Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Unity and Civility - Wes is a Class Act

Wes Clark was one of the first Democratic leaders to directly and unequivocally request that Joe Lieberman abandon his contrarian pursuit of a senate seat as an Independent.

Walking his talk, Gen. Clark is engaging in some no-nonsense diplomacy within the party. Without bluster, trashy language, or threats, Wes lays out the facts and asks for the rejected senator to act for the good of the Democrats and of the country.
On Tuesday, the message sent by Connecticut voters was loud and clear. They want change, and they want Ned Lamont to represent them in the U.S. Senate, voting for Ned by a 52% - 48% margin over Senator Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

You see, despite what Joe Lieberman believes, invading Iraq and diverting our attention away from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is not being strong on national security. Blind allegiance to George W. Bush and his failed "stay the course" strategy is not being strong on national security. And no, Senator Lieberman, no matter how you demonize your opponents, there is no "antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party.

Indeed, Connecticut Democrats recognized all of this, and yesterday they chose Ned Lamont as their nominee for the U.S. Senate. Now, I hope you'll join me in supporting Ned as he heads into the general election this November.

As a Democrat, I respect the will of the Connecticut Democratic voters and their decision to make Ned Lamont their nominee. Even before the election results came in on Tuesday, Ned Lamont showed his respect for the voters by committing to abide by the Democratic primary result and support whoever won.

Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, began collecting petition signatures to run as an Independent several weeks ago while concurrently running in the Democratic primary. In short, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too.

Despite his efforts to appear on the November ballot as an Independent, I held out hope that Joe would withdraw from the Connecticut Senate race after the primary votes were counted. Unfortunately, Joe has announced his candidacy as an Independent candidate, running against Ned, the Democratic nominee.

In 2000, the presence of a third party candidate, Ralph Nader, no doubt played a role in the defeat of Vice President Gore and Joe Lieberman. Now Joe Lieberman is risking our party's claim on his Senate seat by running as a third party candidate himself. Recent news reports detail the GOP's interest in supporting such an effort. It's time to draw a line.

I committed myself to supporting the Democratic nominee for the US Senate in Connecticut, and I ask you to do likewise. Because too much is at stake with our troubles abroad and at home, we cannot play games this Election Day. That's why I call on all loyal Democrats to join me in urging Senator Lieberman to drop his bid for the Senate as an Independent and endorse the duly nominated Democrat.

We should thank him for his service and invite him to stay active, or even run again someday, but as a party we cannot let Joe Lieberman be this year's Ralph Nader.

The 2006 elections represent a real crossroads for America. We must unify our efforts to stop George Bush's radical agenda and end this one-party government. I hope Senator Lieberman will join us in this critical fight for our nation's future.
I admire Wes Clark's ability to be both unequivocal and completely civil in this demand. There's more than a few bloggers who could stand to learn that petulant trash talk does not advance a cause and just hands weapons to the anti-liberal punditocracy.

Moreover, I approve of his message of unity. It not only says what needs to be said, but also how it needs to be said. He does not go off into conspiracy land, imagining some wicked cabal by party insiders to cheat the good, pure and true out of their victory. Instead, he talks practical politics, keeping the focus on the real opponent - the Bush White House and the De Lay Congress - and fights substantive attempts to divide the party. He does not stoop to demonization and holds out a hand to let Lieberman redeem himself.

Honesty, integrity, decency and no-nonsense politics. More of this, please.


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