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September 27, 2003

Lieberman Right on Clark

Whether Lieberman is correct that Wesley Clark's emergence as a Democrat is a decision of "political convenience, not conviction," we will have to see as more evidence emerges.

But he is absolutely correct to question Clark's fitness to be that nominee for helping out Bush, while other Democrats were fighting his rightwing assault.

"I was fighting (Bush's) reckless economic strategy while Wes Clark was working to forward the Republican agenda by raising money for the Republican Party."
What has Wesley Clark done to merit my loyalty or support?

Look good on his resume?

In Praise of Politicians: Here's a radical statement-- I hate non-politicians. I don't trust them, because where were they when the politicians were fighting for my rights?

In Clark's case, he was out looking to work for Bush and fundraising on his behalf-- while the politicians were fighting Bush's disastrous economic policy and assaults on working families.

Maybe Clark is completely sincere in his stated political convictions.

But if he wasn't there for progressives as recently as two years ago, what's to say he'll be there two years from now if he wins election?

Politics is about loyalty and accountability. On most of the candidates, we have decades of votes and political actions to evaluate whether they will remain loyal to the grassroots movements that help elect them.

With Clark, we would be buying a pig in a poke.

He hasn't earned the trust of progressives by fighting for the progressive agenda in the past, so he won't get my support to be the Democratic nominee in the future.

It's really an insult to those politicians who loyally fought for progressives for decades that people would drop them in a heartbeat for a guy in a uniform because he's "electable."

People often criticize politicians for being opportunistic and betraying their voters, but I think the Clark boom is a betrayal of those politicians who loyally fought the Bush agenda for the last few years.

Update: Reading the comments, I do want to note one thing. I welcome former Republicans becoming Democratic voters-- I just don't think they should immediately become leaders of the party they once worked against. Part of my point about loyalty and accountability is that anyone switching parties should not edge out those who loyally served the party-- they should pay dues for some period of time before leading the parade. Heck, I could even accept a Clark VP nomination, just not the top slot.

And while I wouldn't vote for Lieberman in the primaries, he spent last year leading the charge against Bush's union-busting Homeland Security proposals, so he's earned the right to demand what Clark has done to earn the loyalty of Democratic voters.

As for Kevin Drum saying that since the RNC doesn't like Clark because they think he could beat Bush, therefore we progressives have to like him-- that's a pretty poor argument. Karl Rove has also cheered on Howard Dean-- does that mean praising Dean must be avoided because it's an RNC talking point?

Posted by Nathan at September 27, 2003 10:53 AM