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This morning in teacherken's diary about negotiable vs. non-negotiable 'issues' I wrote a the following comment, which now seems worth turning into a diary:
I don't see myself as an issues Democrat, but as a principles Democrat.

Principles are like general rules without specifics, so they are necessarily devoid of issues.  

I don't think there's anything wrong with being an issues Democrat, but it's just  not what I see as the core of the current Progressive movement.

Here's what I mean:  If you took 100 Lamont supporters aside and asked them what his positions are on the issues--very few could answer.  But if you took them aside and said, 'Why are you supporting Lamont?' they will talk to you about principles:  honesty, standing up to immoral policies, listening to voters, etc.

I think when we talk as 'issues Democrats,' we close the door on people.  When we talk principles--the door swings wide open.    

We don't need to negotiate principles.  We just need to figure out how to express them.

(more after the fold...)

The Establishment Dems Don't See It, Yet
Ned Lamont is not the first new Progressive candidate based  on principles rather than issues.  Paul Hackett was probably the first.  But Lamont has been the most vivid, the most inspiring, and the most successful.

And DC--the Democratic establishment--still doesn't get it.

The voters of Connecticut get it. We get it.  But DC doesn't.  And it is important that we be able to articulate ourselves clearly as the movement grows.
Take a look at this article from the Norwich Bulletin that endorses Lieberman over Lamont. I want everyone to pay special attention to how this author defines this race as about issues, not principles.  To this journalist, 'principle' is just a style of campaigning, not the motivation or basis for the people of Connecticut to vote a Senator out of office:

Our view: Let's keep Lieberman

By now, all of us, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman included, have "gotten the message:" A significant number of Connecticut Democrats, led by Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, are fed up with the Iraq War and want our troops out now.

That's a principled and sincere stand, but it is not reason enough to jettison an 18-year veteran of the Senate, one who sits on the Armed Services Committee and who works well with both sides of the aisle.

The Norwich Bulletin supports U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in Tuesday's Democratic primary.


This article is not uncivil to Lamont.  It is very polite, if not a bit simplistic. But notice that to this journalist, what is really happening between Ned Lamont, the voters of Connecticut and Progressive Democratic activists and citizens across this country--notice that this is completely lost.  That is to say:  this journalist does not understand, doesn't 'get it.'

What doesn't he or she get?  Principles.  They don't get that the race is about principles.

The argument in the paper is that the support for Lamont is about 'an issue' (e.g., Iraq), the message about 'the issue' has been received, and Joe Lieberman should remain in office on the basis of his positions on other 'issues' and his long time support of those 'issues' (e.g., his 18 years of experience).

This has been a 'principalled' race by Lamont, they argue. Principal is just a style of presenting 'issues.'

This is so far from what is happening in Connecticut and in the country that I am amazed--although not surprised--this article went to press.

Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural speech said the folowing--and note how many times he uses the word 'principle':

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people -- a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment.

The basis of our American form of government is not 'issues.'  It is principles.  And among them--among the most important is the honest and fair representation of the people.  The core principle of government in America is that our leaders rule not for, not with, not instead of--but at the election of the people.  Lincoln restated this some years later using the word 'people' over and over again, but Jefferson makes the point clearer.

The basis for holding office, in other words, is being true to the 'constellation' of principles on which our nation was founded--on which we fought wars, died by the thousands, and  are willing to step up and defend forever.

For reasons that I cannot fully explain, at some point Joe Leiberman forgot this.  He became, over the course of his 18 years in office, not a representative of the people and a defender of American principles--but sommething that I would call an 'expert' on various areas of governing.  As a result of holding office for a long time, Lieberman began to think of himself as an expert whose decisions mattered more than the views of his of his constituents.  And when he became that kind of elected official, he abandoned the constellation of principles that Jefferson named so long ago.

Now, when the President came to Joe Leiberman and asked him for support in a war against Iraq, Joe Lieberman had already abandoned those principles that he had been asked to uphold--or he abandoned them in the process of that request from the President.  We know this because his state was saying, 'No war in Iraq,' but Joe Lieberman said in return, I hear what you are saying, but I believe based on what I know that  war in Iraq is the right thing.  He abandoned the principle of representing the people on which this country is based.  And for that reason, he fell out of favor with Connecticut and Democrats in the country.

