Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman--Champion of "Democracy"

"For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."

So declared Senator Joseph Lieberman.

I have no objection to the senator standing as an independent. But I would have much greater respect for his position if he had acknowledged that in running as an independent, he recognize that a majority of CT Democrats did not want him as the nominee of their party. It may be that many of them might be happy to have him continue as a member of the senate--but not as a Democrat. And that judgment must be respected, not belittled.

I find Lieberman's attitude consistent with the attitude of many of of the so-called democratizers here in Washington and some in Brussels too--whose attitude is that democracy is great so long as it produces the right result, and if it doesn't, then keep trying.

Lieberman doesn't want to "let that result stand." EU elites have argued that negative votes against the Constitution don't matter, simply keep holding new referenda until they pass. We have no problem annointing a Russian or other Eurasian political figure who can't win more than 5 percent of the vote as the "true voice of the people" yet dismiss as irrelevant political figures who can win pluralities and majorities. Democracy is great for the Middle East but Islamist victories don't reflect what the people really want.

What a contrast in the reaction of Evan Bayh, who struck the right note: "Senator Bayh supported Senator Lieberman in the primary because of his respect for Senator Lieberman's service and their long friendship," said Bayh spokesman Dan Pfeiffer. "The Democratic voters of Connecticut have spoken, and Senator Bayh respects their choice and will support their nominee."
Gotta love the Washington Post. One of its pieces starts out with the line, "Almost no one saw it coming." Yep. Just like Iraq!
Did you see Blumenthal's political obituary:

"Lieberman was once the most attractive and promising Democrat in his state, his grasp of political realities subtle and sinuous. But he became scornful of disagreement, parading himself as a moral paragon to whom voters should be privileged to pay deference. The elevation of his sanctimony was accompanied by the loss of his political sense."
Lieberman's message is loud and clear: The primary voters have spoken--and they arew wrong, so I am going to ignore their decision.
"EU elites have argued that negative votes against the Constitution don't matter, simply keep holding new referenda until they pass."

That's basically wrong. Opinion polls show that a majority (more than 60%) of citizens in France and the Netherlands *do* want a Constitution, just not the one that was rejected. Hence the need to eventually work out a text they'll find acceptable.

Your concern for democratic purity strikes me as quite hypocritical. You appear to want Brussels to interpret the French refusal of the Constitution along the lines of mainstream Anglo-Saxon thinking on "old" Europe. This, like it or not, could not be further from the will of the French people. Their "non" is not your "no".

The usual assortment of eurosceptic hacks hailed the result of the referendum in France, and yet scant months later their commentary was dripping with exasperation at the short-sightedness of the French, whose refusal of De Villepin's (piecemeal) attempt at labour-market liberalization
has weakened his government so much. This studiously ignores that the rationale of both popular decisions was exactly the same.
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