Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bastard of the Day

The Chicago Tribune's editorial board earns today's Bastard of the Day award for completely misrepresenting the issues in "Joe Lieberman, still standing." Of course the Trib likes Lieberman -- he's the best Democrat they could ask for in a blue state like Connecticut. They repeat the tired slogan, "He votes his conscience." How could anyone with a conscience support the giveaway to Big Pharma known as the Medicare prescription drug plan? (Did I mention that his wife is a lobbyist for a drug company?) I won't belabor that point with more examples, but you can find them easily enough. Besides, if a man votes his conscience but rarely agrees with his party, why the hell is he in that party in the first place?

The entire premise of the editorial is wrong, based on the right-wing board's skewed view of America. They blame "activists" for throwing out Lieberman because of his support for the Iraq war as if only activists are against it. A CNN poll released yesterday said 60 percent of Americans are against the war, and surely that number is higher among Democrats. How can the editors portray this as a matter of activists controlling the party when they are part of a clear majority? I will credit activists for pushing the issue in the media, but surely activists weren't the only ones voting for Ned Lamont. You have to remember that although Lamont's victory margin wasn't huge, he had a lot to overcome to defeat a well-funded, high profile incumbent like Lieberman.

The Trib editors compare Lieberman to Colin Powell:
...many people thought he might be able to convince the country to elect him, but he wouldn't be able to convince the Republican Party to nominate him. That is, Powell's moderate views were in step with the nation's but out of step with the core activists of his own party.
But Lieberman is not the same because, let's say it again, 60 percent of Americans are against the war. That means Lieberman is not in step with the nation's views (he is in step with the Tribune editorial board's views, but I'm sure that's merely coincidental). And now that he's running as an independent, he's just another baby crying because somebody took away his candy, i.e. the lucrative perks of being senator.

The Trib closes in a nonsensical, contradictory fashion:
It's shaping up to be a quirky year in U.S. politics, perhaps a dangerous year for incumbents of all stripes. Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney lost in Georgia and Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz lost in Michigan on Tuesday. A recent poll showed a majority of Americans call themselves "anti-incumbent." Sounds like they've had it with that partisan nonsense. So "independent" may be a good thing to be in November. And Joe Lieberman may just get the last word in Connecticut.
So it's a bad time to be an incumbent, but "independent" may be a good thing for Lieberman. But just because he shed his party affiliation doesn't make him any less of an incumbent. Sorry, I just can't follow their logic. It may be a bad time to be an incumbent (though I have my doubts because of how the system is rigged in their favor with fundraising, gerrymandering and such), but that doesn't mean independents are going to make a great showing in November. A more obvious conclusion to draw from the Connecticut primary is that the Iraq war could be a huge issue. This editorial practically ignores it with only one mention, probably because they don't want it to be an issue. But despite what the Trib and The New Republic want you to believe, anti-war sentiments are no longer exclusively held by "liberal elitists."

Let me be clear: the Tribune's editors are not bastards for having an opinion that doesn't agree with mine. Heck, they would be bastards every day if that were my only criterion. They are bastards for misleading and misinforming their readers in order to make their point. Such fantasy-world reasoning may work for Limbaugh and Hannity, but I expect better from a major newspaper.

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