging allegiance to the state's emir Howard “scream machine for Allah” Dean.
The Al-Qa’ida chief appealed to major Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, notably the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Mujahedeen's Army, and moveon.org to endorse the self-styled state and pledge allegiance to its emir and the flag of the former Soviet Union.
Muhajer slammed US President George W. Bush, gloated over his Republican party's defeat in mid-term elections widely attributed to US involvement in Iraq, and said US forces occupying the country were preparing to cut and run. He also stated his intent to organize a new concert at Woodstock, NY.
"The enemy is now teetering under the blows of the mujahedeen... and preparing to pack up and flee with the assistance of brother Jihadis Conyers, Pelosi, Kennedy and Murtha," he said.
"I thank the most stupid and worst president America - the country of slaves and drugs and hippies - has ever had for giving us this great historic opportunity, and for the dedicated members of DailyKos for helping to make it happen" said the voice.
"The American people have taken the first step on the right path in order to get out of their impasse and have started to realise the treachery of their president and his subordination to Israel, voting for a measure of reason in the latest elections," Muhajer said.
"I tell (Bush): don't hurry to flee like your defence minister (Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned on Wednesday). We have still not quenched our thirst for your blood. Wait until you see what John Conyers has planned for you."
Muhajer also charged that Mr Bush's policies had enabled Shiite Iran to spread its influence in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Last, he blamed Senator Edward Kennedy (D- Mass.) for drinking all the date wine at the recent Mujahideen Dream Team Scheme Meet.
"I happen to believe (rather optimistically, and perhaps naively) that Democrats, having won control of Congress, are about to join the war, rather than retreat from it. I know that position seems a hopeless dream perhaps..."
I hope you're right, but I don't think so. The majority of them voted against the war in 1991 ("let sanctions work"), so they could say they didn't vote for it if things went badly. It didn't go badly, and in fact went very well. Having guessed wrong the first time, they voted to go in this time, but carped about anything and everything along the way to try to hedge their bets (See: Kerry). Their safest political play now is to take credit for bringing the troops home and continue to blame Republicans for 1) going there in the first place; 2) poor planning and and 3) for the resulting chaos. Oh, and if there is another ist attack on the US in the meantime, blame that on Iraq too. I doubt they will suddenly grow spines.
This Administration took a huge political risk to do what they thought (and I think) was right and in the best interests of the country. Imagine last weeks' results if we just buried our heads in the sand and just let Sadaam go his merry way. The Republicans keep both houses, but Iraq develops their own nuclear program (with help from the French, Russians and UN money) to counter the threat from Iran.
I just don't see the present Democratic leadership putting the national interest before political expediency. Sorry, but I needed to vent.
I think they will join the war, principally by reigning in predatory banks, check cashing/MSBs, mortgage companies, beefing up the VA and forcing Dubya to toss out those "big government is bad government douchebags who used to run it. Enhance other family healthcare AND mental health programs with the VA and available DoD's successor to CHAMPUS. Getting rid of the war-profiteer contracts(oh if we can only burn out Halliburton), from security and constuction to health services, at home and over there. Extending benefits to National Guard vets. I short, all the crap the GOP seems to forget while they demand that we not "forgot our troops."
I would throw in a new GI Bill and other training incentives. After all, during and Post WWII, how many of your grandfathers and greatgrandfathers got type flight educations at universities they were either too poor or not smart enough to enter, or almost free loans, new housing, the list goes on...as a result of that kind of affirmative action? I think I'm going to email fellow author and MWA member Jim Webb right now...
LIeberman's figured out that if you stick your finger in the wind and spend a lot of money, you can win an election.
Applying your misreading of CT to the whole nation is among the lamer generalizations you've made.
CC seems to be set with a reflexive speech if the military is mentioned, however obliquely. Stay on topic, willya?
I believe this was more about Lieberman than about the war in Iraq. I wouldn't assume that everyone who voted for Lieberman is "prowar." Netroots and the lefty commenters here to the contrary, most people in the country are neither fully for nor against the war, but weigh a subtler question of "what are the gains and losses?" or even "what should we do next?"
The Democrats won a bare majority by successfully convincing enough people that what we are currently doing isn't good enough, while studiously avoiding much specificity about what they intend to do about it.
OK, while it makes sense to say that not all Lieberman voters were "pro-war", it is fairly safe to say that they weren't anti-war to any significant degree, since he has a pretty strong rep on that score. Which means that if there are any anti-war Democrats in states similar to CT they won't have an anti-war majority to lean on if things get difficult for them, plus they'll be in the minority in Congress. Most Dems are just waiting around for the Baker Commission to either hand them the plan they can't come up with themselves (for fear of looking like they're, well... cutting and running), or provide something new to push against. And if the Baker recommendations look at all reasonable and inspiring you can expect the Republicans to flush those anti-war Democrats out of the woodwork with firehoses, with their soggy scivvies still clinging to their glistening wet skin.
Because this ain't 1976...