Ned Lamont, to his great credit, was able to see that Lieberman had abandoned the principles that served as the basis of his having been elected. And so Lamont ran a campaign to restore those principles:  representation, honesty, listening to your constituents--the principles of our system of government above any personal belief in one's own expertise or incumbency.

This is what the Lamont campaign is about.  And Lamont is winning because the principles that Jefferson first spoke about over 200 years ago, and which Lieberman abandoned and Lamont embraced--these principles are not just written on some piece of paper kept behind glass in a stuffy archive in Washington, DC.  They are in the heart and soul of every Democrat in this country--and a fair number of Republicans, too.

Originally posted to Jeffrey Feldman on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 04:50 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have always been perturbed when people (7+ / 0-)

    writing about Democrats say the base is full of one-issue Democrats who care only about their own respective issue and can't get along with each other. There are people like that for sure, but I am not one of them, and I think most people are not like that. I do have a comprehensive set of principles that I try to follow that I believe our politicians should be following. Where I come down on the issues is shaped by the principles, no the other way around. But in reality, it is an interplay between the two things. Principles are embedded in issues. Liberal principles are often more complex and harder to explain.

    Also, often people who write about politics do not understand that liberals do not vote their narrow self-interests. Liberals vote for candidates and support positions that often have some notion of the common good, or justice, or fairness contained in them.

    Hold on to your hats. Get ready for the flurry of propaganda leading us into the "clash of civilizations" war.

    by lecsmith on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:03:44 PM PDT

    •  There ARE a Lot of One-Issue Dems (0+ / 0-)

      I disagree in part when you seem to discount the number of one-issue Democrats. I think that for many years, that has been true for many Democrats. For me, one part of Joe's big speech of today particularly stood out:

      But don’t take my word for it. Ask the state AFL-CIO, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, the Human Rights Campaign, and more than a dozen other leading progressive organizations that are standing by me in this primary, because I have stood by them in the Senate.

      I think Joe is absolutely right: He's been able to convince those groups to vote on a single issue.

      Thank god for "Crashing the Gate," all the other post-election books, Lakoff and his framing work, and much of the commentary on DKos and other progressive blogs that have helped make clear the short-sightedness of one-issue voting, and the importance of holding true to much broader progressive principles.  

    •  democrats in the senate (0+ / 0-)

      following principles?  yes, the principle of how to capitulate and forgo opportunities to actually convey something of value.

      it is definitely time to "throw the bums out." and Lieberman, as respected in many ways as he might be, has been both a leader of the status quo, and to some extent a supporter of the current administration (see blockquote below, and link therein, for what this means).  and republicans, the media, and some democrats, are spinning opposition to him, which is very good for the democratic party, into something bad.

      one of the less helpful things that some democrats have also done is in some ways help the republican spin the lieberman Lamont thing into a one issue race, and then at that it is a false choice

      .  

      democrats simply can not make up the ground sufficiently from the far rightif this type of perception in the mainstream, media, and joe (not "joe republican" lieberman) voter is not adequatlely corrected and turned around.  

      the question I have, is why havent prominent democrats spoken sufficiently about, and made the point to the media, such as these?

      or, from the link above:

      Being strong on national security DOES NOT mean agreeing with the Bush administration's anti consitutional, anti democratic, Orwellian like[arguments and tactics] and rather oversimplified and antagonistic international view of things.

      I suggest, repeatedly, that it is CRITICAL to convey this on here (as the media and other democrats follow this site) and to a majority of America, and to the media . It is major how large a role this misperception plays in harming democrats (as it did in  2004).

      here is an example of an extremely harmful WSJ piece (which also, as the Lieberman campaign is doing, lazily confuses fighting terrorism with the action in Iraq), that was marginally responded to by democrats, and just helped to futher solidify the same old same old misperceptions, for example. It should have been used as an example of exactly what the far right does and believes in order to make its "points," and then tied to principles, including national security (and beginning with not having to grossly mischaracterize the issues in order to make one's points, like the persistent pattern of the far right).

