- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Lieberman’s choice

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, said yesterday he will collect signatures to run as an unaffiliated candidate if he loses next month’s primary.

“While I believe that I will win the August 8 primary, I know there are no guarantees in elections,” Mr. Lieberman told reporters on the steps of Connecticut’s Statehouse in Hartford. “No one really knows how many Democrats will come out to vote on what may be a hot day in August.”

Mr. Lieberman said he will still be running as a Democrat even if he is not the party’s nominee, and plans to remain part of the Democratic caucus in the Senate if re-elected.

Mr. Lieberman, the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2000, has infuriated some Democrats because of his support of the Iraq war and his perceived closeness to President Bush, a Republican.

The three-term senator is being challenged by Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, a multimillionaire owner of a cable-television company. Mr. Lamont has put more than $1.5 million of his own money into his campaign, calling Mr. Lieberman a Republican lapdog and accusing him of straying from his Democratic roots, the Associated Press reports.

Cantwell’s critics

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell is trying to tamp down unrest among those on Washington state’s political left who are furious with her unapologetic support for the Iraq war.

Mrs. Cantwell is facing fierce opposition from anti-war activists, the Associated Press reports. Chants of “No more war” rang out before her speech at last month’s state party convention. Protesters unfurled a banner reading, “Maria Can’t Say No to War” at another event, and demonstrators squatted in her Seattle office.

Mrs. Cantwell voted in 2002 for the resolution authorizing President Bush to use force to topple the Baghdad regime of Saddam Hussein, and she rejects suggestions that the vote was a mistake.

She recently joined a majority of Democrats in opposing a deadline for U.S. troops to be out of Iraq, but voted for a more moderate resolution for forces to start withdrawing.

In the Sept. 19 primary, Mrs. Cantwell faces two little-known and underfunded challengers who oppose the war and want U.S. troops out.

Republicans clearly relish the schism, with Mrs. Cantwell’s main GOP opponent, Mike McGavick, saying, “The senator and I agree on Iraq.”

Thanks, court

“Last week’s wildly controversial Supreme Court ruling about the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals may prove a key moment in healing some of the political and ideological fractures that have opened up on the Right in the past year and a half,” New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

“Whatever contemporary American conservatism might be, it isn’t this,” Mr. Podhoretz said.

“It’s not the 5-3 majority decision which insists that a very specific and unambiguous law passed by Congress and signed by the president doesn’t say what it most definitely does say. Or doesn’t mean what it says. And it certainly isn’t congruent with the idea that the national security of the United States as it battles a monstrous terrorist organization must be subservient to an astoundingly broad interpretation of international law.

“By their enemies shall ye know them, and among the enemies of American conservatism are, unmistakably, (1) a judiciary that insists on drafting legislation from the bench and (2) a body of smug elitist opinion that seeks to constrain the United States through the use of external bonds imposed by the United Nations and ‘international law.’

“Many on the Right are already calculating the political benefit to the president and the GOP of having to draft new legislation on the war on terror to be brought before Congress in the early autumn, right before midterm elections.

“They’re probably right. But perhaps — by reminding fractious American conservatives exactly what kinds of ideas they are here to argue with and defeat — the five not-so-wise-men-and-woman who are responsible for this travesty of a ruling have inadvertently done the Right a big favor.”

‘Abominable’ ruling

“As Americans, we never get a guarantee of a lifetime of Supreme Court decisions we will agree with. From the mysterious discovery of a federal right to abortion three decades ago to this past year’s rulings recklessly expanding the scope of eminent domain, I have had the average citizen’s plight of absorbing what I perceive as judicial missteps from our nation’s highest bench,” Mark Davis writes in the Dallas Morning News.

“But when the high court’s misplaced logic hampers a war in progress and thus endangers our success, it is not just another topic for national debate. It is an occasion to ask what in the world these people are thinking and who they think they are,” said Mr. Davis, who hosts a radio talk show in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“In an abominable 5-3 ruling Thursday, the justices ripped from a sitting president the reins of how to conduct a war that is his to run. The specific case involved one detainee at Guantanamo, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who used to be Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver. Bin Laden had to smile from his cave lair as America’s highest court stuck up for his lackey and against the United States’ war effort.

“Five justices found fault with the proposed war crimes tribunals envisioned by President Bush for the enemy combatants plucked from the battlefield and relocated to Guantanamo. They found the president’s plan violated both the law and the Geneva Conventions.

“As for the law, there is no requirement for a commander in chief to jump through a congressional hoop (as the court’s majority asserted) to establish methods of adjudication for enemy warriors in custody during wartime.”

A long way

“America’s political elites certainly have come a long way since September 11,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“In the wake of that bloody attack on U.S. soil, everyone clamored for the executive branch to act with energy and dispatch against our enemies. Yet last week, not five years later, many of those same voices celebrated a Supreme Court ruling that rebuked the executive in order to guarantee more rights to Osama bin Laden’s former driver and bodyguard,” the newspaper said.

“That is the larger context in which to read the Supreme Court’s verdict in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which has liberal journalists waxing lyrical even in their news accounts. Only a country that feels safe once again would dare to rejoice in a ruling that could give enemy combatants the same due process rights that U.S. servicemen get in a court-martial. We’ll now see if Congress feels as complacent as it seeks to rewrite the rules on military commissions.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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