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Betraying friends

Where have the Lieberman Democrats gone?

Issue: "Living a legend," Aug. 19, 2006

Connecticut's Aug. 8 primary cleaved the Democratic party into Lieberman Democrats and Lamont Democrats. But where have the Lieberman Democrats gone? Within hours of the politically inexperienced and anti-war Ned Lamont's come-from-behind victory (see p. 21), nary a named Democrat remained in Lieberman's camp. Even longtime friend and fellow Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd said Lamont "has earned the right to represent our party" in November.

Even conservatives doubted the Democrats could go so morally low. Imagine: framing one of their own leading lights as pro-Bush and pro-war (when in fact his voting record shows Lieberman to be more pro-defense than anything) in order to run away from the battles in Baghdad? Pretending that they didn't authorize the war (as did Lamont endorsers Dodd, Clinton, Kerry, Reid, Schumer, etc.) while turning from a fellow senator who did? Kissing good-bye to ranking membership on Homeland Security, Governmental Affairs, and Armed Services committees? Kissing up to the juvenile celeb-blogger DailyKos, whose idea of winning graciously is to call for Lieberman to be stripped of his committee assignments and to replace Alan Colmes on Fox? Staking a campaign on George Bush as Enemy No. 1 so thoroughly that al-Qaeda becomes a footnote?

A hint of this maneuvering came several days before the primary, when Sen. Hillary Clinton wrote defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld to plead that he make a public appearance at an Aug. 3 Armed Services committee hearing. Rumsfeld already was committed to a closed briefing with all senators that day, but agreed. Before the cameras Clinton did not ask questions of the secretary but read a prepared five-minute indictment meant to improve her anti-war bona fides. It concluded: "Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?" She later told reporters Rumsfeld should resign.

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Plainly Democrats are more interested in campaign strategy than war strategy. They should remember that campaign strategies carry short fuses in time of war.


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