      Here is in some ways a "worse" AP article, as noted in this diary, because to many it appears "balanced." Not only does it reiterate many of the republican party talking points, but most of the hightly manipulative and extremely misleading statements therein are not even addressed. Then, to top it off, when a democrat (the DNC spokesperson) is given a chance to respond, the spokespeson -- following a common, self destrutive amd largely unrecognized tendency on the part of democrats -- provides utterly unhelpful conclusions and statements in effect "telling" voters what they think (these kind of statments may have appeal to hard core democrats, but trust me, they don't do much in terms of communciating anything, to anybody else. Mehleman's statement therein, which simply has to be addressed, does.)

      These kinds of articles, which have far more subtle and pervasive impact than I believe may be commonly assumed, and these types of responses (ditto) REALLY DO MATTER. this country can not achieve balance without these things being appropriately addressed.  

      It is all part of the larger picture of making the right communications.  followed up by, as the piece above points out, communicating principles.  

  •  Just like most politicians in office today (5+ / 0-)

    Lieberman began to think of himself as an expert whose decisions mattered more than the views of his of his constituents.

    So many have forgotten just who is their employer.  We, the voting public, must remind our officials at all levels that they are employed at our discretion.  The principles of election and representative government are much too important to be let to lie fallow.  Regular stirring of the pot will keep the stew fresh.

    We have no more children to waste. US OUT OF IRAQ NOW!

    by possum on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:08:29 PM PDT

  •  You nail it with this (8+ / 0-)

    As a result of holding office for a long time, Lieberman began to think of himself as an expert whose decisions mattered more than the views of his of his constituents.

     What else is there to say?

    the next voice you hear will be your own - Jackson Browne

    by Coldblue Steele on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:12:08 PM PDT

  •  Editorialists in Connecticut don't get it either. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drangel, BB10

    Didn't Lieberman just score a sweep of the largest Connecticut papers' endorsements?

    Lieberman's charging, and we're backslapping. No time for complacency, let along self-congrutulatory smugness, is there?

  •  disappointed (0+ / 0-)

    i have been interested in what the local papers would say  in regards to endorsements. both the new london day and norwich bulliten gave the nod to holy joe. so did the courant. it does not change my vote for ned. i believe folk understand there is something going on here that just isn't getting a lot of print or air time. my fingers are crossed for a tuesday to remember. i have done my part with letters to the editor, talking to friends and family, and trying to get the info out. this will be a wild two days...

    •  I still think Lamont has a really good shot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Ball

      at pulling this off.  What happens after he wins is something to worry about Wednesday morning.

      But I agree--I live in New York and was still very disappointed to see that Norwich Bulletin piece.  I just don't understand why the print people aren't more inspired by the energy of the Lamont campaign.  They seem so easily swayed by these canned arguments about 'weakening the party' and 'return to the days of McGovern.'  It's such a load of crap. My sense is that they will wake up soon.  They're not dumb, just slow.

  •  Principles: In the eye of the office holder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffrey Feldman, BB10

    Lieberman would argue that he does have "principles" just look at his voting record. Sirota in Hostile Takeover takes a closer look at just what that voting record represents:

    Never to be outshone by fellow senators in stiffing average Americans, Senator Joe Lieberman (D) joined in the fun. The Connecticut lawmaker, who has taken $267,000 from the banking industry in his career, sent out a press release trumpeting himself as a great defender of the middle class, pointing to his vote against final passage of the bankruptcy legislation. Yet Lieberman's press release conveniently omitted the fact that just hours before his "no" vote, he cast a key "yes" vote that undermined courageous lawmakers who were blocking the bill. This procedural vote (called "closure"), which Lieberman supported, was widely acknowledged to be the vote that actually passed the bill. (109)

    Lieberman is sadly not alone in touting a voting record that only tells half the story; however, his definition of principles provides insight to into the unprincipled workings of Washington, and thus support for this frame. Perhaps Lieberman would tell us that "his" principles include always bringing the vote to the floor. Well, since the minority has very few tools to fight off legislation that betray the overarching Democratic principles, he is leaving that tool unused. Hmmm?

