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While station-surfing on the way to work a week or so ago, I caught a portion of a Sean Hannity re-run (what can I say?  I'm a masochist) which featured him excoriating a liberal caller on the issue of Senator Lieberman. Hannity labeled the caller as "hateful" and sternly reminded him that Lieberman has a solid 90% record of voting with Congressional Democrats.

Now, the 90% figure has been bandied about (and in some instances ridiculed) here on Daily Kos. Like many of the rest of you, I'm not sure that it's accurate; there have been plenty of things that I've disagreed with Joe on beyond his blind acceptance of the Bush Doctrine and the war in Iraq (judicial nominees, video game and music censorship, and his speech denouncing President Clinton come to mind, to name a few.)

But you know what? I'm willing to stipulate that 90%. And the next time somebody throws this lame argument at you, you should stipulate it as well, and then throw it back in their face. More below the fold.

Consider a hypothetical situation involving a Republican presidential candidate trying to secure that party's nomination. This candidate is extremely hawkish on foreign policy, he's big on tax cuts, he goes trap shooting with the NRA leadership on a weekly basis, he views environmental regulations as a roadblock to business -- in short, he endorses the Republican party platform down to the very last word.

With one exception.

He's staunchly and immovably pro-choice. He thinks that abortion is not the business of the government, and promises to veto any bill that restricts abortion rights the moment it hits his desk.

Screw 90%. This hypothetical candidate endorses a full ninety-nine percent of the Republican party platform -- except for, you know, the abortion thing. Does Sean Hannity (or anybody else, for that matter) honestly believe that this hypothetical candidate has a snowball's chance in hell of getting the Republican nomination?

Of course he wouldn't. In reality, he'd be lucky to be politely booed out of the convention hall, and this demonstrates how disingenuous the entire "90% Joe" argument is. The phrase "single-issue voter" has been a part of our political vernacular for a long time now. Typically, single-issue voters have rallied around causes like gun control, taxation, and (especially) abortion.

What we've discovered in the election cycle of 2006 is that the war in Iraq has created a lot of new Democratic (and some Republican) single-issue voters. Many of us Democrats view this war and the geopolitical strategy that spawned it as dangerous and poisonous; we consider it to be counterproductive to world efforts to secure safety and promote stability. This being the case, it stands to reason that if a candidate is on the wrong side of this particular issue, we will a) not vote for him, if we have the ability to do so and b) actively campaign for others to do the same.

This is not an instance of "poor Joe" being beaten up by "blogosphere bullies".  This is a large group of people exercising their Constitutional right to voice their opinion on an issue that has become a paramount concern to them. And if the hypothetical candidate I described a few paragraphs above were to be speaking from the podium at the RNC, Republicans would be doing the exact same thing.

Dare them to deny it with a straight face -- they can't.

Originally posted to seventypercent on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 08:43 PM PDT.


How often do you think Senator Lieberman votes according to Democratic ideals?

4%3 votes
23%15 votes
21%14 votes
15%10 votes
35%23 votes

| 65 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (12+ / 0-)

    If I had to make a guess, I would wager that the majority of single-issue voters in this country are Republicans. How does this not make extreme hypocrites out of those Republicans who are accusing us of "beating up on" Lieberman?

  •  This is a good point... (5+ / 0-)

    we should not be afraid to vote for peace.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 08:40:23 PM PDT

  •  But the point is... (5+ / 0-)

    that by being against the war you are for the terrorists and want to destroy America.

    No room for the viewpoint that there are better ways to beat the terrorists or that the war is hurting American prestige and interests or wasting tons (literally) of money in no-bid graft and corruption.

    Nosiree Bob- you're either with us or you're agin us.

    (You may wonder how I know your name is Bob.  Three letters- NSA.)

  •  I don't think the issue (5+ / 0-)

    ever was his voting record, which I've heard many prominent Kossacks place unproblematically in the 80/90% range.

    Rather, the issue is this:  what the heck do you do with a guy who votes Democratic on just about any issue you can shake a stick at, but then turns around and trashes key Democrats and the Democratic base on Fox News?

    At some level, the damage inflicted by a prominent Dem with name recognition undermining fellow Dems on national television exceeds the good achieved through those votes.  Because in the long term, he's helping to establish the conditions by which Republicans can achieve their goals, their electoral majorities, their mandate.

    And it's also important, in several instances, to make a distinction between the vote on the bill itself, and his vote on cloture.  

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 08:50:58 PM PDT

    •  It would be an interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metal prophet, seventypercent

      statistic to know how often he votes with the Democratic party when it counts.  How often is he there when the Republicans need his vote?

    •  Edison... (3+ / 0-)
      ...said that genius is 99%  perspiration and 1% inspiration.

      What we are dealing with in Leiberman is his inspiration.  What motivates this man to turn up on Sunday, attacking his own colleagues?  what reason does he have for breathing in and breathing out these noises?  He looks like a Dem, says he supports the party, he even wears a little pin, but everything he says sounds like hijacked Republican  TPM's?  I think he's a pirate brigand. A ship flying false colours.

