Joe laments loss of the party of FDR, Truman, JFK

This is why I like Joe Lieberman so much — he’s always writing stuff that sounds like I wrote it myself, always giving me cause to think, Thank God I’m not alone here

Specifically, he wrote in an op-ed piece in today’s WSJ:

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?…

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

He goes on to lament how this unraveled over Vietnam. He writes wistfully of efforts by such Democrats as himself (remember the Third Way?) to pull the party back from a condition in which it blamed America for all its international troubles, as the party became "prisoner to a foreign policy philosophy that was, in most respects, the antithesis of what Democrats had stood for under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy."

There are flaws in the piece, admittedly. He uses the inaccurate common terminology, referring to this trend toward self-loathing isolationism as a move "to the left" — when I would assert that it is the rejection of the kind of idealistic, internationalist liberalism of FDR, JFK and the rest. Isolationism is, if nothing else, a manifestation of conservatism — and not the better sort of conservatism, either.

But set that aside. He ends strongly, with a quote from "a great Democratic secretary of state," Dean Acheson (who, perhaps not coincidentally, was from Connecticut):

(N)o people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.

51 thoughts on “Joe laments loss of the party of FDR, Truman, JFK

  1. AGW

    And so Joe goes and runs with the Republicans. Joe doesn’t realize that he is a part of the problem and not part of the solution. He was a drag on the Gore ticket in 2000, lacking anything in the way of ideas that people could become passionate about. He is a devotee of our client state, Israel without any solutions as to how to bridge the gap between the Jews and Arabs. He is hawkish on the Iraq war and hawkish in his attitude toward Iran. Now he is bemoaning the demise of the Democratic party. The Democratic party, like the Republican party became prisoners, not to any foreign policy philosophy, but to the multi national corporations, which have driven U.S. foreign policy since the 1930’s. What Joe is saying is that the Democrats should be grounded in some kind of moral high mindedness like George Bush and his Republicans, with their Quixotic drive to purify the Middle East. Look at what that has gotten us. It is really interesting to see this attitude of a defeatist old fart in the light of the presidential candidacy of Senator Obama, who is well on the way to re-invigorating the Democratic party with youthful energy and fresh ideas. Lieberman can’t stand it!

  2. David

    Obamas’ ideas, all three of them, are poison. And they most assuredly are not fresh:
    1) Raise taxes. Even when there is no justifiable need for the revenue, raise taxes anyway in the name of fairness, which in his context means make everyone hurt equally.
    2) Dialogue with the heads of terrorist states and sworn enemies of the United States without any preconditons.
    3) Withdraw in haste from Iraq.
    If he has any other ideas, especially any that are ‘really’ fresh, I’d like to hear them.
    As for Joe Lieberman, he asks what has happened to the Democrat party and in so asking recalls the halcyon years of the legendary democrats ~ visionary and courageous leaders like FDR and Truman ~ and yet he fails to acknowledge what the liberal party has become: Profligate, soulless and completely sold out for the acquisition of power through the redistribution of wealth and the dismantling of freedom.
    Obama fits in very nicely with this group of vampires. And his ideas are as rigidly liberal and as completely worn out as any ideas we’ve seen in recent years from the socialist left. David

  3. penultimo mcfarland

    A great piece by Sen. Lieberman, whose direct, uncluttered prose you should envy, Mr. Warthen.
    He correctly identifies the “leftward lurch” Vietnam brought (those were not conservatives protesting that war) and the latest move “further to the left” led by Obama (whose foreign policy mimics Jane Fonda, hardly a conservative).
    It’s not “isolationism.” It’s “why can’t we all just get along?” — a left-wing foreign-policy concept, not a conservative notion at all.

  4. Randy E

    Randy’s writing,
    “Flaws”? This is propaganda to gin up support the McCain-W-Warthern war.
    Comparing the current state of world affairs with that in mid-century is apples and oranges. FDR, Truman, and JFK were in positions of moral high ground facing Nazi Germany, Imperialist Japan, and the Soviet Union – all countries that had consumed their neighbors. There was no preemptive war. Obama, if elected, faces the task of trying to reclaim the moral high ground that the U.S. lost under the Cheney administration.
    Lie-berman plays hatchet man in continuing the smear campaign to tie Obama with Hamas. Yet, there is video footage of McCain explaining that the U.S. will need to talk to Hamas. Similarly, Obama would talk to Iran as Gates and Rice have also suggested.
    As for the democrats regaining their tradition of “principle and strength” in the 90s, try explaining that to the million plus Rwandans slaughtered in 1994. These “new democrats” may have intervened in Europe, but they ignored Africa.
    The bottom line is even Amb. Crocker admitted that AQ in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose a greater risk that the element in Iraq. Yet, as a nation we are far less positioned to combat terror because of our cowboy diplomacy that eschewed dialogue.
    Funny how Liebermccain didn’t mention Jimmy Carter’s success in the Middle East with Egypt. This treaty showed how talking can solve problems. Because Carter dares to actually question the Israelis and has the audacity to meet with the elected ruling party of the P.A., his efforts are dismissed.
    Brad, I’ll simply add this to the mounting evidence of your partisanship in terms of McCain. This is not just “admittedly flawed” but a gross mischaracterization with clear political motive. I may as well participate on the Fox News blog for the next 100 years.

