Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Profile in Courage

I remember reading President Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage after my trip to Boston in 2001. The book, if you recall, dealt with a few Senators. As the backcover states:
During 1955-55, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft
. The other Senators were Sam Houston, Edmond G. Ross, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar and George Norris.

People will say what they want about Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. He is in the mold of the late Senator Henry "Scoop Jackson, as The Bull Mooose says. Look at this excerpt from Scoop's bio:
Domestic policy: Jackson often found himself at odds with the Democratic Party on defense issues, yet on domestic issues he remained a quintessential New Dealer, firm in his belief that an active Federal government could improve the lives of ordinary citizens. He supported such initiatives as the GI Bill, Medicare, and Medicaid. Jackson worked to ensure that his own constituents would benefit directly from federal spending and programs. Jackson and his colleague, Warren G. Magnuson, were able to use their committee positions and accumulated seniority to direct federal money and programs to Washington State.
Unless I am mistaken, that is exactly what we are seeing today.

Unfortunately for Jackson, his positions, according to Wikipedia, were the "forerunner for modern neoconservatism." The only reason why that is said is because Republicans that used to work for him were Democats back in the day. Most of his aides went on to work for the Reagan administration. Look at the article in the Guardian:
Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, the two leading strategists at the defence department, and Richard Perle, an unusual but influential Pentagon adviser, are all former Democrats who worked for Jackson in the 70s, and looked on him as their mentor.

Mr Perle still claims to be a registered Democrat, in honour of the late senator for Washington state, and Mr Wolfowitz has been known to describe himself as a "Scoop Jackson Republican".

This week President Bush put another Jackson protege, Elliott Abrams, in charge of White House policy in the Middle East.

Mr Abrams, who was convicted for misleading Congress about the Iran-contra affair (money secretly raised by selling arms to Iran sent to the contra guerrillas in Nicaragua), remains fiercely loyal to the source of his anti-communist zeal.

He recently argued that the Jackson's "insistence on a 'moral realism", combining American power with principled support of human rights and democratic allies, helped to prevent disaster during America's post-Vietnam crisis of detente, malaise, and the Brezhnev Doctrine."

Another acolyte, Frank Gaffney, runs the centre for security policy, a rightwing thinktank which has served as an incubator for the emerging themes of Bush foreign policy since September 11: the assertive use of military power, an aggressive pre-emptive approach to emerging threats, and uncompromising support for the Likud party and its policies in Israel.

"Jackson's influence is more powerful now than when he was alive," said Charles Horner, who worked beside Mr Perle on the senator's staff, in his "bunker" - Room 135 in the Senate office building, from where they fought against detente and the peaceniks in their own party.
This is by no means an endorsement of that type of conservatism.

One could argue, as the Bull Moose does that Scoop Jackson lives on in the form of Joe Lieberman.
Unfortunately, there are not too many Scoop types in the Democratic Party these days. One is Joe Lieberman, and incredibly some on the loony left would like to run him out of the party. (More ominously, the Lieberman discussion on some left wing web sites quickly descends into anti-Semitism - the hosts of these sites may not be responsible for comments but imagine if this took place on conservative venues).
I can attest to the anti-Semitism. It's wrong, inappropriate, and uncalled for. Since Lieberman's editorial, there have been numerous front-page posts--many with anti-Semitic comments. I'm thankful for the people that have been posting in support of Joe or in support of Israel.

Democrats have got to get tough on national security. This was our issue in WW1, WW2, Korea, and the early stages of Vietnam. I'm all for a time-table in Iraq. If we are seen as weak on national security and defense policies, we lose. We cannot afford that at all in 2006 or 2008.

Don't get me wrong, I am anti-war. I believe we should be focusing in on Afghanistan--that's where the attackers were from, were they not? I also think that by doing what we are in Iraq that Iran and Syria will build up with weapons and our troops won't be there to take care of any mess that may be.

People may say that I hate Republicans because I am a Democrat. That is not the case. It simply is not. I have respect for Senators like McCain, Hagel, and Lugar. Especially Hagel and Lugar. Both have been very critical of the administration's handling of the war. Abraham Lincon would be a Democrat in today's society.

I'm not saying Lieberman's stance on the war is right. I'm not saying it's wrong either. What I am saying is Sen. Lieberman is showing courage with what his morals and principles are even if it is being opposed by many.

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