March 17, 2005

Morning Linkage (or better late than never)…

The following are items that I bookmarked since Monday but never got the chance to link:

- Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s Op-Ed in the WSJ that effectively argues in favor of ANWR drilling (written prior to yesterday’s vote)

- OpinionJournal Op-Ed by John Zogby on the potential for GOP realignment as it relates to the Social Security debate. Obviously Zogby’s Dem-slanted polling made him a laughing stock last November, but he makes some interesting statistical points.

- In the month and a half since I started this blog, I’ve not posted anything on the Terri Schiavo outrage, mostly because I don’t think I can add any commentary better than what’s already out there. The situation is truly heartbreaking. However, I’d like to express my solidarity with Terri and her family, so I refer to a column recently written by David Limbaugh that really needs to be read. Say a prayer.

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The U.S. Constitution - a "living document"?...

You know when I was a stupid Democrat, I first heard the idea of the Constitution as being a "living" document and thought it made sense. Why? Because I had the attitude that the founders were short-sighted and I bought into the idea that it needs to change with the times.

Well, now today I'm not all that much smarter, but as a Republican I started listening the arguments against this concept. And guess what? Damn me if they don't make a hell of a lot more sense. What the hell is a living document anyway? If I enter into a mortgage agreement, does the lender have the right to go in and raise the interest rate just because the prevailing rates went up? Do they have the right to tighten the events of default section just because they are experiencing more collection problems? Do I have the right to put off a month's mortgage payment just because I decide that I need the money for something else? (Just ignore that due date thing, it's just a "guideline"). The answer to all the questions is "NO".

A document is what it is and the framers intended it to be changed only ONE way: an amendment. And they purposely made sure that the amending process was a bitch so it could happen only if the majority will of the people felt strongly enough about it. And if a power is not granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution, then it is an issue for the States to decide by their legislatures, which are accountable to the majority will of the people. See a pattern here? A "living" Constitution means simply that a judge can decide that it means exactly what he thinks it means. And, well that's just bullsh*t, plain and simple.


Blue State Conservatives has a great post (with link to Confederate Yankee) that really hits home this argument using a recent speech given by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Go read them. Link them and save them. Use them to put aging ex-Hippie Liberal ACLU types in their place.

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Democrat Values...

Ankle-Biting Pundits has a post this a.m. with a photo that sums up how completely out of whack Democrat priorities (and values) are.

Go check it out.

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Find Yourself On The Political Map...

OK, I've seen variations of this quiz before, but the way this is set up is kind of cool.

Answer some questions and "plot" your overall political philosophy and see who you are most like.

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March 16, 2005

More History in the making - Let The Drilling Commence!

It's official, the Senate has just voted down a proposal to remove the ANWR drilling provision from the budget 51-49.

This means that the drilling provision STAYS in the current budget proposal, which only needs the signature of one President George W. Bush to make it law. The downside is that in reality we won't see the fruits of this activity for years.

The Alaska refuge could supply as much as 1 million barrels day at peak production, drilling supporters said. But they acknowledge that even if ANWR's oil is tapped, it would have no impact on soaring oil prices and tight supplies. The first lease sales would not be issued until 2007, followed by development seven to 10 years later, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said.

Would have been nice to get the ball rolling four years ago, but better late than never. And the impact worldwide is already being felt. In anticipation of this move, OPEC just announced this morning that it will be pumping an extra half a billion barrels of oil per day.

The decision to boost output beginning April 1 will officially raise the group's ceiling to an all-time high of 27.5 million barrels a day.

Member States chalked it up to concerns over possible strong demand next winter. Next winter? Sheyah. Right. They know damn well that with more supply in the market and increased competition down the pike that it's time to sell as much as they can while they still hold whatever market share they can.

In addition to falling oil prices, what the envir-nut moonbats howl over this one. It's going to be entertaining to say the least.

Thanks to The Corner at NRO for the tip.

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History Being Made In Iraq Today...

A/P reports on the opening of the newly elected Iraqi Parliament that gathered to write that country's new Constitution. Under heavy security, the 275 delegates assembled and are ready to get to the work of Democracy.

"It is a great day in Iraqi history that its elected representatives meet," said Fuad Masoum, a Kurdish delegate. "This day coincides with a painful memory that has many meanings. ... Today, on this occasion, we celebrate the inauguration of parliament after the fall of this regime."

Wednesday marked the anniversary of the Saddam Hussein-ordered chemical attack in 1988 on the northern Kurdish town of Halabja, an attack that killed 5,000 people."

This truly an amazing moment.

Hat Tip: Wizbang

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Lieberman paying the price for doing his job...