  5. Randy E

    BTW, how were the democrat presidents principled in taking on Germany in WWII when according to McCain’s pastor buddy Hagee, “Hitler was sent by God”?

  6. AGW

    Obama’s ideas poison? Not fresh? Almost any idea to find solutions to the mess that the Republicans have gotten us in is a gold mine. The Democrats try to redistribute wealth downward where it is generated & the Republicans redistribute wealth upward where the leaches and parasites dwell. The tax cut that the Republicans embrace has been a disaster for the middle class and a blessing for the wealthy. No justifiable need for the revenue? Surely, you jest. Try to explain how the war is paid for, how the government is funded, and how the national debt is paid without revenue. Not talking to these enemies has produced nothing. Why continue along this dead end? The only precondition that matters is that America knows what it wants. There cannot be a stable Iraq without the involvement of it’s neighbors, who cannot benefit from more of the same. Withdraw in haste from Iraq? Obama has not advocated that, neither has Clinton. For the war mongers withdrawing in less than 100 years is too hasty. There have been more freedoms dismantled during the last 8 years than anyone would have dreamed of during the Truman, Eisenhower years.

  7. bud

    Joe Lieberman has certainly lost his way, if not his mind. He forgets who occupies the White House and Congress for most of the past 8 years – Conservative Republicans for the most part. And with that conservative rule we’ve achieved the following:
    . the worst terrorist attack in world history
    . lowest job growth rate since the great depression
    . a 3 trillion dollar military occupation that has cost us 4,000+ lives and 20k maimed men and women
    . lost respect vs the rest of the world
    . declining relative life expectancy compared to other developed nations
    . trillions of dollars in debt owed to China
    . $4/gallon gasoline and rising
    This is the result of neo-con rule, not some fantasy failure of the Democratic party. If Lieberman had stayed true to the tenants of modern liberalism these problems would not have existed. The Democrats, for all their flaws, still represent the best way back from the abyss. McCain simply offers us more of the same failed policies. More debt, more death of our people abroad, more lost freedoms, more lost respect.
    Conversely, Obama offers us a breath of fresh air. He will restore dignity and trust to America. With more Democrats we can bring the endless quagmires to an end. We can begin to address the problems of energy, health care and jobs that have long been ignored by the Liebermans and other conservatives for so long. Lieberman is an enabler who has abandoned his party and, more importantly, core liberal principals for 30 pieces of silver. And that silver has tarnished with every passing day.

  8. Mike Cakora

    Okay, so some of youse guys seem not to like Bush and want a change. I join Joe in being puzzled at the belief system of the Obama crew. F’rinstance, why the aversion to national missile defense? That’s one that I find even more amazing with the NorKs and Iran’s testing of longer range missiles, not to mention what our allies China and Russia are up to.
    Want to make the world a better place and make folks smile when they think of the US? Why then fight the Colombia free trade act? Columbian goods already enter the US duty-free, this act would let US goods into Colombia duty-free.
    Missile defense and trade are just two issues I’d like clarification on.

  9. Richard L. Wolfe

    I have read the Columbia smoking ban. The one thing it is NOT about is protecting non smokers from second hand smoke. I will set aside the FACT that there are no harmful effects from second hand smoke from cigarettes. The ban will not allow smoking in a restaurant even if all the customers and employees smoke. It doesn’t allow you to have a private club that serves food and alcohol and everyone smokes.
    So what is it all about? It is about the government dictating our habitual behavior under the illusion of public health. Just like the drug laws and unlike the abortion laws, it says the government owns our body. If nobody sees the danger in this then the dumbing down of America is for real.
    There is no such thing as it is just about this or that when it comes to government intrusion of individual rights. This will be followed by more draconian laws until one day the government will own our souls. The individual income tax began with a lie. The European bankers wouldn’t let us into World War 1 until we guaranteed that we could pay for our participation. They sold the lie as a one time soaking of the rich. The democrats have been selling the lie ever since.
    If you think you have to jump through hoops to comply with Medicare and Medicaid now just wait until you see what’s coming. You will have account for everything you consume or be denied. They will take half your pay check whether you enroll or not. If you think this just about a smoking ban then write and let me know because I will get down on my knees and pray for you. Honestly, brothers and sisters of all races, religions and creeds you are going to need it

  10. Wally Altman

    Missile defense involves using missiles to shoot down other missiles. Our current plan is to base such missiles in the Czech Republic, i.e. right on Russia’s doorstep. This further antagonizes them when they are already becoming less friendly to our interests. Don’t you remember how we felt about missiles in Cuba?
    I am right there with you on the Colombia free trade deal, Mike. That one makes no sense to me, based on the details as I understand them.