      In this regard he is as a bad for the party as a dozen Karl Roves'.   He provides Republican talking points while flying a Democratic flag.  If he shows up trashing his peers on Timmeh, Imus and Hannity,  he's essentially showing his true colours as far as I am concerned.  Now I like Jack Sparrow as much as the next pirate, but if one of the crew starts pointing his cannons at  the poop deck, raking  the bosun with grape shot and cutting the Captain in half, he deserves to walk the plank!  GAR!

      •  It gives the Republicans cover (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cecrops Tangaroa

        in situation after situation.  And because the media -- whether tempermentally, or structurally -- are predisposed towards treating him seriously, viewing him as someone they can plug into the narrative of "realistic" or "reasonable" Dems, he can wreak untold damage on Dem objectives.

        Not only that, it makes him a horrible human being.  Rove is scummy, but he doesn't pretend to be something he's not.  For Lieberman, though, that's all in a day's work.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 09:43:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Joe Lieberman undermines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pitin, seventypercent
    10% of the Democratic positions in the Senate at our nation's peril.

    Let justice reign though the heavens tremble

    by Viceroy on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 08:57:33 PM PDT

  •  He's staunchly and immovably pro-choice (0+ / 0-)

    Oh really?

    Than why -

    1. Did he vote for cloture on Alito, who will at best erode and at worst overturn Roe v. Wade?
    1. Does he belief a pharamacist or a hospital can deny emergency contraception to a rape victim?
    1. Why did he support Bush's faith-based programs that spread lies about abortion, like it causes breat cancer?

    I think you should get your facts straight.

  •  If the 90% vote record (4+ / 0-)

    is correct, why are Repubs backing him?

    Because that 10% hurts Democrats more than the 90% helps them. That's the only answer I can come up with.

    "As you get older, you get less willing to buy the latest version of reality." Leonard Cohen

    by mentaldebris on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 09:14:37 PM PDT

  •  Anyway, the 90% is bullshit.. (3+ / 0-)

    ..Great, what are the things where Joe did NOT agree with the majority of the party..

       *  Interference in the Schiavo matter
       * Support of Nafta/Cafta
       * Support of the Bush energy policy
       * Willingness to deny rape victims emergency contraception
       * Support of someone from the International Arabian Horse Assocation to run FEMA
       * His unwillingness to demand censure on wiretapping
       * Support of No Child Left Behind'
       * Support of School Vouchers
       * Support of a non-provoqued attack on Iran
       * Interest in privatizing Social Security
       *  Support of Gonzales and the torture policy
       * Vote on cloture for Alito
       * Yes confirmation vote on Rice
       * Support of the Bankruptcy bill

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The 90% figure gives every vote the same weight, which makes it completely useless.

      Furthermore, it reduces the question to his votes, when many of the things that disgust Democrats are his sanctimonious enabling of Republicans and repetition of their talking points, his effective concessions that they are the values party, his appearances on Hannity, etc.

      He has actively abetted and served the Republican message machine. He has not voted Democratic when it really mattered. He actually seems to believe that to have a conscience, even or especially a religious conscience, requires him to side with the worst of the hypocrites, liars and demagogues on the other side of the aisle, which is flatly absurd at best. (Republicans support marriage? In what way? Since when?)

      He's a walking ego with terrible judgment who's completely out of touch with the people he's supposed to serve, to the extent that he seems to believe that they are supposed to serve him. Time to go, Joe.

    •  the 90% is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

      Not only that, but lots of the times he did vote with the Democratic Party were times when he "knew" the Republicans had the votes to defeat a bill, so he was able to vote "Yes" on something he was really against, thereby maintaining his "Democrat" cover.

      I'd like to think that the last thing that went through the warden's mind, besides that bullet, was how did Andy get the best of him. The Shawshank Redemption

      by William Domingo on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 09:44:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whatever (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Shea Hillenbrand is batting .320, but he lost his job too.

    It's about more than just percentages.

    "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." - Salvor Hardin

    by Zackpunk on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 10:17:40 PM PDT

  •  Ideals, no, Asked differently... Cut of our Hide (0+ / 0-)

    Ideals, no,
    but I think you could twist it to yes, if
    we stipultate not ideals, but that

    Loosrman is 90% in step with Washington Power Dems.

    It seems that functionally right now the Dems
    and the Reps are against impeachment.

    .. Are they afraid of what the shrub crime familie's wiretaps have captured of them?
    .. or
    .. do they think that they are getting a cut of our hide when they slaugher us?

    Who is getting a cut?  Halliburton, certainly. The list doesn't end there...


  •  Are symbolic resolutions counted in the 90%? (0+ / 0-)

    I think many people are unaware of just how many bills are introduced in Congress that really have no opposition and are passed 100-0 or so without any fanfare.

    Recently I heard Boxer and Feinstein are pushing for a local post office here to be renamed after Coach John R. Wooden.  No Senator better vote against that; Coach Wooden is a saint.  :-)

  •  Scary thought, (0+ / 0-)

    Joe could have been our V.P.

  •  right (0+ / 0-)

    Any incumbent that sets out to destroy our american values as joe and republicans are doing has to go, and if anyone believes that 90 per cent crap, I have a bridge in brooklyn to sell you..

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