Last time I checked, a Senator was supposed to be working in the best interest of the American people. And that is exactly what Sen. Joe Lieberman is doing - working with the President and Senate Republicans to address the future problems that lie ahead on Social Security.

Bush is adamant about including personal retirement accounts in the ultimate package - and I heartily agree with him - but he's also made it clear that many different proposals are on the table in an attempt to craft a bipartisan solution to a serious issue.

But the "Left-Wing" wing of the Democrat party is asserting its influence to nudge out any voices that seek to achieve the same kind of bipartisan solution. As John Hughes (not the "Breakfast Club" guy) writes in the Christian Science Monitor:

"Unlike some other unsuccessful candidates who find it difficult to adjust after defeat, Lieberman returned comfortably to the Senate, where he's been happily doing the people's business. Now his centrism is causing him problems with his own party. As if his support of the war in Iraq were not enough, he is working with President Bush to reform Social Security. This, in the eyes of some fellow Democrats, is political treachery."
Recently I found a site with the expressed goal of denying Lieberman his party's nomination for re-election to the Senate in 2006. Now, I've been a fan of Joe since he gave the commencement address at my college graduation ceremony back in 1989, having recently taken over the Senate seat he won from Republican Lowell Weicker (a notorious all around pain in the ass of both parties). I don't agree with Joe on everything but he brings something to the Senate that is all too rare these days - integrity. However, to many members of his own party, integrity takes a backseat to partisanship.

Hughes states it plainly:

"Social Security reform should not be a political football, a cleverly orchestrated "defeat" for Bush if the Democrats manage to thwart it, or a "victory" for Bush if he can corral enough Republicans and Democrats to get it done. It is a misunderstood problem and the president is having a tough time making headway on it. There are doubts among Republicans and concerns among Democrats. But this is a national problem that demands bipartisan concentration. It is not a game for "winners" and "losers." The American people must be the winners."
I think Lieberman's overall popularity in Connecticut will ultimately carry him through the primary and the general election 20 months from now. But observing the growing tide of reactionary liberalism within his party, I'm not 100% confident.

Joe has been treated very shabbily by his supposed "friends" in the Democrat party ever since he returned to the Senate following the 2000 election. He deserves much better than that.

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March 15, 2005

New To The Bloglist...

I recently linked to Blue State Conservatives.

As such, I have also added the following individual blogs:

Red State Americans in Blue State Hell - Unite!

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GOP to Boston Globe on the judicial filibusters: We have the votes

The Boston Globe is reporting today that GOP staffers in the Senate are saying they are confident of Senate Republicans' ability to force the "constitutional option" to end Democrat filibusters on judicial nominations. (Link via Human Events Online)

"Manuel Miranda, a former top aide for judicial nominations to Senate majority leader Bill Frist, said circumstances have erased many of those hesitations: Democrats show no sign of yielding on their filibusters, Supreme Court battles loom, and Frist, a likely 2008 presidential candidate, has made it a priority to appeal to conservative GOP primary voters by getting conservative judges confirmed.

''We think we have 53 votes," said Miranda, who joined the Heritage Foundation and now leads a regular conference call among conservative groups building support for ending Democratic judicial filibusters. ''The question now is not if but when." Republicans close to the Senate leadership say they want to force the issue next month by voting to end filibusters in connection with one of Bush's nominees to a federal appeals court, so the rules-change fight will not taint a Supreme Court candidate. There has not been a Supreme Court vacancy in 10 years, but several of the aging justices -- including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who will turn 81 in October -- have been treated for serious ailments."

Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY) will be the focal point for groups such as the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. McConnells influence will be key in order to keep any squishy RINOs in line that may be at risk of wussing out. The move is intended to break the current log-jam and allowing the President the power of judicial appointments that he is granted in the Constitution with a simple majority vote concurrence of the Senate.

"The GOP maneuver to counter the Democrats calls for Frist to ask the president of the Senate -- Vice President Dick Cheney -- to rule that the judicial filibuster rule ended with the last session of Congress or that filibusters can't be used against judicial nominations. Cheney would agree, Democrats would appeal, and the matter would be put to a vote.

A simple majority of 51 Republicans would confirm the ruling, and the rule would be wiped from the books for judicial nominations. All of Bush's nominees for judgeships could then be confirmed on party-line votes.

The proposal has been nicknamed the ''nuclear option" because of the likely fallout: Democrats vow to shut down the Senate by forcing every matter to be brought to a vote, even breaking for lunch, and forcing every item to be read in full."

Time to put the cards on the table.