  11. bud

    Wow Mike, that’s a clever change of direction. Missle Defense and an obscure trade treaty with Colombia? Come on, those aren’t particularly important.
    The missle defense system is just a waste of money that will do nothing but piss off the Russians. We certainly don’t want them putting missiles in Cuba or Nicarauga so why should we expect them to welcome our missiles into Eastern Europe. Let’s just abandon this welfare project for the defense contractors and use the money to develop a good electric car.
    As for Colombia. Coffee is expensive enough. I doubt any change there would make much difference to our exports to them. In principal duty free sounds good and fair but it’s not that big of a deal.
    The real issues in this campaign are the economy, energy, QuAgmIRe and health care. Any attempt to raise minor issues is just an attempt by conservatives to mask their complete failures in those areas that are really important.

  12. p.m.

    I have to admit, for once, that bud is right. Tucking our tails betwixt our legs and running home to hide is our cheapest option, so it must be the best. There’s no truth in the old saw “you have to spend money to make money.” And that other one, “The best offense is a good defense,” well, that one’s wrong, too.
    So forget about missile defense, policing the world and promoting representative democracy. Let’s just sit here and wait, and whenever someone who hates us wants to talk, President Obama can light up a doobie with him and chill things out.
    When it starts raining airliners and anthrax and ebola, maybe they’ll be nice to us eventually. Our children can learn English as a foreign language and go to hospitals in Cuba to get quality health care. Statues of Michael Moore and Ahmadinejad can be erected at the Lincoln Memorial. Obama can have his buddies bomb the Pentagon.
    I can’t wait. They’ll probably let us smoke Turkish tobacco almost anywhere, but the penalty for alcohol consumption will be pretty severe.
    And the Democrats will be able to take credit for it all.

  13. bud

    p.m. let me remind you of a few facts:
    Fact: The only major terrorist attack occured on the GOP watch. GOP grade for defending America – F
    Fact: Iran and North Korea have been developing nukes for the past 8 years. GOP grade for preventing spread of nukes – D-
    Fact: Osama runs free. GOP grade for bringing this maniac to justice – F
    The GOP continues to fail. And yet they insist that the Dems would do worse. What a joke the GOP has become. This miserable excuse for a party deserves the scorn that it’s getting from the American people. It’s brand of conservatism does nothing to make us safer, let alone prosperous. Thousands of Americans are dead because of the failures of the GOP and enablers like Joe Lieberman. To suggest Obama will do worse is assinine. The right-wing echo chamber continues to use fear and scare tactics to fool a few gullible people like p.m. into buying the conservative brand of nonsense. But the facts show what a failure modern conservatism really is.

  14. Lee Muller

    The pathetic “argument” that a US missile defense system will “antagonize” our enemies and cause them to attack us is as dumb as claiming that having a guard dog will antagonize burglars and cause them to break into your house.
    Obama will be much worse on defense because he is already encouraging Islamic terrorists. They say so. They cheer for his election.
    Thousands of American civilians are dead because these terrorists killed them.
    Thousands of American soldiers are dead because these terrorists killed them while protecting unappreciative people like the supporters of Obama.

  15. Randy E

    It’s up to the democrats to clean up the elephant dung figuratively and almost literally. There is no easy way out of Iraq.
    McCain offers some miraculous plan in which we magically transitioin into an environment with no more insurgency, AQ, and civil war so American troops can stay in Iraq for 100 years without anyone shooting at them.
    Democrats can continue to allow Liebermccain and W to continue to push back the goal posts or make a tough decision. The endgame will be messy whether it’s next year or in 2013, as proposed by McCain. The check will likely be cashed on the Democratic watch but it’s the GOP that wrote the check.

  16. p.m.

    From the 1950s until now, bud, your Democrat buddies have fought common sense with nanny-state politics to buy votes.
    Behold the America you have given us, where gay-straight alliance clubs for high schools are more important than good principals, where some believe avoiding racial profiling means more than the lives of the innocent, where the average man on the street can’t name the vice president.
    Be proud, bud. You’ve taken us to the top of a mighty small heap, and you’re digging the hole deeper every day.

