Thursday, August 10, 2006

Non-negotiable

I've had a total of six hours of sleep in the last two and a half days, after campaigning all weekend of Ned Lamont, going to his victory party (ALL the way out) in Meriden, then speeding home before a full day of work the following morning. It's been hectic since last Wednesday, and I don't think I get to slow down next weekend either; the Red Bulls play Barcelona at Giants Stadium on Saturday, and I have to drive back and forth to the city sometime on Monday or Tuesday. I thought you're supposed to take it easy in the off weeks before graduate school?

Anyways, it's all been great. I have to think that the (I need a word other than "momentum" here since Lieberman destroyed the term during his 2004 run) will snowball for at least one or two more days, after which so many Democrats will have rallied around the nominee, and a flash poll somewhere will show the race not quite as promising for the incumbent as expected. That will be the criteria for a collapse this early in the general campaign. Otherwise, we're all in for a bit more excitement. In any case, you'll find me back on the front lines if I don't attach myself to a New York race.

Don't get fooled by the right; between the two parties, we are still the one of inclusion. There are issues in America that do require tolerance of differing views or lack consensus within the Democratic Party. Say what you will about the death penalty, for example, but I grew up supporting capital punishment. On border immigration, some Democrats would rather act tough and beef up patrols, simultaneously making sure terrorists aren't crossing over into California, while others believe in continuing a tradition that has given America its prominence.

Some issues, however, are non-negotiable. Education. Social Security. And, as demonstrated last night, Iraq.

Don't think it doesn't happen to Republicans, either. Congressman Joe Schwarz was picked off by the Club for Growth-endorsed Tim Walberg in last night's Republican primary in Michigan. There's not much room over there for people who are less than evangelical about their faith or more than a bit doubtful about the simplicty of the right to choose.

It's just that Mr. Schwarz was a Congressman, one of 435, while Lieberman was a Senator, one of 100, all of whom have or had presidential ambitions and can grab face time in front of the cameras on a whim. Being a Senator means something, entitling the office holder to unlimited opportunities and benefits. On the flipside, it holds tremendous responsibilities. One of the less-talked about - as it really isn't sexy and flies in the face of politicians who want to "be their own man" - is the responsibility to party, to support the positions that it presents in the effort to give the image of a united front against its opposition, therefore creating a sense of resolve that voters can relate and will reward on Election Day. Lieberman ignored that, and has been punished accordingly.

By no means is this race over. But the Connecticut primary has proven a point in very blunt terms. We Democrats do have values to hold onto, and will fight for them to the bitter end, even and especially if it means taking on fellow Democrats that have betrayed those values.

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