by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
August 6, 2006
SEND JOE LIEBERMAN BACK TO THE SENATE
BRADENTON, Fla., Aug. 6, 2006 -- No image has done so much to undo the Senate career of Connecticut Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman as the kiss on his cheek planted there by President George Bush at the end of the 2006 State of the Union address. It is this Judas kiss that, more than any other fact, may move Connecticut Democrats to castrate themselves by sending one of the most principled, effective and intelligent men in government back to private life.
I don't like Joe Lieberman, and had I been Al Gore, I would not have chosen him for my Vice-President. Even acknowledging all the good he does for Connecticut as a senior legislator and ardent champion of his constituents' welfare, his appeal to me is limited to his rock-strong integrity and willingness to stand up for what he believes.
Those are the qualities America needs far more than it needs another antiwar Democrat. I don't believe what he believes, but that doesn't stop me from admiring him, nor does it stop me from believing he is the best man for Connecticut in Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary.
But you get the impression that Connecticut voters were born yesterday. Do they really think that President Bush kissed him - kissed him, mind you - on prime-time television to help him get re-elected to the U.S. Senate? The powerful image sucked Sen. Lieberman into a whirlpool of angry Democratic sentiment that has turned against the war. Joe Lieberman became the man they would use as the scapegoat, the one who takes the blame for the sins of another.
With a swift, unwanted and unexpected kiss on the cheek, Mr. Bush drafted an unwilling soldier into his neoconservative army - at least in the eyes of watching Democrats. In reality, he made it possible for Republicans to rake back a Senate seat that will become critical as the GOP faces this year's and the 2008 elections looking at a possible loss of both its Senate and House majorities.
Never underestimate the stupidity of the average voter: that is the cardinal rule of Republican politics, if not all politics. I find the Democrats just slightly more honest, slightly more principled, and slightly more passionate about meeting the needs of their country. To get Joe Lieberman out of that equation will be a major victory not for the opportunist Ned Lamont and the antiwar claque, but for the very party that started and wants to finish this war - 10, maybe 15 years from now.
When the consummate political strategist Karl Rove was dreaming up the idea of this Judas kiss, he had plenty of past examples of how guilt by association can be exploited in the political arena. The Republicans have successfully divided conservative and liberal Democrats since the time of Adlai Stevenson, and in Connecticut they may triumph Tuesday because so many good-hearted, well-intentioned, antiwar liberal Democrats see their Senator as a man incapable of change, growth and learning, and would rather risk electing a Republican than re-electing a man of principle, integrity and courage.
We can only pray they don't make that mistake.