  17. Mike Cakora

    Contrary to bud’s assertion, missile defense and Colombia free trade are not minor distractions, although I do agree that there are other issues. The latter sends an important signal for all trade negotiations; it’s defeat sends the signal that the US has abandoned its leadership role in opening worldwide trade.
    Missile defense is more than just a site or two in Europe. There’s one in Alaska. The technology is defensive, so I still don’t understand why some don’t favor their deployment. The systems do seem to work and will become only more effective as technological improvements come along. Besides, Our NATO allies like it too boot. The Russians, Chinese, and Iranians don’t much care for our aircraft carriers. Does that mean that we should mothball them or sink them off the coast to anchor coral reefs?
    That sure smacks of appeasement, not that I’m pointing any fingers… Well, maybe the middle one.

  18. randy e

    Cak, nice attempt at the smear job on bud with the neo-con talking point about “appeasement”. bud clearly made the point that the system is faulty so the only consequence is negative.
    This is the same type of scripted rhetoric that paints those of us against the war as unpatriotic and wanting to surrender. Stick to posting such propaganda on your own blog.

  19. Lee Muller

    This same mentality which thinks missile defense causes attacks, also opposes carrying a handgun for self-defense.
    At the root of this nonsense is the wish to avoid responsibility. They want to delude themselves that the real dangers aren’t real, so they can focus on fighting imaginary crises like “global warming” and “secondhand smoke”.
    Real problems like ICBMs from Red China can’t be picked and chosen for this year’s fad, put on hold, or forgotten about. And the money spent for defense inteferes with the materialistic things these immature socialists want the taxpayers to provide for their lifestyle enhancement.

  20. bud

    Mike, I’m glad you brought up the aircraft carriers. We have 12 big ones and about 10-12 smaller ones. That’s about twice the number of the rest of the world combined. We could probably cut that down to about 7 large and 7 small carriers and use the rest for coral reef development. The money saved could go along way toward building new wind turbines.

  21. Brad Warthen

    Cut DOWN? Cut DOWN on the number of carriers? Further weaken our nation, which is so overextended and has so many missions — from the ability to credible contain Iran to the ability to intervene in Darfur, Myanmar and scores of other places to the ability (nay, the remote hope) of providing a counterbalance to the rising Chinese navy and a resurgent Russia — that are going begging?
    You can’t possibly be serious. Not if you have any notion of history or geopolitics, or any sort of informed opinion as to which nation the world is better off with as the dominant power (us, or the Chinese; us, or Putin?). And you certainly should be able to think of better ways to pay for wind turbines and other things that would be mere small cogs in an overall Energy Party strategy…
    We have GOT to invest in Energy, in our military, in diplomacy, and in humanitarian efforts around the globe.
    If we can’t get it together and do all that, then it’s truly over for this country.

  22. Phillip

    Randy and others have said it well above.
    Lieberman is a divisive man, not an Unparty person by any means. His grotesque oversimplification and characterization of some of Democratic party foreign policy from Vietnam onward is so outrageous that EVEN HE knows it’s not completely honest. That’s the definition of a politician. He’s running talking points for McCain, with whom he hopes to garner a Cabinet post.
    Lieberman is part of the problem in Washington, hopelessly mired in old ways of thinking about new challenges. His rhetoric in this piece is aimed at dividing us further. A more reasonable piece devoid of the gratuitous slams and the historical revisionism could have been more persuasive. Very disappointing, and no Brad, I don’t think you would have written this exact piece. I give you more credit than that.

  23. bud

    Brad, that’s just about the most arrogant bunch of nonsense I’ve ever heard. Our military is for the protection of American citizens, period. If we want to help the people of Myanmar great, but that’s not a mission for the navy. We need exactly zero aircraft carriers for that task.
    We spend 100 times what the Iranians do on the military so if we spend 50 times as much that would seem adequate.
    The Chinese are killing us with lead paint in children’t toys not lead bullets. They won’t have the capability to operate one carrier effectively for many years let alone 12. The Chinese have no military designs on the U.S., nor do they need to. They already own trillions of dollars in American debt. Why? Because we’ve wasted trillions on military crap that we don’t need.
    The Russian military is in shambles. Why? Because they spent so many rubles on weapons the communist leaders bankrupted the nation. They are hardly the threat today that they were during the cold war. A bit less sabre rattling would go a long way toward easing tensions with the Russians, not missles in the Cheq Republic.
    America won’t be destroyed by military means but rather economic problems imposed by over spending. The military is grossly over sized and yet has less capability (thanks to our quagmire in Iraq) than it has in years. Sometimes less is more. In the case of the military that is certainly true.

