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August 10, 2006

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I thought of being bipartisan as the expectation that one would get a little for giving a litte. What did the Republicans ever give in exchange for the "bipartisan" votes of Vichy collaborators? Bipartisan politics only works if it is "bi".

I thought part of being bipartisan as the expectation that one would get a little for giving a litte. What did the Republicans ever give in exchange for the "bipartisan" votes of Vichy collaborators? Bipartisan politics only works if it is "bi".

What did the Republicans ever give in exchange for the "bipartisan" votes of Vichy collaborators?

They refrain from calling Democratic collaborators traitors. At least until they stop collaborating.

Bipartisan politics only works if it is "bi".

I don't think the current crop of Republicans go in for that sort of thing.

I don't think the current crop of Republicans go in for that sort of thing.

i'm not so sure. remember wonkette?

(Sorry; TimesSelect.) s/b (Thank merciful Heaven for TimesSelect.)

Ever since I've been prevented from idly reading David Brooks, my days are brighter.

Hilzoy,

On the one hand, you seem to (rightly) be uncomfortable with Republicans that "march in lockstep," yet, you would seem to be demanding that Democrats do the exactly the same thing - by kicking Lieberman out for not being on message and criticizing other Democrats.

There's a conceiveable pragmatic political benefit to the party in doing so; but lockstep party loyalty inevitably comes at the price of moral and intellectual dishonesty.

(I say this, being originally from Connecticut, and I could never stomach Lieberman and would be so happy to see him go if it weren't for the fact that Lamont seems to be an even more lightweight dope.)

Hmm...I don't see hilzoy anywhere with the lockstep-urging, Jonas.

"yet, you would seem to be demanding that Democrats do the exactly the same thing"

Hardly. The things Lieberman has been criticized for are very specific; Democrats are famously all over the lot on all sorts of issues. Joe Lieberman's sin is primarily that which is symbolized by his famous hug of President Bush, and the fact that he's the Democrat Republicans love to use against other Democrats. But there's no mass Democratic movement to get either of the Senators Nelson out of office, and they both vote more conservatively and more in line with Republicans, than Joe Lieberman ever has.

Incidentally, do you also feel that Republicans who are unimpressed with Senator John McCain are demanding that Republicans march in lockstep?

McCain, after all, has a solidly conservative record overall.

Slarti,

Hmm...I don't see hilzoy anywhere with the lockstep-urging, Jonas.

You're right, I'm on thin ice, but given her enthusiasm for seeing Lieberman driven out, it seems like defacto urging in its result.

Gary,

The things Lieberman has been criticized for are very specific; Democrats are famously all over the lot on all sorts of issues.

It doesn't matter that the Lieberman criticisms are specific (so are mine about him.) It's pretty clear that if he's not allowed to be "in the Party" as it were, the lot Democrats are "all over" isn't very big.

Joe Lieberman's sin is primarily that which is symbolized by his famous hug of President Bush, and the fact that he's the Democrat Republicans love to use against other Democrats.

It's the hug that drives me to irrational displeasure about this whole thing - the fact that this makes Democrats furious makes me roll my eyes and pour yet another drink.

I don't care that Republicans use Leiberman or anyone else against Democrats. I bitch about Democrats nearly constantly, my Republican friends do the same about their fellow party members and leaders too. There's no way to be a partisan "team player" and be honest. It's impossible. I can condemn Lieberman for his issues, but I can't condemn him for not twisting himself into an ideological pretzel to get with the rest of the party.

Incidentally, do you also feel that Republicans who are unimpressed with Senator John McCain are demanding that Republicans march in lockstep?

Seems that way to me. Every time McCain is in the news, it's a non-stop bitch fest on talk radio that is a mirror-world reflection of what's being said about Lieberman today.

McCain, after all, has a solidly conservative record overall.

With exceptions. And Lieberman had a solidly "progressive" record overall with exceptions like Iraq & Schiavo.

"It's pretty clear that if he's not allowed to be 'in the Party' as it were, the lot Democrats are "all over" isn't very big."

I don't see it. Democrats are as disparate as ever. That doesn't mean Democrats aren't allowed to vote someone off the island now and again.

