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For the Love of God, Please Stop. It's Embarrassing. Like, Really Embarrassing

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For the last many weeks, I've worked about 18 hours a day in a basement campaign headquarters in Meriden, Connecticut trying to show voters that Senator Joe Lieberman has been using Nixonian tactics to hide his position on the Iraq War. During the stretch run of the 2006 Connecticut Senate campaign, Lieberman constantly said "no one wants to bring the troops home more than I do" - all while he attacked proposals to bring the troops home and pushed for continuing the Iraq War indefinitely. The Associated Press subsequently reported that Lieberman's margin of victory was provided by a segment of the population that was strongly anti-war, but believed Lieberman's position was anti-war, too - even though, as we can see from his post-election statements, it most certainly was not.

I thought when the campaign ended, we would all get a break from people lying about the Iraq War - and especially from faux "centrist" Democrats lying to us. I thought the strong anti-Iraq-War mandate of the election would shock the system into at least a brief few weeks of clarity and honesty.

I was wrong.

It seems that the "Yay Iraq War! Oops, Let's Now Pretend We Were Always Against the War" wing of the Democratic Party is trying to nationalize Lieberman's Nixonian model and apply it elsewhere. To understand what I mean, just take a quick look at what's going on in the race for House Majority Leader between anti-Iraq-War leader Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) and recently-reconstructed pro-war mouthpiece Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

In the last few days, both the Democratic Leadership Council and Hoyer's own allies on Capitol Hill have mimicked Lieberman's tactics in an effort to reposition Hoyer as one of the longtime leaders of the global anti-war movement. The DLC's vice president, for instance, proclaims on his website that "It's not as though Steny has done anything to undermine House Democrats in their criticism of Bush Iraq policies." Similarly, Hoyer ally Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) appeared on MSNBC last night to claim Hoyer has "been very supportive in the last two years for a phased redeployment" from Iraq and that "I don't see any difference certainly on Iraq" between Hoyer or Murtha.

Ah yes, haven't you seen those pictures of Hoyer wearing the tie-died t-shirt with the peace symbol on it, two fingers extended, stomping around Capitol Hill whipping votes to bring the Iraq War to an end? Didn't you hear those impassioned speeches Hoyer gave from the floor of the House saying it is time to change course in Iraq? Didn't you see Hoyer standing right behind Murtha when Murtha courageously changed the entire national debate on Iraq last year? No, you didn't. You actually saw Hoyer slithering around on the floor like a snake, spitting venom at Murtha and others who were working to get Democrats to take a tough position on Iraq.

Apparently, the DLC, Tauscher and Hoyer himself believe that the Members of Congress who will be voting in the Majority Leader race are very, very stupid people who have no access to the Internet and have never heard of Google or Yahoo. They must believe this, because it takes about, oh, 10 seconds online to figure out that, in fact, Hoyer led the charge against Democrats taking a strong position on Iraq, publicly attacking the House Democratic leadership for having the guts to follow Murtha's lead and get up the guts to challenge Bush on the war.

All of this is happening at the same time Hoyer is trying to position himself as the ethics candidate in the race. Granted, Murtha is no saint - but Steny "I Have My Own K Street Project" Hoyer now billing himself as Congress's new Bill Proxmire is as credible as Mark Foley chairing Congress's Exploited Children Caucus. Oops, I forgot - that actually happened, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised after all that this kind of up-in-your-face chutzpah is very much alive and well in a congressional leadership race.

Look, I'm tired. We're all tired. Do we really have to watch another blow-dried, self-important career ass-kisser like Hoyer or Lieberman throw DLC slugs or NFL-linebacker-resembling lawmakers like Ellen Tauscher on TV to insist the sky is not blue? I mean, can we at least get a few days rest from this? And more importantly, can the Democratic rank-and-file in Congress please put its foot down and reject this comedic-yet-sad B-movie parody? I mean, come on people - it's embarrassing.

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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)

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