  24. Phillip

    Wait a second, Brad, I take that last sentence back after reading your last comment. Maybe you COULD have written it.
    There’s a contradiction in your first sentence I just don’t get, maybe you can explain: you worry about not devoting more to defense, but them complain we are “overextended.” Which is it? Shouldn’t we be working to strengthen international institutions abilities to react to the Darfurs and Myanmars to which you refer? Not only are we unable to actually handle all the problems of the world, but our attempts to do so, no matter how well-intentioned, foster difficulties and resentments of their own.
    I also pose the following questions: do you envision the possibility of a multipolar world, where no one power is dominant, but several have roughly equivalent economic and military strength, or must there always be one dominant power in the world?
    And if we must ensure that Russia or China do not ever supersede us as the dominant power, would this not be as good a time as any, while we still have a strong nuclear superiority, to launch massive nuclear strikes against both those countries, essentially setting them back decades or centuries, and ensuring our dominance for years to come? Why not?
    I guess what it comes down to, Brad, is: just how far would you really go to make sure that the planet is dominated by America?

  25. AGW

    Pity the androids who fall hook line and sinker for Republican pablum. They quake at the thought of Obama talking with our adversaries because they think he is a numb nut like GW Bush, who can’t talk in complete sentences. No wonder the foreign policy for the last 8 years is based more on non verbal communication, grunts, and saber rattling. You talk to people to find out what they want and tell them what you want. Apparently Bush, and his new found lap dogs McCain and Old Joe lieberman, feel that the other side is more intelligent than us. If they are afraid that Iranians and others will outsmart us, then they are correct. That is why we need a change in mindset in this country. We spent 50 years talking with Soviets pointing as many guns at us as we had pointed at them. Iran does not have any nukes pointed at us, so the logic of Bushism is to wait until they have the nukes pointed at us, then we talk? Wake up androids!

  26. Brad Warthen

    I will say this, though — one other minor weakness in the piece was his pride in supporting missile defense.

    Mike doesn’t understand why anyone would object to an emphasis on missile defense. Mike, I’ll grant you that tactical missile defense, on a theater or smaller scale — say, ship-based defense — can be a fine thing. We can use it for force protection and to give allies breathing room. My objection is to the mindset implicit in STRATEGIC missile defense. From the time Reagan started pushing it, I have heard the implicit threat of the nation pulling such an overarching blanket over its head and letting the rest of the world go to hell. It would enable isolationism like nothing Charles Lindbergh ever dreamed of. And I believe in forward engagement — as does Lieberman and, as I recall, as did Al Gore. In fact, I believe "forward engagement" or something like it was the name of his overall foreign policy vision in 2000 — not that he emphasized it, more’s the pity. (I was right; it WAS "Forward Engagement." Here are excerpts from his long-forgotten major speech on the subject.) And the reason he didn’t emphasize it was the very degenerative forces in the Democratic Party that Joe deplores here.

    Pouring our resources and energy into the quest for a truly 100 percent effective strategic missile defense umbrella would empower the isolationists of both right and left. It’s the technological equivalent of pulling all our forces around the globe back to the lower 48 and putting them on the Mexican border or some such isolationist fantasy.

  27. Mike Cakora

    Brad – There’s not only nothing wrong with strategic missile defense (SMD), it’s essential because of the prevalence of long range missiles and nukes, items we can expect to find in the hands of moderately sized despots over the next several decades. It makes no sense to be able to protect a carrier task force if an enemy can direct several missiles at the homeland. That’s rather like permitting concealed weapons in public but prohibiting them at home, no?
    And we can share SMD too, that was part of Reagan’s pitch.
    I don’t see why SMD would cause us to withdraw to our borders. As a free nation we’ll continue to desire the fruits that trade brings. The first rule of government is to protect the nation and SMD would just be one of the tools ready in the tool box.
    China has an ambitious ship-building program and reports on its secret naval base are finally becoming public. They already practice tactics suitable for use in attacking carrier groups and ours are the only ones in the neighborhood.

  28. Lee Muller

    Red China is also buying SU-27 fighter bombers from Russia as fast as they can, in hopes of having overwhelming numbers to sacrifice an attack on US Navy fleets and against our superior, but less numerous F-22s and F-35s.
    Their stated long-term goals are exactly the same domination as Japan had for Asia in the 1930s.

  29. bud

    So the Chinese are building ballistic missile submarines. How are missiles in the Cheq Republic going to deter that? Our navy is not threatened by the Chinese. This is simply propaganda from the folks who want to build a bunch of useless military crap. The Japanese tried to outdo us building aircraft carriers and where did that get them? Guess what. The Japanese have no plans to build aircraft carriers and they live 7 years longer on average than we do.
    The Chinese want to sell us stuff not fight with us. The only reason they’re building this military crap is because we build it. If we cut back so will they. If we cut back and they don’t cut back we gain an economic advantage since we’ll be investing in electric cars and wind turbines and they’ll have a bunch of useless submarines.
    I propose an immediate reduction in military spending from the 600 – 700 billion range proposed by the administration to a more sane 400 billion. We get more than enough stuff to defend the country plus we gain the moral high ground. I’m far more scared of losing my health insurance than I am of some phantom military threat. It’s time we get our priorities straight. (And no Brad, we cannot afford everything).