If the Dems want to "shut down" the Senate and waste the taxpayers money, I can't think of a better way for them to piss off voters.

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It's Lunch Time! And It's "Eat an Animal For PETA" Day...

Apparently this is the third year running. (thanks to Mud & Phud for the tip).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to Taco Bell for Grilled Stuffed BEEF Burrito.

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Anti-American Pests Trying To Stand In Freedom's Way...

This column, appearing in The Australian (and linked by RealClearPolitics.com), is written by Amir Taheri, an Iranian author. Taheri skewers the anti-war leftists on both sides of the Atlantic who marched in favor of keeping Saddam Hussien in business.

"THROUGHOUT the debate that preceded the liberation of Iraq two years ago, supporters of Saddam Hussein claimed that any attempt at removing him from power by force would trigger an explosion in "the Arab street". As it turned out, the explosion they had predicted did take place, but only in Western streets, where anti-Americans of all denominations, their numbers inflated by the usual "useful idiots", marched to keep the Baathist butcher in power. More than two years later, however, the Arab street seems to be heading for an explosion. From North Africa to the Persian Gulf and passing by the Levant, people have been coming together in various "Arab streets" to make their feelings and opinions known.

These demonstrations, some big, some small, have several features in common. Unlike the rent-a-mob marches concocted by the Mukhabarat secret services, this latest spate of demonstrations was largely spontaneous. Nor are the demonstrations controlled by the traditional elites, including established opposition groups and personalities.

In almost every case, we are witnessing a new kind of citizens' movement, an Arab version of people power in action. But the most important feature of these demonstrations is that they are concerned not with imagined external enemies – be they Israel or the US – but with the real deficiencies of contemporary Arab societies. In almost every case the key demand is for a greater say for the people in deciding the affairs of the nation."

It's bad enough we had drag these fools kicking and screaming into this new era of fighting terrorist-harboring rogue States, but the resulting burst of freedom in the Middle East isn't even cause for celebration among these Anti-American appeasers.
"I spent part of last week ringing up the organisers of the anti-war events with a couple of questions. The first: Would they allow anyone from the newly elected Iraqi parliament to address the gatherings? The second: Would the marches include expressions of support for the democracy movements in Arab and other Muslim countries, notably Iraq, Lebanon and Syria? In both cases the answer was a categorical no, accompanied by a torrent of abuse about "all those who try to justify American aggression against Iraq"."
The Left continues to dig in its heels against this new wave of change that has overcome the people of the region. These people are at last being inspired to change the current "blame the West" mentality that has allowed ruthless dictators and terror masters to distort the teachings of Islam into Wahhabi-driven hatred for the West. No thanks to some of those who continue to downplay the significant of these history-making events. Taheri asks the question:

"Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?

Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism? Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?

Those interested in the health of Western democracies would do well to ponder those questions."

Amen, brother.

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Rally Rages Against Syria...

To compliment the photos below, the Washington Times reports from Beirut:

"Published estimates put the size of the anti-Syrian crowd at between 800,000 and 1 million -- roughly twice the size of a pro-Syrian rally organized a week ago by the radical movement Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist group."
And this group represents a cross-section of groups united against the Syrian occupation.

"Yesterday's rally was the latest and largest in a series of protests by a coalition of Christians, Druze and Sunni Muslims sparked by Mr. Hariri's death. Hezbollah -- the largest Shi'ite Muslim party -- and Syria have countered with three huge pro-Syrian demonstrations...

...After a week in which the pro-Syrian forces had seized the momentum, yesterday's massive turnout seems to have re-energized the opposition movement. "The Hezbollah rally and reappointment of Karami were a slap in our faces," said one protest organizer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "But we needed to show the government and the world that we can put as many people on the street to demand freedom and independence as they can to defend the status quo of corruption, occupation and humiliation," he said."

The democracy genie is out of the bottle with the pressure building up to elections scheduled in May. The anti-occupation movement is a legitimate grassroots phenomena, unlike the rent-a-thug pro-Syria rally earlier this week.

"One marcher, Khalid, a Sunni from a wealthy family, tried to explain the dynamic behind the increasingly large demonstrations and counterdemonstrations.

"When we were protesting before, we sent our young people and university students against the government," he said. "When Hezbollah does a protest, everyone is ordered to go, given rides, and brings the whole family," he said. "So today ... we brought our families. "My pregnant wife marched. My old mother marched, and now you see who has the biggest demonstration."

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March 14, 2005

More than 800,000 strong!

More than 800,000 strong!

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Scenes from Lebanon: Freedom Rising.




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Here We Go Again...