    Furthermore, he obviously thought this was a bill that his constituents rejected, or why send out the press release? In fact, since the press release was deceptive, what does that say about Lieberman?

    One of the guiding principles of a healthy democracy is transparency. This snip from Sirota's book, would suggest that the voters of Connecticut could do much better for themselves and us, with finding a replacement for Lieberman who believes telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    •  That's a great quote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Ball

      Lieberman has developed this set of habits where he bascially rejects the voice of the people, then explains why that is in the best interest of the people.

      •  Principled government (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeffrey Feldman, BB10

        The bad set of habits exhibited by Lieberman wouldn't occur as unprincipled by the insiders in DC. They would consider us naive to believe that a lawmaker wouldn't play the game. In this case it was a vote for closure, but just often it is underlying amendments, earmarks, or traded votes. Red state Dems trade with blue state republicans. It is easy, and it's dishonest.

        What we see is a congress filled with a majority of people who are very good at getting elected and very bad at governing. That goes double for Principled government.

        Lieberman and others, know that the voters of Connecticut are not going keep track of these "process" practices. But it is these very practices that form the basis for what's going wrong.

        Lamont may end up caught in the same corrupt process, but his fate will then be up to the voters in the next election. Lamont sounds ready to represent our better angels. Personally, I believe that it will not take a great number of these "throw the bums out" moves to at least shift the system to a greater degree of honesty. They will never know when the roots might strike again. And keeping them on their toes is the job of all voters, R & D.

        How can anyone evaluate the performance of the people they elect when the real damage is done with smoke and mirrors? We can agree or disagree with policies, but we all agree about honesty. Who has time to track down every twisted vote? Principles matter.

  •  Beautiful diary. (0+ / 0-)

    You nailed the stakes and big picture better than anyone to date. You are so on the money when you distinguish the difference between issues and principles that it makes me smile as I read this diary again. Thanks.

    •  New Frame Suggestion: Stop using 'DC' like this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iddybud, Simplify, DBunn

      I agree, beautiful stuff, but...  I wish people would stop gratuitously throwing around "DC" as a synonym for all that is wrong with the Democratic Party.

      First of all, when it comes to Congress, DC is the only part of the continental US without blame.  WE DON'T HAVE ANY REPS.  The rest of America sends the crappy ones to us.

      Second, take a serious look at the consultants you consider to be the worst ones -- guess what?  Most don't live here.  The problem isn't "DC" consultants, it's "BAD" consultants.  Remove DC from the map tomorrow, ship us to France or something, and guess what?  You'd still have the same problem.

      I understand it's a convenient shorthand, I really do.  But it's a pain in the neck for those of us who live here.  And worse, it's simply not accurate.

      Great diary, but please find a better, more accurate frame for the title.

      •  A Word from Jersey... (0+ / 0-)

        No offense, but when someone refers to DC Dems, the shorthand works.  Yes, you live somewhere where your vote doesn't count, but if it freaks you out so much, move to Maryland or Virginia.  The term DC Democrats refers to a concept, not actual rank and file Dems who happen to live in the District.  We all know what it means.  Here in Jersey, whe have been taking that kind of abuse for years.  Toughen up and get over it, they're not talking about you.  

        •  Fine concept -- get another term (0+ / 0-)

          It's simply not accurate, and it allows the rest of the country to get off scott free ("I'm not one of them DC Dems, I must be okay!").  

          It's wrong, and it's a massive work-avoidance device.   Yes, it's easy to lump "DC" as all that is wrong with the Dems, but it's simpy not accurate.  I'm willing to bet you've got more than your share of establishment old school types in Jersey, eh?

          And when it comes to the "just move to MD or VA" part... seriously, read that again.  It might've been meant offhand, but it comes across as... well, not so cool, to say the least.   I live in DC, it's my home.  I don't Want to leave my home.  I just wish the rest of America would get off its collective ass and help us finally get democracy in our nation's capital.  