  30. Mike Cakora

    bud, how could you! As one of Bohemian dissent I take umbrage at your use of “Cheq” for “Czech.”
    The interceptor site in the Czech Republic is intended to shield Europe from Iranian missiles. The Alaska site defends against incoming stuff from the NorKs and China.
    But good to see that you’re fully in sync with Obama
    Phillip, there’s no need to nuke them. Yet.
    And I do wish Israel the best in its negotiations with Syria, now that the latter has apparently gotten over Israel’s “diplomatic move” against that nuclear facility in the Syrian desert,

  31. Lee Muller

    When China launches missiles at America or Australia, what do you Obmaniacs plan to do? Just run fondle all the Chicom stuff you bought from Wal-Mart, one last time?
    Our missile defense shield for China will be located in neighboring countries theatened by China: Taiwan, Japan, India, Australia, Tajikistan.

  32. Brad Warthen

    bud, is there any sort of military materiel that you don’t consider to be “useless crap?”
    Phillip, you just tried to launch a digression based in partisan assumptions (“you’re agreeing with Lieberman, who supports McCain, so you think talking to the enemy is ‘appeasement,’ and you right wingers all love Israel, so admit that Israel is involved in appeasement — gotcha!” Let me know if I followed that wrongly). That disappointed me, because you usually don’t play those games.
    The wonderful thing about Joe Lieberman was that he was a Democrat who didn’t play those games — so the Democrats kicked him out of the party, because like Republicans, they detest diversity of thought. Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn, et al., would probably also be ejected today.
    The wonderful thing about McCain was that he didn’t play those games, either — so his party spent all last year trying to pick ANYBODY but him, but he prevailed. Now he’s going to have to be his party’s standard-bearer, a role that contains all sorts of contradictions. So this will be interesting.
    The wonderful thing about Obama is that he wanted to trash the whole game, which is why majorities of Democrats in some big states are STILL voting against him, even though he is almost as certain to be his party’s nominee as McCain is his.
    Fascinating times in which to live. Face these facts, please, folks — and don’t try to drag this race down into the usual mire, a la Bush v. Kerry.
    A good place to start lifting the conversation is to engage what your interlocutors ACTUALLY SAY, rather than saying, “You’re on the other side of the line, so you MUST believe this other thing that you didn’t say, and I’m going to attack THAT.”
    For once, we have a chance to rise above that sort of intellectual dishonesty. Please, let’s do so.

  33. bud

    the Democrats kicked him out of the party, because like Republicans, they detest diversity of thought.
    Joe Lieberman was defeated in the Connecticut primary because he was wrong on the important issue of the day: QuAgmIRe.
    $400 billion buys a lot of military crap. We need modern fighters, 7 Nimitz Class Carriers, 7 of the smaller carriers that are capable of launching F-35s. Also, better armored vehicles and the necessary training and pay to ensure we have the most modern, capable military in the world. We don’t need the Ofsprey, Missile shield or more attack submarines. Those things are a complete, utter waste of money. They do nothing to make us safer, in fact they sap our wealth thus making us less safe.
    The bud budget for defense would still be about as much as the 10 next largest in the world and would be quite capable of defeating any foe. But it would not be so bloated that it takes away from the critical needs of a vibrant nation in need of an advanced energy policy.

  34. Mike Cakora

    Okay, Brad, here goes.
    I think that Obama has nothing new of value to add and may in fact be dangerous because he lacks judgment and experience.
    On domestic issues his politics seem indistinguishable from Pelosi’s, by that I mean a significant tax increase (letting the Bush tax cuts expire and raising the capital gains rate), curtail free trade (NAFTA, Colombia Free Trade Act), empower plaintiff’s attorneys, and let unions have their way (card check intimidation). Oh, and turn over defense to folks who aren’t too much interested in it.
    I think that Joe is troubled by some of this too. But Lieberman’s more troubled by Obama’s foreign policy, or perhaps his misunderstanding of how the world works. Obama and his ilk, to include Pelosi, see no harm in talking. But there is. We know, as did he, that JFK got his butt kicked when he met with Khrushchev in Vienna in June, 1961. Obama’s set the stage for multiple assaults on the presidential behind, and that’s not a great idea from my admittedly narrow perspective.
    What’s sad is that much of the media is in the tank for the Dems, especially for Queen Bee Pelosi and the current incarnation of the Magic Negro, Obama. (Hey, that’s a lib’s term, not mine! The guy’s untouchable.) Obama’s meager legislative record shows neither evidence nor inclination for crossing the aisle, for consensus; he’s less cooperative than Teddy Kennedy.
    Do I think that voting for Obama is a mistake, given the alternatives? Yup, perhaps even fatal.

