Many black people harbored a muted (some not so muted) resentment surrounding the fact that Joe Lieberman was selected as the first ethnic minority to be chosen as a VP candidate for the Democratic Party. This resentment was based almost entirely upon the fact that, as an ethnic group, black people are easily the most loyal democratic supporters/voters. Thus, if there was going to be any ethnic groundbreaking, many black people thought it should have been accomplished with a qualified black candidate. Black people understand (history speaks to this quite clearly) that whether it be medicine, music, politics or sports, whenever they are able to break the artificial barriers (racism) that have prevented their inclusion in any genre, the breaking of said barrier has been beneficial to black people, the particular genre, and the nation! Thus, the hope that Senator Gore would pick a black candidate was not merely based on a hoped for a quid pro quo for black political loyalty, it was based on who blacks thought would best benefit the nation! When Senator Gore picked conservative Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate, many in the black community took his selection as yet another rejection of black people as full partners in the Democratic Party! In retrospect, even when Joe Lieberman (now an Independent) was a Democrat, he was barely a Democrat!
Many blacks believe that white democratic leaders see blacks as a reliable voter block, but that their political instincts and acumen are not valued or respected. This long held feeling was exacerbated by the failure of all Democratic Senators (no blacks in the Senate at that time) to support their House colleagues (whom they had just worked with on get out the black vote programs) in their quest to have the Florida 2000 fiasco investigated! Given what we now know about that sorry episode, and the unquantifiable price our nation has paid as a result, how can anyone blame black people for feeling this way? As the 8 years which followed this disastrous decision have made clear, Senate Democrats not only ignored the interest of the black voters of Florida, they ignored the interest of the nation they claim to represent and as a result, George W. Bush was sent to the White House! While the fierce loyalty black voters invest in the Democratic Party is oft criticized (and for good reason), one of the parties in our two party system has no black members in either house of Congress and Republicans continue to support an agenda that is anathema to the interest of black people (and America)! Thus, politically speaking, black people have nowhere else to go. This reality of this catch 22 is not lost on democratic leaders (thus enabling them to take black voters for granted) or black voters. That being said, critics of black voter loyalty should ask themselves if they believe any other ethnic, racial or gender group would support any organization with no members of that group in said organization and where said group supports an agenda that is perceived as being anathema to their interest! For instance, how many white Muslims are members of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam? It’s also important to note that Congress, because they create the laws that all Americans are governed by, isn’t just some group! The general sentiment of many black people regarding our non-inclusion in the ranks of the Republican Party can be summed up with the words of a very wise man, “if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’ll find yourself on the menu”! Having addressed the political “rock and a hard place” black voters find themselves in, lets get back to the junior Senator from Connecticut and his relationship with the Democratic Party.
Senator Lieberman further alienated the entire Democratic Party by openly campaigning for Republican Senator John “I voted with Bush 92% of the time” McCain. In an apparent effort to further demonstrate his Republican “street cred”, he now threatens to join them in filibustering President Obama’s signature domestic issue; Health Care Reform because of it’s provision for a public option. Talking (lying really) like a Republican, Senator Lieberman says that the public option will increase the deficit, make insurance more expensive and increase the tax burden on middle class Americans! However, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), there is no merit to any of the complaints (his or his Republican colleagues) and a review of the Senators’ legislative history demonstrates that deficit spending is never a concern when the tax money is spent to benefit industries in his state that contribute to his campaigns http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091109/scheer! The American people desperately need downward pressure on the cost of insurance company premiums (which the public option would provide) and all available polls reveal that the majority of Americans support the public option, yet Senator Joe “behold my self-righteousness” Lieberman is willing to, not only deny the American people what they want and need, but deny more thoughtful legislators the ability to vote on this proposal. Having made history by becoming the first ethnic minority to be nominated as a Vices Presidential candidate of a major political party, he now threatens to make history by becoming the first United States Senator to deny the party he/she caucuses with an up or down vote by joining the other party in a filibuster!
Remembering when he self-righteously touted his inclusion in the “gang of eight” dedicated to ensure up or down Senate votes for Bush’s lunatic right wing judicial appointments, liberals and progressives wonder what’s really motivating his actions. The Connecticut Senator receives tons of campaign contributions from the insurance and health care companies headquartered in his state, and they would do anything to kill the public option! To make matters worse, his wife receives a hefty paycheck from many of these same companies! When one considers the importance of America’s health care system and how the American system lags behind the health care systems of other industrialized nations, it would seem that the Senator’s motives (beyond his self-serving statements) would be a worthy subject for media analysis. To understand why Lieberman’s actions haven’t received more media scrutiny, particularly by cable and broadcast news pundits, consider a question posed in a previous Liberal Examination http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m11d11-Killing-Two-Birds-with-One-Gemstone!
“If you were paying lawmakers to oppose legislation that, if enacted, would cut your massive profit margin and those legislators lost their ability to effect or block said legislation, what would be your next move?”
I seem to remember President Clinton denying that he “had sex with that women” yet a skeptical media investigated his claim as if it was in anyway relevant to anything relevant (it was not)! If only “Holy Joe” were motivated by the pursuit of illicit sex with an intern!