“It’s the Treason, Stupid”

I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive post about why there is such anger among some Democrats towards Lieberman. Fortunately, Anonymous Liberal Staffer at MyDD.com has a great post describing exactly what I was thinking. I’ll turn it over to her/him:

Since 9/11, Republicans from the White House to backbenchers like Jean Schmidt have mercilessly implied that Democrats are traitors who are undermining their country every time they question the President — and it was in joining them that Joe Lieberman lost it all…

“We undermine the President’s credibility at our nation’s peril,” Lieberman said last year of war critics.

To point out that it is not too many questions that have imperiled our nation, but rather far too few, is almost besides the point. And to be sure, “the point” has been made before. But perhaps the most glaring omission from the “inside the beltway bubble” mentality that Josh Marshall and so many others discuss is this: for years, from late 2001, straight through 2005, virtually the entire Democratic base — the very same Democrats who show up for primaries — were tarred and feathered as traitors in every corner of their country and daily lives. Turn on CNN, and there it is. Read the editorial page of the local paper, there it is. Listen to the President of the United States give the State of the Union address, there it is:
You are a traitor.
Now this talking point has certainly been given plenty of ink and pixels, but for myself and, I believe, many other primary voters, there is no single issue with more emotional impact. To hear one’s own government accusing you of treason, to sense that the President and his party are infecting one’s entire society with that accusation, simply because one truly believes what the president says he believes himself — “war should always be a last resort” — is one of the most visceral experiences one can have in the political arena.

The whole post is worth a read.
Since 1994, mainstream conservatives (i.e., not the fringe John Birch types) have demonized Democrats and progressives. Not their ideas, but Democrats and progressives as people. In such an environment, a Democratic politician who tells Democrats fall in line behind those who have demonzied them for so long–even though those many of those same Democrats were right about one of the critical issues of our time, the Iraq War–is committing political suicide, at least within the context of the Democratic Party.

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