Friday, August 25, 2006

Damned if you do....

The "Far Side" cartoons hit our family at the right time, when just about everyone could appreciate the wierd things that happened there. Somewhere in the home are some old books made of selected cartoons. We still often quote punchlines to each other.
A favorite of mine showed a scene in hell in which a reluctant man was getting a little pitchfork jab from one of the devils impatient for the man to choose between two doors - one was labeled "Damned if you do" with the other "Damned if you don't". "C'mon," the impatient servant of Satan was saying, "Choose one or the other."
The current event which brings this up is the recent Democratic Senate Primary in Connecticut between incumbent Joe Lieberman and challenger Ned Lamont. You may recall that Lamont actually won the Primary, but that Lieberman has stayed in the contest and is now running as an Independent.
It was pretty easy afterwards to see that the GOP's "talking points" apparatus still carries great weight, whether other items (war in Lebanon) get the most coverage or not. What a shame, all the usual columnists and radio Right advocates all said with remarkable unity, that Joe Lieberman had lost his Primary fight. Terrific guy, friend to Israel, not just another limp-wristed, anti-war Democrat - a true gentleman. We'll all miss him along with Sam Nunn, Zell Miller (!) and other "principled" Democrats (meaning those Democrats who can be counted on to switch sides on certain issues). This proves, the chorus added, that the Democrats actually have no room for their so-called "diversity", and represent just a small tent of gutless, dope-smoking ex-hippies.
But suppose Lieberman had actually WON the Primary - we would than have heard something like this: "The Democrats have proven that they have no real convictions by sticking with Joe Lieberman, a hack who tweeks the Party by continuing to support President Bush in the War On Terror. When the going gets tough, Democratic voters just stick to the Old Guard who have cost them so many BIG elections in the last two decades. The rank and file are just like Kerry - flip-flpping all over the place, hoping the rest of the US won't notice. Pathetic."
And you could find bits of truth in both these rants. Lots of senators DO like Joe L. as a person, but, yes, the Party is clearly now more anti-war than it was a couple of years ago. And yes, sometimes BOTH parties hang on to old guys whose productive days are long gone. But could anyone doubt that Lieberman deserved a challenge after pretty much completely siding with Bush in all the neocon-led decisions that put us in the spot we're in? He faced a modern challenger in Lamont, a guy with little history, but plenty of money - a little like GWB himself in 2000. Lamont won, fair and square, but will be stuck with Lieberman on his right throughout the campaign (the GOP guy being a non-factor here), making Cheney-like declarations about who AlQuaeda wants to win. Scare tactics 101 from someone who should know better, but can't get himself to let go. He should be the leader of the Anti-Defammation League.
One more quick illustration on how the GOP hate machine can function. Remember when Clinton finally authorized NATO bombing of Serbia in order to speed the end of the Bosnia Herzegovina/Kosovo conflict? Howls of opposition from the GOP. But when bombing ended a few weeks later with the desired results and ZERO casualties, the same people howled AGAIN, this time for STOPPING the bombing. History can change, but the whole affair looks like a gold-plated winner today compared to the botching of Iraq. Too bad the neocons took their rhetoric as truth when they got into office determined to do EVERYTHING differently from the hated Clinton. And too bad they didn't notice what had actually WORKED.


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