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Monday, August 14, 2006

Kennedy endorses Lieberman--the real reason why

--posted by Tony Garcia on 8/14/2006

The Endorsement

This is now a story a week old...and I am just now understanding the whole story behind it.
“At times like these, when our country is fighting a global War against radical jihadists, and there is so much at stake for our nation’s security, we must put politics aside. The arrests this morning in Great Britain make it clear that now, more than ever, this is an on-going battle and we need leaders in Washington who remain committed to doing what is right instead of what may be seen as politically advantageous.

“It’s in that spirit that I would like to offer my support for Sen. Joe Lieberman’s bid for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut. There are many things the Senator and I disagree on. In fact, I doubt he wants many Republican endorsements, given that millions of dollars have been spent attacking him for being too close to Republicans in fighting terrorism.

“But I have tremendous respect for Sen. Lieberman’s courage and his character. In the face of blistering negative attacks, he didn’t waffle, he didn’t back down from what he knew was right.

“Senator Lieberman put principle ahead of politics, which in these days is all too rare among Democrats in Washington.
Let us first remember how 'principled' Joe Lieberman was during the Clinton impeachment vote. "Perjury article: Not Guilty. Obstruction of justice article: Not Guilty." Yep...that looks like "Senator Lieberman put[ting] principle ahead of politics." How could anyone miss that? (I'm sorry, I will try to control the sarcasm.)

Moderate Joe Lieberman

Much has been made about Lieberman being a "moderate Democrat". I even go swept into it mistakenly calling him a "common sense Democrat" just over a month ago. I remembered the ordear from the Right in 2000 when he was initially picked to be Gore's running mate. Basically the Right was saying Lieberman had to sell his moderate soul to be the running mate on a liberal ticket...that he was chosen to pull the middle ground, etc. I never looked into this and was recently corrected when Jason Lewis pointed out Lieberman's recent American Conservative Union scores. I looked up the pre-2000 scores and found that if "moderate" describes Joe Lieberman then Sen Olympia Snowe is a conservative.


Lieberman's ACU score for 2005 was 8% (lower than both Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer) and for 2004 was 0%. Pre 2000 was much the same. 1992 = 22%, 1993 = 20%, 1994 = 8%, 1995 = 10%, 1996 = 35% (a high year that saw Boxer & Biden at 20%), 1997 = 20%, 1998 = 16%, 1999 = 0%, 2000 = 28%, 2001 = 20%, 2002 = 20%, 2003 = 7%.

Sounds like a moderate to me! (Whoops...that sarcasm again...I will try to watch that.)

Let us give you some perspective on the 2005 score (8%). That is more liberal than Mark Dayton (16%) and just a shade away from Martin Sabo (0%) and Betty McCollum (0%). Is that really "moderate"? I hope those in the GOP stop thinking so...otherwise it is proof that the GOP is really lost as far as a place for conservatives.

Party over Principles Show Up Again

So why would Kennedy do this?

(That is MARK Kennedy the "Republican" candidate in Minnesota, not Ted Kennedy the liberal Senator from Mass. In light of this endorsement it has become necessary to clarify.) The facade is that this proves Kennedy can "cross party lines". But why? If someone believes something there should not be a need to "cross lines" as it does not matter...believing in something would not be influenced by wanting to appear able to "cross party lines" or being "bi-partisan". This justification then is either proof that Kennedy's positions are not really rooted in principle and are subject to the need for appearances OR it is a convenient cover story.

So why would Kennedy do this?

This is the question that Marty posed to me during show prep yesterday. Fortunately I already figured out the answer and the "it is all clear" light bulb came on over Marty's head when he heard it. It is another symptom of the Party over Principles problem epidemic within the GOP. And the sufferers will not be able to see it.

The procession of beliefs vs party is as follows:
  • Principles regardless of Party
  • Principles in conjucntion with the Party
  • Principles to be balanced with the Party's needs
  • Party's needs to advance Principles
  • Party determines Principles
  • Party regardless of Principles
By the time you get to putting the Party in front of the Principles one begins to adopt the "Win at all costs" mentality. "We must win every election no matter what" and every election hearing "this is the most important election" are common utterances. I know...I have been there.

