The Washington State Democratic party Tuesday announced that it will not throw its support behind incumbent state Senator Tim Sheldon (D - 35th District), but will support his primary election opponent, Kyle Taylor Lucas.
Just as the Democratic in Connecticut did with Joe Lieberman, the Washington State Democratic Party has chosen to distance itself from a well-respected, long-term, lawmaker in favor of a much more liberal Senatorial candidate.
Just what is going on here? If the goal of the Democrats (which is currently controlled by some of the most liberal of their ranks) is to solidify their party platform by endorsing candidates who "tow the party line", then they are doing just what they have set out to do.
In the case of Lieberman, he supports the war on terror in Iraq, well in opposition to the "everything is Bush's fault" platform the party has taken since the Kerry campaign. Lieberman was hailed in 2000 as the choice for Vice President, but shortly after election was lost to the Republicans, Joe was (and is) treated as an embarrasment to the party for not being a "party-line" Democrat.
A parallel can be made between Lieberman and Sheldon. Tim Sheldon, who has been in state politics for over 15 years, proudly calls himself a Democrat, but when push comes to shove, he bucks the party line in an important way - a way that has been overlooked by the Democratic Party - we live in a Representative Democracy, which means an elected official is expected to vote on bills in a way that reflects the will of his or her constituents, not the political party he or she is a member of. In a Representative Democracy, the "D" or "R" attached to an official's name is merely an affectation, with the will of that lawmaker's consituents dictating how that official votes. The number of Democrats of Republicans in a lawmaking body has an influence on government policy, but not to the degree the Washington State Democrats seem to believe it does.
This isn't to say that Tim Sheldon has voted merely along either Democrat or Republican party lines. Heavens, no. But he has voted with his consituents' wishes in mind - the main reason he has been re-elected term after term. To me, that's the earmark of >gasp!< an honest politician.
Also, there have been a number of "liberal Republicans" that have gained acceptance by the "great unwashed masses" - Arizona Senator John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani spring immediately to mind. But has the Republican Party excommunicated either of them because of some of his liberal views? A resounding no.
Side note - have you ever heard the media talk about a Democratic lawmaker as a "conservative Democrat"? I think not. But, when Democrats - or the media - talk about a socially liberal Republican, he/she is referred to as a "moderate Republican". As far as I can tell, there is no definition of a "moderate" when it comes to describing a Democratic lawmaker. Why's that?
In think that in both cases - Lieberman's and Sheldon's - the voters in their consituencies will tell each state Democratic Party that the lawmaker they want is the one who represents the voters, not the super-left-wing.Posted by radioguy8 at August 30, 2006 06:03 PM | Email This