Monday, September 1, 2008

August 31, 2008

     Well, it wasn't Joe Lieberman, and maybe that's too bad.  He is supposed to speak to the Republicans this week, and I'll be interested in what he has to say.
     Lieberman, of course, began life as a Democrat, was elected to the Senate as one, ran for Vice President with Al Gore in 2000 as one.  That changed in 2006 when Connecticut Democrats denied him the party's renomination to the Senate.  Lieberman, undeterred, ran as an independent and won.  He now gets denounced by radio ranters at both ends of the spectrum, and that seems to bother him not at all.
     I don't know very much about John McCain's real running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, but her selection seems meant to reassure the party's conservatives, who have doubts about McCain, the reputed maverick.  Palin is more orthodox--anti-abortion, pro-gun, and so on.
     The trouble is, if you are as fed up with Washington politics as I've become over the last twenty years, you want more mavericks, not fewer ones.  So much of what goes on here is knee-jerk, party line nonsense.  That hasn't always been true.  When I first came here in the 1950s, the Senate was full of thoughtful people--Democrats like Mike Mansfield of Montana, Paul Douglas of Illinois;  Republicans like Jacob Javits of New York, Everett Dirksen of Illinois.  Those senators could argue and debate, seriously, about what was good for the country and when they'd reached agreement they could cross party lines and pass laws that worked--the Civil Rights Act, for one, the Voting Rights Act for another.  Some losers too, of course, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.  But hey, stuff happened.
     Lieberman is somewhat in that mold--interested in issues, in ideas.  So maybe it's just as well he's staying in the Senate.  He can show the new guys how it used to work.   

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