OK, I understand that the opinion pages of the Times contain opinions. But does that mean they have to abandon facts? Jonah Goldberg has again composed an embarrassingly poorly researched column with utter disregard for the truth.
Goldberg would rather avoid substance in favor of tossing around hackneyed lingo like “McGovernite” and “limousine liberal.”
He says that Joe Lieberman is an outlier as a culturally right-of-center Democrat. Someone needs to introduce Mr. Goldberg to Ms. Lincoln of Arkansas, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Bayh of Indiana, Ms Landrieu of Louisiana, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Reid of Nevada and Mr. Dorgan of North Dakota. All of these senators scored higher on the rankings of the American Conservative Union than Mr. Lieberman. All of them voted for the war. So how does this make Lieberman “the lone feather left intact” of the Democrats ‘Scoop’ Jackson wing?
Goldberg describes Lieberman’s position as one of only three incumbents to lose in a primary “amazing” because just six years ago he was the party’s vice presidential nominee. But Goldberg’s short term memory must be faulty because he fails to recall that Lieberman finished in a pathetic three way tie for third place in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire just two years ago. Shortly thereafter, he abandoned the race.
Then Goldberg claims that white Christian politicians haven’t talked “openly and sincerely about God and traditional values in decades.” Setting aside the insult implied by his separation of Christians of color and Jews, he is again, simply wrong. John Kerry, in his acceptance speech in 2004, said that, “faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don’t want to claim that God is on our side, as Abraham Lincoln told us. I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side.” I’m sure I could cite further examples, but I think that the party’s most recent presidential nominee makes the point that Goldberg is speaking from ignorance.
Finally Goldberg tells us that Lamont is not where the voters are. Never mind that he won a majority of Democrats and that 60% of Americans overall say that the war in Iraq was a mistake. Goldberg would rather avoid substance in favor of tossing around hackneyed lingo like “McGovernite” and “limousine liberal.” The truth is that Lieberman lost because he didn’t represent the values of his constituents. It was not just because he supported the war. So did the senators listed above and they did not attract people-powered primary challengers. The difference is that Lieberman did not just support the President’s war policy, he went out of his way to show overt disrespect for anyone that dissented. He even went so far as to imply that they were traitors saying that, “We undermine the president’s credibility at our nation’s peril.”
It was not, as Goldberg said, the Democrats that, “trotted Lieberman out to win over swing voters and moderate Republicans.” It was Republicans and Fox News that trotted him out as a cudgel with which to beat on other Democrats. That is why Ned Lamont is now the Democratic nominee for Senate in Connecticut, and why he will soon be their senator.