The real problem in being that far down on the scale is one is unable to realize when they crossover from 'fighting to win' to 'fighting to make the opponent lose'. There is where much of the GOP (candidates, office holders, leadership, members, etc) are residing. They are not focused so much on winning but on making the Democrats lose.

THIS is where it makes sense for Kennedy to endorse liberal Lieberman. Helping Lieberman win in November actually hurts the Republican candidate in that race. Helping Lieberman win in November does little, if anything, for the GOP nationally. Helping Lieberman win in November does more harm than good for conservatives. Helping Lieberman win in November hurts the Democrats in November at least in that race. Helping Lieberman win in November does not affect the liberal-conservative mix in the Senate.

A Lieberman victory now will only create 1 less "D" on the Senate roster, but not add another "R" on the Senate roster. It will not decrease the liberal count or even the count of those who caucus with the Democrats. The ONLY true reason (with any real goal) any "conservative" or GOPer would endorse Lieberman now is to help ensure a Democrat loss, not a Republican gain.

And to be in that mentality you must have abandoned principles to the point where the main drive is the defeat of the opposition Party above all else.

What It Says About Mark Kennedy

More directly troubling about Kennedy's endorsement is what it implies to us about what to expect from Senator Kennedy.

This endorsement shows us not that Mark can cross party lines. Who care, really, when it comes to an endorsement? If this is to show that he can "buck the party line" then look at how far Left Mark Kennedy is willing to go just to 'buck the party line'--willing to endorse an uber-liberal. Worse, this endorsement shows Mark to being susceptible to feeling required or obligated to oppose the party at times. If principles are above the party and the campaign then there will NEVER be a feeling of requirement or obligation in this manner.

To accept any of these about Mark is to accept that he is weak against 'peer pressure' or subject to poll driven policy making. (And didn't the Right tar-and-feather Clinton for doing just that?)

I think this endorsement shows something else. Look very closely at Mark's campaign website and you will see very little espousing a "smaller government" philosophy, only a "smaller than the Democrats" philosophy. You will also find no reason on his positions stated on his website that leads to hope that he will fight for Federalism, fight for state or local control. Many of his positions are what he wants the US Senate to do. Only one statement stated clearly that decisions should be handled at the local level (re: education) but was only a few sentences away from the stated goal of more federal grants for education.

This endorsement shows that Kennedy may not be a reliable small-government Republican as a Senator. A reliable Republican, sure, maybe. But that does not mean small-government and it obviously does not mean fiscal conservativism.

People have a tendency to look backwards at a candidate's old office to see how he will do in higher office. Rarely do people (pundits or the general public) look at all of the road signs. That is why so many people were shocked at how Jesse Ventura governed. By looking between the lines with a candidate you can see so much more. Read a candidate's position on education and you likely will very little about what to expect from them on education. For some reason we eat up positions on specific bills. That is irrelevant and useless as a glimpse in the future because THAT bill in it present form will not come before your candidate. They have an excuse to not follow through and you have nothing left to gauge the candidate on.

Look for the philosophies behind the issues. While reading their "education" positions what do you get about small gov't vs bigger gov't vs smaller-than gov't? What do these positions say about fiscal philosophies?

It is THAT analysis on Kennedy's positions that explains the endorsement of Lieberman...gotta go along to get along, and what better way to ingratiate yourself with a veteran on the other side of the aisle than to endorsement that veteran in a slam dunk race?

This endorsement should give pause to each and every single conservative within the borders of Minnesota. Kennedy may not be as strong of a conservative once in the Senate as he is being packaged up to be; Kennedy's actions are being dictating by things other than principles; without being guided by principles Kennedy has fallen into the goal of 'make the opponents lose'; Kennedy seems to be sticking his finger in the air to make decisions...be it to prove he can cross the aisle, etc.

Beware...for you have been forewarned. Not by me, but by his own actions and his own positions. I'm just the messenger.

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