But to look at all the Democrats in Congress, and say they're all in "lockstep" and their lot "isn't very big," just seems to fly in the face of reality to me.

* Joe Baca (California)
* John Barrow (Georgia)
* Melissa Bean (Illinois)
* Marion Berry (Arkansas)
* Sanford Bishop (Georgia)
* Dan Boren (Oklahoma)
* Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
* Allen Boyd (Florida)
* Dennis Cardoza (California)
* Ed Case (Hawaii)
* Ben Chandler (Kentucky)
* Jim Cooper (Tennessee)
* Jim Costa (California)
* Bud Cramer (Alabama)
* Lincoln Davis (Tennessee)
* Harold Ford, Jr. (Tennessee)
* Jane Harman (California)
* Stephanie Herseth (South Dakota)
* Tim Holden (Pennsylvania)
* Steve Israel (New York)
* Jim Marshall (Georgia)
* Jim Matheson (Utah)
* Mike McIntyre (North Carolina)
* Charlie Melancon (Louisiana)
* Mike Michaud (Maine)
* Dennis Moore (Kansas)
* Collin Peterson (Minnesota)
* Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
* Mike Ross (Arkansas)
* John Salazar (Colorado)
* Loretta Sanchez (California)
* Adam Schiff (California)
* David Scott (Georgia)
* John Tanner (Tennessee)
* Ellen Tauscher (California)
* Gene Taylor (Mississippi)
* Mike Thompson (California)

Wanna tell me they're all lockstep liberals? In the Senate: Ben Nelson? Ken Salazar? Bill Nelson? Lockstep?

Lieberman isn't being purged. He is being voted out of office. In my country, we call that `democracy'.

I don't get why Democrats should feel they have to keep on people who don't represent them.

I don't think bipartisanship is much of a virtue in general, or, at the least, not as much as solidarity and truth in advertising is.

I bitch about Democrats nearly constantly, my Republican friends do the same about their fellow party members and leaders too.

And more power to them. The Democrats bitch about the Democrats too, fwiw; it's a bipartisan sport, and more power to us all. What's not acceptable is not just bitching about your team, but giving the other team permanent rhetorical cover under which they're dismantling everything your team -- your party -- your country -- supposedly stands for. That's not ok at all, and if one can't manage even that little bit of grace and discipline, then one shouldn't be too surprised if one receives a firm boot up the ass and out of the party... as Lieberman has just discovered.

OOC, anyone have a sense for how much anti-Republican bitchery was allowed within GOP ranks back when they could maintain the facade that everything was peaches and cream (say late-2001 to mid-2003)? Any idea what fate might have befallen a Republican turncoat in those days? Or even just someone who was unthrilled with Bush Administration and took every opportunity to point this out?

allowed, Anarch? What's the penalty for bitching without permission?

What's the penalty for bitching without permission?

Well, in Joseph Wilson's case, the penalty for "bitching without permission" was having his wife's covert identity blown - finishing her career.

Joe Wilson was within the GOP ranks? Who knew?

Speaking of which, though, this may cut in many different directions.

Brooks writes: "The McCain-Lieberman Party counters with constant reminders that country comes before party, that in politics a little passion energizes but unmarshaled passion corrupts, and that more people want to vote for civility than for venom."

Yeah, but what about when EGO comes before all. Both McC and Joe LOOOOOVE see themselves on TV more than anything else--they love how their "outsider" status gets them on talkshows. Remember, both of these guys think THEY should be THE president.

That ticket idea frightens and disgusts me in equal measure. Let the cheerleading begin!

Jonas, ss has been pointed out, ad nauseum as the point, the hard core GOPers have been actively working to purge the RINOs from their midst for some time now. Schwarz in Michigan, Chafee in Rhode Island and Specter in Pennsylvania have come under attack from the Hair Club for Growth for ideological impurity.

From this end, it looks to me like the GOP tent is a heck of a lot smaller than the Democratic tent. As for Joe Lieberman, if you didn't want to get kicked out of the tent, maybe you shouldn't have urinated in it quite so much.

What's the penalty for bitching without permission?

there' a pretty long list of former cabinet members who could probably answer that question.