      •  Reasonable point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hlinko

        Not only don't you have representatives, you don't have senators, do you?  And yet are there not more citizens in DC than in, say, Montana?  Something's wrong with this picture.

        I feel the same way about Iowa when people savage it for the 2004 caucuses.  Iowans are given far too much blame for pushing Kerry forward.  We're not that powerful.

        Still, the shorthand makes it simple.  I wonder if there is another shorthand/frame/etc. that could be used.

        •  Populations (0+ / 0-)

          I should have done research BEFORE posting the above. ;)

          According to factmonster, in July 2005, Washington, D.C., had a population of 550,521, making it MORE populous than Wyoming and within spitting distance of North Dakota, Vermont and Alaska.

      •  Point well-taken (0+ / 0-)

        Hoo boy, we surely don't want you shipped off to France, John. ;)

        Jude

  •  There's a better Jefferson theme (0+ / 0-)

    Jefferson noted that all societies divide into aristocrats and democrats.
    Lieberman and the DC Dems represent aristocrats.
    It's too early to tell where Lamont is.   So for example, is Lamont going to push for a just peace in the Middle East or just side with Israel?

    By the way, I'd like to see Ned stake out positions similar to his great uncle, Corliss.   That guy, a free thinker, had a keen intellect and took on the CIA in a lawsuit, kicking their ass, I believe.

    "In a system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes." Chomsky

    by formernadervoter on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 08:16:07 PM PDT

  •  Great Stuff (0+ / 0-)

    JF!!

    You hit the nail on the head. All great politicians/leaders/orators speak in terms of principles/values. And only go into details when pressed.

  •  Up for rescue, (0+ / 0-)

    and "too late to recommend".  Oh, well... Sorry.

    I'm with you all the way on this one.

  •  This is the Thing (0+ / 0-)

    It's important now to move into the second phase of the blog movement to aid progressives in retaking the country: we have to work outward, posting messages like that to those who are willing to listen, not only that it is proper and principled to stand up to this administration and stand up for what's right, but that it is a winning strategy.  I've been posting comments trying to get some attention paid to pulling back on invective and adding some moderation designed for actually winning elections to the mix.  It's August, 2006, three months from the elections.  It's time.

  •  Whether or not (0+ / 0-)

    Lamont wins, I believe he has put the fear of (the voters) into the consultants, lobbyists, pundits, and career losers. Good job, Ned!

    And when he DOES win, those bums will have all the more to fear. While we move on to the next item: how to govern.

  •  you last line (0+ / 0-)

    They are in the heart and soul of every Democrat in this country--and a fair number of Republicans, too.

    I actually linked to your comment in this diaryfrom earlier today

  •  Well said, Jeffrey (0+ / 0-)

    thanks for an excellent diary.

  •  Joe does listen -- to the Pres and to lobbyists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol

    The principle is WHO do our politicians listen to: an extremely dangerous, power mad President of the opposition party and lobbyists representing international conglomerates, or the electorate. This is a theme Lamont has rightly pushed (mentioning over and over that there are 63 registered lobbyists for each member of Congress) but could push even harder.

    "This party's strength does not come from the consultants down, it comes from the grassroots up." --Howard Dean

    by Jim in Chicago on Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 09:59:14 PM PDT

  •  I was watching Nightline (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BB10

    and I saw the same old tired Vietnam framing of this election from people who are either too set in their ways or too lazy to figure out what's really going on.  Nobody digs anymore, they just accept the framing of the person they are covering.  For Dan Balz to stand next to Terry Moran and say that a Lamont win means the Dems will go back to their Vietnam days on national security is such lazy bullshit, and it pisses me off.  When Republicans and Reagan Dems like Jim Webb say it's time to go, then it's not some "cowardly liberal" position, especially when a solid majority of the nation agrees.

    Liberal does not equal soft on security.  Liberal equals smart on security.

    That's the fucking framing.

    There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. -5.25, -4.67

    by wolverinethad on Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 11:59:32 PM PDT

    •  If I recall it was Nixon that withdrew (0+ / 0-)

      from Nam and last I heard ge was a republican.Talk about revisionist's historical facts.

