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Uh oh Kilmer


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One of the Dems seems to be wising up. :silly:


Lieberman Warns Party On Ideology

Candidate Assails 'Extremist' Policies

By Dan Balz

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 5, 2003; Page A01

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), expanding a fight among Democrats, attacked former Vermont governor Howard Dean and several other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday, arguing that they have embraced extreme left ideas that threaten to return the party to political exile.

Saying he is in a fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, Lieberman said policies rooted in the "vital center" of the political spectrum, not what he termed the antiwar and big government policies of his rivals, provide the only hope of defeating President Bush. He warned Democrats that abandoning the policies that helped elect Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 would result in a terrible setback for the party.

"I share the anger of my fellow Democrats with George Bush and the wrong direction he has taken our nation," Lieberman said in a speech at the National Press Club. "But the answer to his outdated, extremist ideology is not to be found in outdated extremes of our own. That path will not solve the challenges of our time and it could well send us Democrats back to the political wilderness for a long time."

The party's 2000 vice presidential nominee saved his toughest criticism for Dean, the upstart candidate whose passionate opposition to the Iraq war and pugnacious confrontation of Bush have propelled him to the upper tier of the Democratic race. But aides said Lieberman also had in mind two other rivals whom they see standing in the Connecticut senator's path, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) over trade, taxes and health care, and Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) for what he described as "ambivalence" over going to war in Iraq.

Lieberman, who was one of Bush's strongest supporters in the run-up to the war in Iraq, has been struggling to find his voice in a year when his centrist ideas and restrained demeanor have appeared out of sync with many Democratic activists. He has led in several national polls for the nomination but he is behind Dean, Gephardt and Kerry in Iowa and behind Dean and Kerry in New Hampshire.

Lieberman's decision to escalate his rhetoric over the direction of the party came on the eve of a candidate forum at the AFL-CIO executive council meeting in Chicago and ensures that the concerns about Dean's gathering strength and what it represents will continue to be a dominant feature of the battle for the Democratic nomination.

A week ago, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), of which Lieberman is a former chairman, warned that the party is in danger of being captured by the "far ideological left" and other DLC leaders warned that a Dean nomination could result in the kind of landslide defeats Democrats suffered in 1972 and 1984.

With Democrats focused on the two-day union meeting in Chicago, Gephardt continued his campaign to build momentum aimed at winning the AFL-CIO's endorsement this fall. The United Steelworkers of America scheduled a news conference to announce their endorsement this morning in Chicago, with a Gephardt adviser confirming that the former House Democratic leader was the union's choice.

Tonight's 90-minute Democratic candidate forum will begin at 8 p.m. EDT and will be carried on C-SPAN.

As Lieberman was delivering his broadside against what he saw as the leftward drift of the party, Gephardt was in New York offering more elements of an economic plan that would eliminate all of Bush's tax cuts and use much of that money to fund a health care plan designed to provide near universal access to health insurance, including a rise in the minimum wage, accelerated spending from the Highway Trust Fund and a federally guaranteed national development bank to help states through their fiscal problems.

Gephardt said the Bush administration economic policies are decimating the middle class and described Bush's program as "Houdini economics because it almost takes a sleight of hand to make a multi-trillion dollar surplus disappear."

Arguing that the Democrats had helped produce the longest-running expansion in history during the 1990s, Gephardt said, "President Bush has taken us right back to the broken policies of the past, the economics of debt and regret: unaffordable tax cuts for the few, zero new jobs, surging unemployment."

Lieberman was equally unsparing in his criticism of Bush, saying the president "has left our country dangerously unprepared to defend against and defeat the threat of terrorism. And his leadership has clearly driven our great American economy right into the ditch."

Bush, however, was a pretext to draw distinctions with his opponents. "If George Bush and his bankrupt ideology are the problem, old Democratic policies like higher taxes and weakness on defense are not the solution," Lieberman said.