Well, anyone who cared to look up the facts

Yes, there are a few facts that are pertinent, such as that Wilson never was part of the GOP ranks. Less, even, than I ever was. But let's do some of that looking-up, shall we?

In the mid-eighties, Wilson worked for Al Gore as a congressional staffer. In 2000, he donated both to Vice President Gore’s and to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns.[4] In 2003, he formally endorsed John Kerry for President and donated $2,000 to his campaign.[5] Wilson was a supporter and donor to the Kerry/Edwards campaign for the presidency and served as an advisor and speechwriter in a "prominent role" for the Kerry campaign in 2003 and 2004 [6]. He has made contributions to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, such as Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Congressman Charles B. Rangel of New York, and to Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California.[7] He has also spoken to activist groups like Win Without War, a nonpartisan coalition of groups which oppose the war in Iraq. According to Scott Shane of The New York Times, "Despite conservatives' efforts to portray him as a left-wing extremist, [Wilson] insisted he remained a centrist at heart. But after his tangle with the current administration, he admits 'it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for a Republican, even for dog catcher.'"

Joe Wilson, VRWC hatchetman. That Wilson has associated with members of both parties isn't exactly confirmation that he was ever "within the GOP ranks".

Anyone who bothered to do even a modicum of research and not just repeat, mindlessly, what Karl Rove wants you to think.

Stunning argument: I let Karl Rove do my thinking for me. How does one respond to such a blind assertion, except with contempt?

That aside, your style of argumentation seems...strangely familiar. It's almost as if I've seen it before.

Wilson's donations and political actions post-retaliation are, umm, a little bit after the fact, no ?

But the ones before aren't, are they? And having been a Gore staffer before isn't, is it?

Excuse me for not editing the irrelevancies; I'm probably way too attached pasting entire passages rather than just cherry-picking the good bits.

Jonas: "if he's not allowed to be "in the Party"..."

He's welcome to be in the party. I just wouldn't vote for him if I lived in CT. And it's not about his toeing the line on this or that specific issue. Even on Iraq -- where lots of people who supported the war are pretty clearly not being driven from office, etc. -- it's not so much his having supported it that bothers me as his apparent belief that everything is peachy, and that there is no need to reassess his position in any respect -- where 'any respect' doesn't include just reassessing his support for the war, but e.g. reassessing his view that it's going well, etc. That strikes me as a failure of judgment.

But what bothers me more than that is the combination of his willingness to claim for himself the right to define who is and who is not "serious about security", or principled, or a person who remembers that we were attacked on 9/11, etc., with his having been pretty clearly wrong on a number of these points, and not being willing to rethink them.

All that said, however, I would have supported him had he won the primary. (His opponent seems to be an idiot.) But he didn't.

allowed, Anarch? What's the penalty for bitching without permission?

In the case of cabinet officials, being fired or, I suppose, being publicly reprimanded. In the case of Congressmen, either having a more tractable candidate groomed by the central GOP command to run against them or by having RNC funds denied them or by having a bitchsmackdown delivered by the Majority Leader (cf Arlen Specter) until they're beat back into submission. The usual.

OT, I just got called a lefty earlier this morning. It's been since our wee troll noah came a-calling that that happened last.

Ah, being unaffiliated does have its ups and downs. In the space of an hour I'm both the unwitting sockpuppet of Karl Rove and an unrepentant lefty. Good times.

Krugman on Lieberman puts my basic problem with him better than I could:

"Take a look at Thomas Ricks’s “Fiasco,” the best account yet of how the U.S. occupation of Iraq was mismanaged. The prime villain in that book is Donald Rumsfeld, whose delusional thinking and penchant for power games undermined whatever chances for success the United States might have had. Then read Mr. Lieberman’s May 2004 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, “Let Us Have Faith,” in which he urged Mr. Rumsfeld not to resign over the Abu Ghraib scandal, because his removal “would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America’s presence in Iraq.”

And that’s just one example of Mr. Lieberman’s bad judgment. He has been wrong at every step of the march into the Iraq quagmire — all the while accusing anyone who disagreed with him of endangering national security. Again, on what planet would Mr. Lieberman be considered “sensible”? But I know the answer: on Planet Beltway. (...)