  35. Lee Muller

    Most journalists are such intellectual lightweights that judging Obama is beyond them.
    For them, who vote 86% Democrat, it was all about revenge for Bush beating their personal friends and fellow mental lightweights, Al Gore and John Kerry. Anybody but Bush!
    Then it was Hillary because It Was Time for a Woman President, and she was the only entry.
    Then came Obama, a youngster with an endless string of meaningless bromides, as schizophrenic as the media about hating America while loving the easy money they make from it. His philosophy, like their’s is a mongrel mix of Marxism, racism, populism and elitism.
    Covering Obama is perfect for the lazy journalist or pundit. He requires no effort.

  36. Randy E

    Cak, Israel felt compelled to bomb a Syrian reactor being built by the North Koreans. Isolating North Korea and Syria shows how your cowboy diplomacy is sheer folly.
    Press secretary Snow belittled the Clinton administration for “taking candy and flowers” to Kim Jong Il. The Cheney-W administration’s approach was so effective, NK pulled out of the Non-nuke treaty and tested a nuke.
    Contrast that with
    Peace in Ireland was achieved with diplomacy.
    Israel and Egypt achieved peace with that irascible Jimmy Carter engaging both sides in dialogue.
    Now Rice and Gates are wanting to talk with Iran. McCain admitted (on video) that the U.S. would have to talk with Hamas.
    Cak, the W-Cheney experiment is over. 2006 was a precursor for the American voters version of toppling the “Sadamn” statue. Cowboy diplomacy will give way to dialogue and collaboration with allies to deal with hostile threats using other means BEFORE implementing shock and awe.

  37. Mike Cakora

    Regarding the McCain Hamas statement, which you like to bring up a lot, Rubin, lied and fudged the video clip. Here’s the full story. So it’s fraudulent, something we’ve come to expect from the Clinton crew.
    I recommend that when you next mention the McCain Hamas statement, you disclose the truth about it.

  38. Phillip

    Mike, your assumptions about the dangers of negotiations make it sound as if the US and our leaders will inevitably be outsmarted by our foreign rivals. I have more confidence than that. First of all, at the presidential level, we can all agree that if nothing else, Obama is obviously extremely smart and quick on his feet. (In contrast to…ok, never mind). But of course as we all know, most of the heavy lifting of diplomatic communications is done at other levels…sec’y of state, and other officials down the line. I expect Obama to surround himself with very sharp cookies of fairly broad perspectives and CERTAINLY not the caricatures that Lieberman has cooked up. (Brad, my criticisms of Lieberman are NOT because he is for McCain per se, nor because of his basic views, which are understandable and legitimate—I objected to Lieberman’s op-ed piece because it contained the kind of straw-man-setting-up that is the very hallmark of partisan rhetoric.)
    I think what will surprise Mike, Brad, and others (and I’m afraid some of my progressive friends here on the blog) is that when Obama takes office next January there is NOT going to be some huge sea-change in foreign policy. He will move faster on Iraq redeployment but will be constrained by some circumstances. He will engage on many more fronts diplomatically but results will be incremental at best (still better than nothing).
    Mike speaks of Obama not understanding how the world works. On the contrary, it was this President whose policies marked a departure to radicalism, whose policies showed profound misjudgment of how the world works. Obama’s administration will mark a return of “the grownups” in foreign policy—closer to Bush #1, I’m betting, than Dennis Kucinich!
    Brad, I still want to know if you would agree a multipolar world is a worthy goal, or if you would disagree with me that a unipolar world—even one led by the U.S.–is inherently unstable, even dangerous.

  39. Phillip

    Mike, I read the link about the Kennedy-Khrushchev June 61 summit—the point is valid, but I really think way too much has been made of Obama’s statements about direct talks at the leadership level anyway. (Including by Obama.) I don’t think Obama in any case would rush into direct talks at the leadership level, whatever he may say now. It’s more about a fundamental approach to communication at all levels.
    In any case, it’s hard to imagine how any foreign leader, friendly or hostile, could talk one-on-one with Obama and view him in any way except as more impressive than the previous American leader.
    The other thing you have to consider, Mike, is how a President handles encounters with the advice he’s surrounded by. This country suffered from having a President who was an amiable lightweight with few real convictions of his own, initially rightly skeptical of Iraq being linked to 9/11 but bowled over by the neocon think-tankers around him, the more passionate and quick-thinkers and experienced government hands around him, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. Our President has to be able to stand up for himself not only with foreign leaders, but with domestic advisors pushing long-held agendas.

