Monday, June 19, 2006

Why the Connecticut senate primary race is important

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post on Lieberman's neo-conservative views on regime change in Iran. Greenwald argues that while Lieberman's supporters would rather squelch the democratic process to preserve the incumbent principal, an actual primary will provide Americans with a debate that was never had in public in the lead up to the Iraq War:
It would be incredibly irresponsible for the Democrats not to have an all-out debate about whether they want to be represented in the Senate by someone whose foreign policy views are more or less identical to the most militaristic ideologues in the administration. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the primary challenge against Lieberman is motivated almost exclusively by his support for the Iraq war (an obviously false claim given that numerous Democrats who supported the war are still supported by most Democrats), Lieberman's neoconservative world-view is squarely at odds with the views of most Democrats (and most Americans), and that, among other things, is what is at issue in his primary challenge.

It is highly revealing that those who view the Connecticut primary challenge as being some sort of anti-democratic affront -- such as those geniuses at The New Republic for whom the only more important goal than Middle Eastern wars is Lieberman's re-election -- do not attack the specific views of Ned Lamont, but instead attack the existence of the democratic contest itself. As was true with their advocacy of the invasion of Iraq, neoconservatives don't want to win a debate over whether further war-mongering, this time in Iran, makes sense. They once again want to squelch meaningful debate entirely, even if it means advancing that blatantly inane claim that a primary challenge to a highly controversial Senator with extremist foreign policy views is inappropriate and even anti-democratic.

The one lesson which I believe Americans (if not the national media) have learned from the Iraq debacle is that we cannot engage in a military action again of that significance without having a real debate and without engaging in intense skepticism over claims made by the government. Joe Lieberman is clearly going to advocate the hardest line possible against Iran. Few things are more constructive than a democratic election where that view gets openly debated and then resolved by voters. That is how our country is supposed to work.


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