Imagine yourself as a politician or pundit who was gung-ho about invading Iraq, and who ridiculed those who warned that the case for war was weak and that the invasion’s aftermath could easily turn ugly. Worse yet, imagine yourself as someone who remained in denial long after it all went wrong, disparaging critics as defeatists. Now denial is no longer an option; the neocon fantasy has turned into a nightmare of fire and blood. What do you do?

You could admit your error and move on — and some have. But all too many Iraq hawks have chosen, instead, to cover their tracks by trashing the war’s critics.

They say: Pay no attention to the fact that I was wrong and the critics have been completely vindicated by events — I’m “sensible,” while those people are crazy extremists. And besides, criticizing any aspect of the war encourages the terrorists.

That’s what Joe Lieberman said, and it’s what his defenders are saying now.

Now, it takes a really vivid imagination to see Mr. Lieberman’s rejection as the work of extremists. I know that some commentators believe that anyone who thinks the Iraq war was a mistake is a flag-burning hippie who hates America. But if that’s true, about 60 percent of Americans hate America. The reality is that Ned Lamont and those who voted for him are, as The New York Times editorial page put it, “irate moderates,” whose views are in accord with those of most Americans and the vast majority of Democrats.

But in his non-concession speech, Mr. Lieberman described Mr. Lamont as representative of a political tendency in which “every disagreement is considered disloyal” — a statement of remarkable chutzpah from someone who famously warned Democrats that “we undermine the president’s credibility at our nation’s peril.”

The question now is how deep into the gutter Mr. Lieberman’s ego will drag him.

There’s an overwhelming consensus among national security experts that the war in Iraq has undermined, not strengthened, the fight against terrorism. Yet yesterday Mr. Lieberman, sounding just like Dick Cheney — and acting as a propaganda tool for Republicans trying to Swift-boat the party of which he still claims to be a member — suggested that the changes in Iraq policy that Mr. Lamont wants would be “taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England.”

In other words, not only isn’t Mr. Lieberman sensible, he may be beyond redemption."

Thomas Ricks. This Thomas Ricks?

KURTZ: All right, Matthew Chance, stand by, thank you for that report. We will come back to you.

And joining us now here Washington Anne Compton who covers the White House for ABC News, and Thomas Ricks, Pentagon reporter for "The Washington Post" and author of the new book "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq."

Tom Ricks, you've covered a number of military conflicts, including Iraq, as I just mentioned. Is civilian casualties increasingly going to be a major media issue? In conflicts where you don't have two standing armies shooting at each other?

THOMAS RICKS, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it will be. But I think civilian casualties are also part of the battlefield play for both sides here. One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.

KURTZ: Hold on, you're suggesting that Israel has deliberately allowed Hezbollah to retain some of it's fire power, essentially for PR purposes, because having Israeli civilians killed helps them in the public relations war here?

RICKS: Yes, that's what military analysts have told me.

KURTZ: That's an extraordinary testament to the notion that having people on your own side killed actually works to your benefit in that nobody wants to see your own citizens killed but it works to your benefit in terms of the battle of perceptions here.

RICKS: Exactly. It helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.

His ability to form conclusions from data are not exactly impressive, in this case.

But yes, in general I agree with this disagreement=disloyalty=treason equality profoundly. That Lieberman's playing that game absolutely makes him a prime candidate for ouster. It's not that I don't think there's any inappropriate speechmaking, it's that I think such things deserve a different kind of response. Walk down the road of treason and you're eventually going to get to trials, verdicts and executions. That's what treason is all about.

Slarti: I don't know anything about what Ricks is talking about in that quote, and it's a line of thought I normally have to be driven to. I would note, however, that Ricks is in general a good defense reporter who (by all accounts) has very good sources within the military. And Fiasco, which I'm currently in the middle of, is very good.

Agreed on treason. I think that there absolutely is such a thing as treason; that being so, I obviously don't think that accusations of treason are inherently out of bounds. However, I do think that they are one of those accusations -- like accusations of pedophilia, or of participating in genocide, or some other utterly abhorrent thing -- that are serious enough that they should never, ever be made as rhetorical flourishes.