  40. Mike Cakora

    Phillip –
    Obama’s has had a bit of a problem with advisors, with some having fallen off or been thrown from the bus. Obama supporter Martin Peretz has expressed concerns about several them, and there’s continuing confusion over who’s advising and who is not. I’m sure that will all get sorted out. I don’t think that this list of advisors is current because Samantha Power and Robert O. Malley have tire marks on their backs, and I think McPeak is hanging onto the emergency exit door.
    The WaPo’s reliably liberal David Ingatius has an analysis that differs from yours, but it’s still early and more changes will come.
    Again, I think he’s green and shallow. He’s projecting a message of confidence that he can’t follow through on. But that’s just my opinion.

  41. Mike Cakora

    Here’s an entertaining illustration of who Obama’s “highly educated voters” may be.

  42. bud

    Mike, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how Obama performs as commander in chief. As Phillip points out his foreign policy will not change dramatically from the basic tenants set forth over the past 20 years other than to withdraw from Iraq. (Even McCain has now ackowledged we need to do that within 4 years.) What I believe will happen with Obama is a gradual learning process. As a young man Kennedy had to learn on the job. Same with Carter and Clinton. Carter certainly didn’t do a great job at all times in dealing with the Iranians. But he learned. He was succesful in bringing all the Hostages home alive. (Something Reagan cannot claim for the hostiges taken on his watch). Clinton likewise fumbled the ball a few time early on. But both of our last 2 Democratic presidents achieved great success dealing with our potential enemies. The 12 years of Democrats in the White House show significant strides in bringing peace and freedom to the world. Sadly, the reverse is all too apparent with our current president.
    Obama is a fast learner with great instincts. He will make mistakes like all the Democratic presidents do early on. But in the end the Obama presidency will see great progress on most diplomatic fronts and a noticable tilt away from the confrontational brand of diplomacy that has failed us so badly over the last 8 years.
    This learning presidency will contrast greatly with the know-it-all approach McCain is likely to bring to the table. This man scares me with his cocky rhetoric, famous temper and limited actual knowledge of basic facts. The McCain presidency will feature an obstinency that is likely to get thousands of American killed and our security compromised. He really scares me with the way he talks. Hopefully his campaign bombast is just fodder for the right that he really doesn’t intend to follow through with. But given his age you never know what kind of foolish decision he might make at 3 am. It’s best not to find out. I prefer a man with sound judgement who is willing and capable of learning.

  43. Phillip

    And, Mike, re the early June 1961 summit meeting between Kennedy and Khrushchev: the Soviet leader came away from that meeting thinking that the American leader was a lightweight and a pushover…
    but the real lesson to be learned from that encounter?
    Khrushchev turned out to be wrong.

  44. Lee Muller

    Krushchev gauging JFK as a weakling was enough to encourage the USSR to become more aggressive in fomenting revolution in Africa, South America and Souteast Asia.
    Krushchev and JFK didn’t last long after they ramped up the Cold War in to shooting wars, but it took Nixon and Reagan to clean up after JFK, LBJ and Carter.
    Anything short of outright treason and capitulation from Obama would be a pleasant surprise.
    His supporters don’t really believe Obama would be good for America. They don’t want what’s good for America.

  45. Randy E

    “Detest diversity of thought” – BW in regards to the parties
    As a believer in the Blue Dog Democrats, I cite myself as a counterexample to your stereotyping. While I ardently support many views espoused by Grandmaster bud, I bet we differ dramatically on some social issues.

  46. Lee Muller

    Excessive taxation is the largest social issue in America. It abuses and ruins more lives than any other government policy.

  47. Randy E

    Cak, the video tape of McCain acknowledging his willingness to talk to Hamas is not edited. There is an abundance of video footage of McCain contradicting himself. He freakin contradicted himself in the same breath in discussing Hagee in an ABC interview; “Of course accepting Hagee’s endorsement was a mistake…I am proud to have his endorsement”.
    Maybe ABC doctored that video tape – it’s the vast left wing conspiracy.

  48. Randy E

    Blue dogs are social conservatives relative to other dems (and even fiscal issues). If I remember correctly, GMB (Grandmaster bud) is liberal on social issues.
    There is a rising faction called Democrats for Life of America, DFLA, and two high profile dems are pro-life; Bob Casey and Harry Reid (29% rating by NARAL).
    The democratic party IS the big tent party. We are home to the very religious and atheists. Most minorities and people of alternative sexual orientation choose this party.
    Reagan democrats are a testament to a faction of our party who will vote on issues not party lines, as are blue dogs (who are often Reagan dems).
    You lump us into a big stereotype with the mostly white GOP comprised largely of Christian conservatives or every man for himself fiscal conservatives. A large reason democrats are known for their circular firing squads is because of our diversity. We are not easily coerced or cajoled into taking a party line because of this variety. Contrast that with discipline of message the GOP showed for the 1st 6 years of the Cheney administration as they intimidated republicans into following their lead.

  49. Lee Muller

    Democrat diversity is an illusion. The party is composite of a coalition of quarreling thieves, who only come together to sack Productive America, then fall to quarreling over the spoils.

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