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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 31, 2006

 
Scorecard Politics

by digby

Here is an excellent article in Salon by Colin McEnroe about Lieberman, well worth sitting through to ad to read in full. I'd like to highlight just one little piece of it:

Covering Lieberman is a good way to understand how misleading a voting record can be. (Are you listening, Courant editorial board?) Most members of Congress vote with their parties the preponderance of the time. There are other questions to ask. Did he vote differently on a much-more-important earlier amendment or cloture motion? Did he wait until it was clear his vote wouldn't hurt the other side? Are his public pronouncements strangely different from his votes?


This is a prime reason why the special interest groups are so ineffectual. They've gotten so lazily dependent upon their "scorcards" they can't even feel it when they are being slowly stabbed in the back. They simply aren't asking the right questions.

This article lays out all the gripes that Connecticut, a liberal state, has against old Joe and it's quite an indictment. But what it comes down to is that he's always tried to have it both ways. He rhetorically reinforces all the destructive GOP memes, hedges his bets on important votes and even though (like most politicians) he generally votes with the party he's effetively working for the other side a good part of the time. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that being a member of the minority party in the Senate for most of his career means that he's had a lot of free votes that don't mean diddly.

Rhetoric, on the other hand, is one of the few powers a minority party has as it tries to persuade the country to come over to their side and put the opposition on the spot. Helping the majority make its case is one of the most destructive things Joe does. Democratic partisans have been complaining about it for years and so apparently have his constituents.

I would even go so far as to say that it is exactly this kind of jarring incongruity that has made the voters feel uncomfortable voting for Democrats generally and it's the biggest failing of the DLC experiment which Lieberman embodies. Indeed, it's what people say over and over again: they don't know what the party stands for. Why would they? You have leaders like Lieberman constantly trying to have it both ways. It's confusing and it makes people uncomfortable --- and it finally made some of the voters of Connecticut uncomfortable enough that they decided to look for someone who reliably and consistently reflected their views.


Update:
Here's Lamont on tonight's Colbert Report, from Crooks and Liars.

I couldn't get the video at first and so only listened. I was struck, as I was during the debate, that there is something in Lamont's delivery/cadence/accent that is reminiscent of JFK.



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