He said repealing all the Bush tax cuts, as Dean and Gephardt have proposed, would hurt the middle class; called Gephardt's health care plan a "break-the-bank $2 trillion program"; warned against raising "the walls of protectionism" on trade; and said the United States "must not shrink from the use of force when our security or our values are at stake."

Together his speech provided a summary of arguments Lieberman began to make in May, at a Democratic debate in South Carolina, which his advisers said have become more relevant because of Dean's success and which they believe will crystallize the choice for Democratic voters more sharply.

During the question period yesterday, Lieberman brushed aside repeated inquiries about the state of his campaign. "I feel good about where this campaign is," he said at one point. At another he vowed, "I'm not going to stand back and let this party be taken over by people who would bring us to the political wilderness again."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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I doubt it. I think a new top tiered party will eventually take over the Dems spot. Most likely Libertarian.

Clean up on Aisle 1, Kilmer has just messed himself. :D

Seriously though...the parties have been merging closer and closer the past 20 years or so. I remember reading a fascinating (well it was to me at the time since I was a PoliSci major) book called "The Decline of the Two Party System" (or something like that)...it made a lot of sense then. It talked about how straightline party voting by Joe Public has become almost non-existant. Because of this, parties have had to merge closer to the center to assure themselves of being elected.

Sure there are extremists on both sides that capture their party's imagination every few years...but reality is...the difference between the majority of the parties is so little...that sometimes its hard to qualify. Others here have talked about Dubya being a true conservative when it comes to social issues...but more liberal when it comes to economic issues.

We all know that Kilmer et al have a field day grosuing about the extremists of the DEM party. Me, I could care less about them - they will never become true leaders of the DEM party. Just like the Pat Robertsons and Jesse Helms aren't the true leaders of the GOP. But they are fun to blame with what's wrong in the GOP ;)

I mean...we all have to have someone to blame.

Anyways...just my two cents.

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I think you are being a bit short-sighted Kilmer. The Democrat party isn't nearly as close to death's door as the Labour Party was in the UK twenty years ago. These things tend to happen in cycles.

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TEG, while I agree with your theory, the events happening today paint a different picture. The Dem party is falling hard to the left. Lead by Dean, Pelosi, Hillary, etc. The moderate electable Dems (Clinton, Edwards, Lieberman) are losing their footing. One of a few scenarios will play out.

1- Dean wins the Dem primary and gets slaughtered forcing the Dems to move back to the middle.

2- Kerry/Lieberman/Edwards wins the primary and loses and the Dem party lurches farther left, ensuring future GOP gains.

3- They find a happy medium. Most likely to occur. And go back to the Clinton model of centrist. Keeping the soccermoms happy while still satisfying their base.

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The problem is that if I see a "moderate Republican" and a "moderate Democrat", who both tend to support the same kind of fiscal policies, I'd still suspect that the Dem will spend more and the Rep will not because that is more consistent with the nature of their core political idealogy.

I too think Lieberman's right, and he's right because there is not much that's all that wrong with America right now. Yes, we have problems that need fixing of course, but there's not one glaring thing - like slavery or segregation or civil rights or crime, etc. - that breeds activism at the grass roots level. This leaves the parties to tweak things, which doesn't exactly engender passion in anybody, and it leads both parties to the middle.

If the Dems go left, they're going to be very out of tune with the vast majority of Americans; the same would be true if the GOP went right.

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Lieberman is the most conservative democrat. For example he thinks video games are evil, they cause violence, morale corruption etc, Its new it must be evil what an old fart.

personally i would much rather see Gen. Wesley run for President but i doubt he will.

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when you're young, EVERYBODY is an old fart.

I like Lieberman. He has beliefs. He takes positions that are consistent with his beliefs. He sticks to his guns and doesn't put his bare @ss out the front door every a.m. to see which way the winds of public opinion are blowing. Whats not to like?

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As the racial demographics of our country changes so will the political parties. 50 years from now the mostly white repuiblican party will fade away. As black and hispanics become the majority in this country the Dems or whatever new party they support will be running this country like it or not. They may start there own party and the Dems will fade away too.

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