      Live free or Die versus You woon' worry about civil liberties if your dead.Serious disconnect to the constitution I would say

      by kittycago on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 06:22:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Framing (0+ / 0-)

    There is enough framing here to build an entire house... and senate! I like the idea of defining Democrats as the party of principle... rather than using issues. People can disagree with an issue, but still support a person with principles. Now all we have to do is make that a reality.

    Democrats want better government, government that serves real people and not just those with power and influence. Nevada Appeal, Carson City NV

    by Tuba Les on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 12:03:54 AM PDT

  •  This says it great-thx, Jeff! (0+ / 0-)

    Being new, this is first time I've seen this, Jeff -- it's Miriam ... the other "Feldman"  :). Met you at NYBri's event in NYC.
    I know you're probly in CT RIGHT NOW - my heart is with everyone there.
    DFNYC is coming, too - plus I sent giant email to all my friends and lists to go ... I'm stuck in a focus group and can't get out!!!!!!
    If I get out in time will jump on train and go!!!

  •  Thanks for this interesting post, Jeffrey (0+ / 0-)

    American voters had already begun to lose faith in President Bush's foreign policy back in October, 2003 when I noticed a mistake I thought Joe Lieberman was making. The press called it "working the middle." I believe that he and the Democratic establishment have been miscalculating the hearts and minds of what they have perceived to be "the center" for a very long time. Their first mistake was to believe and trust that bipartisanship and collegiality within Congress  would be effective and would please Democratic voters who were in "the center".  

    What we have learned since 2000, watching the other side of the aisle, is that principles do not matter. Only winning matters. Grover "drown the social safety net in the bathtub" Norquist compared bipartisanship to date rape. That's what the rubber-stamp GOP principles have become.

    I've watched Joe Lieberman and other miscalculating Democrats totally miss the point and continue to play the GOP's game on the floor of Congress (sans principles) for far too many years to believe they have any real conviction left.

    In 2003, Joe Klein observed this form of politics at play:

    The grass-roots dismay began with the disputed election result in Florida, 2000. The Republicans seemed far more tough-minded in pursuit of the prize, bringing in their heavy guns — the Jeb Bush operation, family consigliere Jim Baker and, ultimately, five Supreme Court justices — to win the presidency. Then the Democrats in Congress made the disastrous assumption that Bush would be amenable to bipartisan compromise. "Bipartisanship is another name for date rape," the fanatic G.O.P. tax cutter Grover Norquist later said, in what could stand as an epitaph for the gullible Congressional Democrats. No less a liberal than Ted Kennedy gave his imprimatur to Bush's No Child Left Behind education bill, only to find that the money he expected to fund the program had been left behind. Democrats also enabled Bush to pass his tax cuts, his Medicare prescription-drug plan, the Patriot Act — and, the most egregious case, the Iraq war resolution. When Howard Dean made his landmark speech to the Democratic National Committee last February, he opened by asking, "What I want to know ... is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the President's unilateral attack on Iraq?" The audience — leading Dems from the outback — went wild.

    Written nearly three years ago, Joe Klein knew things would evolve. He ended his article saying,

    "One can only wonder what the next New-New thing will be."

    The new-new thing, as you so deftly have explained, Jeffrey, is that we are looking for principled candidates who understand "the rules" of Congress, and vigorously work with and around them, if necessary, keeping in mind and in good faith the full spirit of our Constitution - not just for Democrats, but for all Americans.  As Jefferson averred, it is the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad. The rubber-stamp Republicans have left too many Americans behind in their unprincipled rush to "win."

    It's time for a change -and I hope to God more political analysts and leaders "get it" soon.

    •  Link and comment (0+ / 0-)

      By the way, the link to the Joe Klein article is here.

      Also, you may wish to read a statement I'd made back in 2003 that I think helps to reinforce what you've said about principles.

      Back then, many were focusing on Howard Dean's "anger" - but I saw something very different in his appeal. An excerpt:

      Howard Dean matches our courage, shares our intuition, welcomes our participation, respects our awareness.
      This is what makes him a winner..not his "anger".

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