A California judge has just ruled that the State's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the activist judiciary made such a ruling. Okay people, this is why California needs to amend it's Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is also the reason why the U.S. Constitution needs a similar amendment.

This is a defensive procedure against a highly aggressive movement being pushed by gay activists and liberal judges to redefine the institution of marriage to accommodate a two or three percent minority. Republicans in general and Conservatives in particular abhor the idea of making ANY changes to our Constitution on principle. However, gay activism just pushes and pushes and pushes its agenda down the throats of the American population.

Most folks in this country are pretty tolerant. In fact I bet that most Americans - like myself - don't really care what kind of relationships people of the same gender have. I'm not bothered by gay relationships in private or public, although I prefer that is not constantly in my face.

It is not unreasonable for people to expect tolerance and even acceptance from their fellow citizens regardless of how they feel personally about the issue at hand. Everyone deserves to live their lives in a way that allows them the pursuit of happiness. But no one has a right to insist that the rest of society recognize their relationship as the equivalent of traditional marriage. And that is exactly what this whole issue is all about: forcing the rest of the population to equate homosexual relationships as the legitimate, if not desirable, equivalent of a marriage between a man and a woman which has been the foundation of human society for...well, forever. We're talking about a tiny portion of the population redefining an institution for everyone else.

We could have civil unions, and bestow certain legal rights on homosexual relationships like rights of survivorship and joint assets - not unlike a business partnership. But here's the problem: once you make such laws, the court - like the Mass. Supreme Court did so last year - steps in and says "No, not good enough. You must pass a law legalizing gay marriage." A Constitutional Amendment would allow the establishment of civil unions while protecting marriage at the same time.

The irony is that if those groups pushing for gay marriage used their efforts to gently persuade the country in that direction, the country would very likely - over time - follow along. But rather, they are trying to make this happen YESTERDAY! Not content to start with civil unions and gradually nudge the population along to the point were gay marriage becomes acceptable to more and more people, gay activists are pushing the envelope as if there was some window of opportunity about to be shut.

I suppose that their fear is that America is becoming more and more Conservative and that President Bush's judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and Federal Appeals Courts will ultimately doom their cause. But their current tactics are guaranteed to elicit the kind of negative reaction that passed 11 out of 11 ballot initiatives last November banning gay marriage.

It's like the old "frog in the boiling water" analogy. If you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly bring it to a boil, you'll have boiled frog. But if you throw the frog right into a pot of boiling water, the frog jumps out to survive.

Well, the water is boiling and you can count on that the frogs - the American people - are going to jump.

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Could we get a collective "Duh!!!" here please...

Reuters headline: Study Shows U.S. Election Coverage Harder on Bush.
(linked from Drudge)

This is news? Maybe to those in denial over MSM bias. But Rather's little stunt should have served as a slap in the face for anyone still hanging on to that perspective.

Some highlights:

"U.S. media coverage of last year's election was three times more likely to be negative toward President Bush than Democratic challenger John Kerry, according to a study released Monday. The annual report by a press watchdog that is affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said that 36 percent of stories about Bush were negative compared to 12 percent about Kerry, a Massachusetts senator."

"The three network nightly newscasts and public broadcaster PBS tended to be more negative than positive, while Fox News was twice as likely to be positive as negative."

Public perceptions of MSM outlets, however, is also extremely low and few people believed that the news coverage had much influence on the election's outcome.

"It may be that the expectations of the press have sunk enough that they will not sink much further. People are not dismayed by disappointments in the press. They expect them," the authors of the report said.
So for the most part, people know the bias is there and they tend to ignore it.

In other news, Dan Rather maintains his belief that the documents related to the Bush TANG story, while questionable in authenticity, are nonetheless accurate.

M'kay.

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Tyranny of the Minority...

Cathy Young, a contributing editor to Reason magazine, contributed this column to the Boston Globe.

For anyone not familiar with the recent blog swirl over the term "heteronormative", she gives a brief primer:

"The latest brouhaha at Harvard, home of the perpetually offended, is over a motivational speech telling women that they can have it all: career, marriage, and children. The remarks, delivered by singer-actress Jada Pinkett Smith on Feb. 26 at the Cultural Rhythms show organized by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, were deemed too heterosexual by some. Or, in politically correct newspeak, ''heteronormative."

Here's a sample of what Pinkett Smith said, as recounted by The Harvard Crimson:

''Women, you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas. Be open."

On March 2, The Harvard Crimson reported that some members of the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance had been offended by the speech and were calling for an apology from the foundation. In response, the foundation pledged to ''inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, and class."

