Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 9 News List

Democrats line up against Bush

The remaining Democratic hopefuls are all singing from the same hymn sheet to defeat the president

By Sidney Blumenthal  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Lieberman presented his alliances as the only way to uphold decency, family life and "values". He urged the Democrats to reform their evil ways, accept God, and only then receive the promise of salvation. This was the essence of his notion of a New Democrat.

He never criticized the religious right for its undermining of the constitution and civil society or for its hateful divisiveness and hypocritical cant. During the unconstitutional impeachment trial of President Clinton, Lieberman was the first Democratic senator to denounce him. On the floor of the Senate, at an uncertain political moment, he upheld Ken Starr as a figure of probity and compared Clinton's private consensual acts with "negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture".

Al Gore chose him as his running mate partly because of this moralistic posturing. His smug cultural conservatism repelled alienated younger voters and sent them in Ralph Nader's direction.

Lieberman served almost as a genial sidekick to Dick Cheney in their debate. During the Florida contest he publicly conceded, without ever consulting anyone, the Republicans' fraudulent overseas ballots (the so-called "Thanksgiving stuffing"), which cost Gore the presidency.

On election night in New Hampshire, Lieberman called Kerry "out of the mainstream", and for old time's sake attacked "the entertainment industry."

With the elimination of the quasi-neoconservative and the rookie, the remaining candidates' messages, with relatively minor variations, are the same in almost every respect. Dean can claim he opposed the Iraq war from the start, but they all lash Bush now on his falsehoods and abuse of intelligence to justify it. Among Democrats, the issue is no longer salient in defining one candidate against another. The nuance of difference means that there are no irreparable internal divisions. For the next two months, though the result appears preordained, the Democratic roadshow will barnstorm the country from coast to coast against Bush, more symphony than cacophony.

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to former US president Bill Clinton, is author of The Clinton Wars.

This story has been viewed 4170 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top