by Bernie Quigley - for WesPAC, 8/90/06
What a difference a day makes. I think the unfortunate Joe Lieberman of
The events of 9/11 continue to define us. Our century began with 9/11. Our millennium will be remembered first by the events of 9/11.
For myself, it is an item tucked away in the permanent places of my soul and in the corners of my desk where I keep the sacred things; painted stones and paper birds my kids give over the years; pictures of our first sheep and critters. There is a picture of a Buddhist monk in orange robes, like those I’d encountered in military service in
It is those two elements which remain: That a man could walk so calmly to his duty and to his death. And that the rest of us would encounter such a person, and would rise ourselves from the rubble a different people because he had done so.
One writer said that
I’m glad that Joe Lieberman didn’t win. I never liked him as a politician. He was the first or among the first to advise President Bush to respond to 9/11 by going into
But something else is troubling here. As far as I know, Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman in the primary, might well be a fairly competent person because he made a lot of money as a businessman. But all I hear about him is that he is the “anti-war” candidate. He is today exclusively defined by the press as the “anti-war” candidate. And I don’t know exactly what that is. Truthfully, I think it suggests that the Democrats are retreating to the safety of their shadow again, and see the Lamont victory as the ascending front. Will Senator Clinton now flip and be the “anti-war” candidate? Will Kerry?
If public discussion is reduced to such an absurd simplification as “pro war” or “anti war” it will be a disaster for the Democrats. The shadow only makes the strong one stronger. The Democratic Party will be the “anti war” party again, as it became the “anti war” party in 1972 when it lost in a landslide. We in
I do not think it will go that way.
It was a relief to read General Clark’s remarks a few weeks ago in the New Jersey Jewish Reporter quoting Colin Powell, who advised the President, “If you break it, you own it.” We broke it and it is still broke. And it is still our responsibility to fix it. That incompetence continues to break it does not change the responsibility of fixing it.
The singular voice which has remained steady in this from the beginning is General Clark’s. When he signed the book in
I no longer hear that from any other Democrat who gets her or his name in the daily press. No other Democrat today with a public persona speaks like that. No Democrat in the public eye speaks of responsibilities to the region. None has a plan to put back the broken pieces.
The Lieberman defeat brings the Democrats to a fork in the road. Lieberman was rightfully defeated because his stances were misguided and incompetent, and also as Noam Scheiber, a senior editor of The New Republic, says today in The New York Times, because of the perception that he’s a less than reliable partisan.
But if a Lieberman defeat means the return to McGovernism, the Democrats and the country will face disaster in 2008.
General Clark says the White House hadn't put in place the diplomatic and political strategies necessary to win the war in
"It has been over three years of fumbles and mistakes by the White House," he says.
Today, the Democrats could yield to defeatism and relish in its narcotic and malodorous sweetness as it did in 1972. Increasingly, its only other option is Wesley Clark.
But I do not see a place for him in a party of McGovern Democrats.