Who are the real radicals on Capitol Hill?
By By Tray Smith
This past Tuesday, Democratic primary voters in Connecticut voted to nominate political novice Nick Lampson as their party's nominee for Connecticut's Senate seat.
Lampson's opponent was three term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who, undeterred by his primary defeat, has pledged to run as an independent in the November general election. The primary came a week after Democrats in the Senate filibustered a bill that would have increased the minimum wage and lowered the estate tax. Each of these instances will hold national consequences for the Democratic Party.
Joe Lieberman is no conservative. In 2000, he was Al Gore's running mate. He sought the Democratic nomination for President in 2004, running on a platform that called for a 55 percent income tax on workers in the highest tax bracket.
He supports abortion and has called for caps on carbon dioxide emissions. Yet, after he announced plans to run as an independent in the fall, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer all came out against their fellow senator and encouraged him to step out of the race completely, pledging their support to Lamont.
Republicans have long wanted to repeal the estate tax, but Democrats have continued to filibuster that legislation in the Senate. In order to compromise, House Republicans passed a bill that did not completely eliminate the estate tax, but simply reduced the estate tax rates. In order to make that legislation even more attractive to Democratic lawmakers, Republicans attached proposals increasing the minimum wage and extending popular tax credits to the bill. The combination was perfect. Minimum wage earners would get an increase in pay while small businesses would get tax cuts. But Senate Democrats also filibustered that bill.
These events are significant. The same Senators who decry Republicans for their "right wing views" and lack of bipartisanship filibustered a compromise bill that would have produced good results for workers and businesses alike. They then endorsed a left wing political rookie over their colleague of 18 years, Joe Lieberman, who has been a loyal member of their own party just because he supports the Iraq war and has a good relationship with President Bush (in other words, he is bipartisan.) During the campaign, Lamont even aired attack ads with images of Lieberman hugging President Bush, as if it is a bad thing for a Senator to have a good relationship with our ruling President.
For years, the Democrats have whined about how "mean spirited" and "right wing" the Republicans are. Yet, when Republicans produced compromise legislation intended to bring members of both parties together, the Democrats refused to even let that legislation come to a vote on the Senate floor. They are now working against one of their own just because he supports the war in Iraq.
The Democrats could only hide their true colors for so long. Now we have two clear examples of who the real partisans are. It is unfortunate that the party of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and John and Bobby Kennedy has become the party of the radical left wing. Instead of supporting a strong national security policy, the Democrats now lead witch hunts to run foreign policy hawks out of their party. Instead of supporting new policies designed to help keep America secure and economically competitive in the twenty first century, the Democrats have clung to the Vietnam era theory of big government and isolationism. The national Democratic Party has been hijacked by left wing special interest groups. Now, they are working against one of the last Democrats who clearly understand the threats we face in the modern world.
I will be the first to admit that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are not doing that great of a job. But instead of trying to work with them to move important legislation forward, the Democrats are obstructing any legislation they possibly can, preventing progress on issues of national importance. No matter how ineffective the Republicans are, they are definitely the lesser of two evils. They are definitely a better party than today's Democrats.
That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a sophomore at ECHS. He writes a political column for the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at email@example.com for comment. His column appears weekly.