I'll go one step further and say that the accusations that this action or that speech emboldens the enemy are completely unfounded and are a poor substitute for a response on the issues. If for no other reason that by making that claim, one declares that such things embolden the enemy. See here, enemy? This encourages you!

Is the writer of this emboldening the enemy? Is that his intent?

When I first alerted the public about the growing civil war in Iraq back in February 2005, those cautions were dismissed or ignored. Yet in all the time since, the fire has been growing in Iraq, while people here quibble over the pros and cons of using terms such as “sectarian violence” versus “civil war.” Painfully silly. It’s as if firefighters rushed to a conflagration and instead of recognizing it for what it is, fighting it for what it is, calling it what is, instead of unrolling hoses, the firefighters instead began arguing over radios and loudspeakers about whether to call the fire a conflagration or an inferno. And while they argued, people were burning to death, and the blaze was spreading, and firefighters were being surrounded.

Despite incredible progress in Iraq, we are now in great peril of losing the war entirely. At the current rate, we will witness genocide as a nation rips itself apart along sectarian seams.

Brooks's reference to "the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party," is baffling. Is he actually equating the fomer Speaker with anonymous chatterers on websites like this one? This is surely the reductio ad absurdum of moral equivalency reasoning.

It is not enough to deplore the lockstep voting and scorched-earth partisan attitude of Republicans; we need to solve it. "Elect Democrats" is not a solution: Democrats are for now less lockstep and partisan, but that may not continue; and if they cannot work with the opposing party, they will simply look ineffective. Moreover, past Democratic victories have merely made the Republicans join ranks even more fervently -- and this strategy has been generally effective for them, so it is unlikely they will deviate far from it.

As far as I can tell, the solution lies with Congressional procedural rules and campaign finance regulation. Throughout the last 20 years, the Republican party apparatus has become more centralized and ideological, and also more indispensable to individual campaigns. At the same time, and especially in the Republican Congresses, the Congressional committees have gotten more firmly under the thumbs of their chairs, and their chairs (and membership)more firmly controlled by the majority leadership. The result is that a Republican Representative or Senator cannot run for office or advance legislation without the active aid of the party leadership. And that leadership demands complete loyalty.

That's where my knowledge stops -- I don't understand the minutiae well enough to suggest specific fixes of the rules and laws. Any thoughts by those who know more would be appreciated.

"Joe Wilson was within the GOP ranks? Who knew?"

President George Bush did. President George H. W. Bush. At any rate, he thought most highly of Joe Wilson. I realize the facts have been obscured by all the sliming from the crazed extremists calling themselves "Republicans" of the past few years.

Wilson:

Wilson was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service from 1976 through 1998. From 1988 to 1991, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He was hailed as "truly inspiring" and "courageous" by George H. W. Bush after sheltering more than one hundred Americans at the embassy, despite Saddam Hussein's threats to execute anyone who refused to hand over foreigners. As a result, in 1990, he also became the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein (Wilson, 2003). When Saddam sent a note to Wilson (along with other embassy heads in Iraq) threatening to execute anyone sheltering foreigners in Iraq, Wilson publicly repudiated the dictator by appearing at a press conference wearing a homemade noose around his neck and saying "If the choice is to allow American citizens to be taken hostage or to be executed, I will bring my own fucking rope."

Prior to that he was a professional diplomat.

President Bush (H.W.) said of Wilson:

"Your courageous leadership during this period of great danger for American interests and American citizens has my admiration and respect. I salute, too, your skillful conduct of our tense dealings with the government of Iraq....The courage and tenacity you have exhibited throughout this ordeal prove that you are the right person for the job."
Perhaps not a Republican, but honored by the head of the Republican Party, the former chair of the Republican Party, and appointed to be his Ambassador more than once.

At any rate, he thought most highly of Joe Wilson.

I thought most highly of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but that didn't make him a Republican. The rest of what you wrote: not arguing counter to any of it; not sure why you brought it up. Why you sought fit to link the same Wikipedia entry on Wilson that I linked to, I can only scratch my head.

Perhaps not a Republican

Ok, then. This is, after all, all I was saying.

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