So what was the offense? In the words of alliance cochair Jordan Woods, ''Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable." The other cochair, Margaret Barusch, explained that Pinkett Smith's comments, while not intentionally offensive, were insensitive due to their ''strong focus on how to effectively be in a relationship -- a heterosexual relationship."

"Heteronormative" apparently is a new phrase recently coined that means treating heterosexuality as the norm. Well, when did heterosexuality cease to be - in fact - the norm?

"Maybe it's not a sensitive thing to say at Harvard, but statistically speaking, heterosexuality is the norm -- which just might have something to do with the biology of mammalian reproduction. Researchers estimate that 2 to 5 percent of the population is exclusively or primarily homosexual. In the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2001, fewer than 2 percent of new marriages are between same-sex partners."

Young does not mean to diminish the rights of homosexuals nor does she pass judgement on homosexuality as "wrong", but she correctly points out that the idea of demanding acknowledgement for every reference to relationships is utterly ridiculous. Based on Pinkett-Smith's comments, others could just as easilty be "offended" by implications of what is "normal", including women who choose not to marry and have children as well as those who choose not to pursue a career outside of child-rearing.

"Equality and inclusion for minorities -- religious, ethnic, racial, or sexual -- is without a doubt a laudable goal. But trying to eliminate everything that could make a member of a minority feel ''uncomfortable" can result in a tyranny as oppressive as the tyranny of the majority. You can't talk about Western culture for fear of offending people of non-Western background; you can't sing ''God Bless America" for fear of offending the nonreligious."
Such is the legacy of another minority - the elitist Left - who insist on imposing their ideas of what is "normal" on the rest of the population, and bully society into imposing a penalty on those who refuse to comply.

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March 13, 2005

Shocking New Abuse Photos...

The Commons at Paulie's World has posted some very disturbing photographs that document various abuse and torture tactics used to coerce information from prisoners.

You can view them here. Warning, not for the faint of heart.

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Sajak says...

I already knew that Pat Sajak, of "Wheel of Fortune", was one of those rare Republicans in the entertainment industry. But recently I stumbled upon his website where he posts occasional commentary.

Around the time of the Academy Awards, he wrote a column about celebrities and politics that I thought was pretty interesting. Among his personal conclusions about the relationship between being famous and being outspoken:

"A celebrity has just as much right to speak out as people who hold real jobs. This is America, after all, and you should not be precluded from voicing your opinions just because you sing songs, mouth other peoples’ words on a sitcom or, for that matter, spin a giant multi-colored wheel on a game show."

"A celebrity should try to consider the appropriateness of a venue before opening his or her yap about political and social issues. Just because an arena is full of screaming kids who have come to hear your latest songs doesn’t mean you have the right to abuse this captive audience with speeches, tirades or political proselytizing. When you go up to a bank teller for a transaction, you don’t want to hear a lot about politics or the environment before your check is cashed."

"A celebrity should be prepared for the consequences of an opinion if that opinion is stated publicly. It is not un-American for someone to say, “I think what this guy said at the concert last night was stupid and outrageous, so I’m not going to buy any of his records.” It is not censorship, either, if no one (Constitutionally speaking, the government, in particular) stops you from voicing your opinions."

Sajak explains that, for his own part, while he's been known to be outspoken on some issues he tries to keep it separate from his TV persona:

"So you won’t find me pausing between spins to endorse a candidate or talk about the virtues of school choice. Even when appearing on other shows (unless they are explicitly political in nature) politics is a subject from which I stay away."
I've posted myself on the blurred lines of celebrities and political activism and one of the thoughts Sajak concludes with is this: the political views of the stars are "often taken more seriously than they ought to be".

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March 12, 2005

Grassroots effort to challenge Lieberman growing...

There's a movement afoot to try and oppose my Senator, Joe Lieberman for re-election in 2006.

Not from the GOP - from his own party!

The website Time To Go, Joe has already generated some $$ with a goal of finding a candidate to beat him in the primaries. Why? Because he's NOT a Bush hating whacko. From the site:

There is a reason that Joe gets a hug and a kiss on the cheek from President Bush at the end of his 2005 State of the Union (see images below). Joe is working with him to destroy the America that the Democratic Party should be defending.
Okay, the guy who was their V.P. candidate not more than five years ago is now in their line of site. This of course is all coming from the "MoveOn.org" crowd who are gradually seizing more and more control within the Democrat party.

Nice, so while these thugs are preaching open hostility toward as fine and decent a man as Joe Lieberman, they're also pushing away one of the few Moderate voices in their midst.

It's never to late to join the good guys, Joe. We'd be more than happy to have you aboard.

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