WIth all the talk today (here, here, here, here, and here) about Ember's campaign in the 5th, I thought I'd post a letter I recieved from one of my friends.
I’m grateful to Phil Steger for reminding us of Ember Reichgott-Junge’s strong and very recent connection to Joe Lieberman: In 2004 she was the Lieberman campaign’s state chair when he ran for president. (Remember Ember, Remember “Joementum!”) I’ve seen that connection up close and way too personal.
I was at January 2004 DFL State Central Committee meeting that Steger references in his commentary – not as a delegate, but as one of the legions of Howard Dean supporters in Minnesota spurred by the guy from Vermont, who was speaking the truth about the war when it was not fashionable to do so, to get involved in Minnesota politics for the first time.
It was just one weekend after scores of us volunteers had returned from busting our asses for Dean in freaking COLD Iowa right before his devastating loss in the caucuses there. (Yeah, lots of us were in the room for Dean’s famous “scream,” too, which was totally distorted by the MSM, but that’s a story for another day.) You bet we Deaniacs were deflated, but back at home we regrouped and attended, enthusiastically and en masse, the Central Committee meeting being held in Blaine, to show that our support for our guy was still rock-solid. Well over a hundred of us showed up, and the place was pretty packed with Kucinich supporters as well.
At the meeting, each presidential campaign was allowed time to present the case for their candidate.
My friends and I still vividly recall when Ember, whom many of us had never even heard of before, took her turn at the podium representing the Lieberman campaign. (As far as we could tell, Ember was the Lieberman campaign in Minnesota, since back then apparently every other Minnesota Democrat had more sense than to sign on to that campaign.)
What did she choose to talk about to this crowd, composed of stalwart DFLers plus a good couple hundred Dean and Kucinich supporters who were overwhelmingly driven to take our country back from the Bushite wingnuts? Sure, we knew she wasn’t going to come out against the war, because Joe was all for the war, but maybe she’d choose to talk about other red-meat Democratic values like, say, taking back obscene tax cuts for the rich? Fighting back on privatizing Social Security? Repealing “No Child Left Behind”?
No. Ember chose to talk about “morality.”
About how Joe Lieberman was going to win because the Republicans could never attack him on “morality.” “Talk about morality!” I will never forget her saying. “No one has stronger moral values than Joe Lieberman!” We should all support Joe because “Wouldn’t it be great to have a candidate the Republicans can’t attack on morality?”
Ember wanted us to remember how great it was when Lieberman had sanctimoniously harangued Bill Clinton and the nation about his version of morality during the impeachment fiasco. But she had nothing to say about the effect on Lieberman’s “morality” of his full-throated support of this immoral war. Not to mention the fact that Lieberman was the guy who had just accused Dean of being in a “spiderhole of denial” because Dean didn’t believe Iraq was better off after Saddam Hussein’s capture than before the war.
We all looked at each other: Who was this schoolmarmish, hectoring, priggish lady, dressed to cover almost every inch of skin like some kind of Minnesota Taliban? Who did she think she was to be lecturing us about how much more “moral” Joe Lieberman was than the rest of us? We were supposed to be judging ourselves by Joe Lieberman’s standards of morality? What’s more, the impression was unmistakable that she felt she was more moral than the rest of us, too. She made us feel like she wanted us to feel: immoral, degenerate, like we needed a shower.
Remember Ember, Remember Joe Lieberman.
In 2006, what DFL primary voters in CD5 really need to remember is that: in 2004, when so many of us – young and old, city and suburban, parents and children, straight and gay, white, black and every shade in between – stood up, marched and demanded to be heard that the war was “Not In Our Name!”; while we were doing that, Ember Reichgott-Junge was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Joe Lieberman, one of the country’s greatest cheerleaders for that war.
And no, Joe Lieberman isn’t the only Democrat who’s been wrong on the war, but he does deserve our special scorn: not just because he has never stopped cheering on the war, but because he has relentlessly questioned the patriotism of any of us who have dared criticize the president. This, of course, is our extra-moral president who has brought us such bright-shining moral victories as illegal detention, torture and massacre, at such nifty moral locations as Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib and Haditha.
This is the man Ember says is moral. Ember and Joe – they’re more moral than you.
Remember Ember, Remember Joe Lieberman.
Now that Ember’s decided that she and her morality (remember, she’s only gotten one speeding ticket!) are a super-great fit for one of the most forward-thinking, progressive Congressional districts in the entire country, it’s time – actually, long overdue – we ask her just a few questions on the burning moral issues of the day:
Where were you in 2003 and 2004, during Bush’s unholy rush to war? Did you have anything to say about it, and can you show us where? Did you ever march with us? Have we ever honked at you on the Lake Street Bridge?
You and Joe Lieberman wholeheartedly supported the war in 2004. Do you think things are still peachy over there? If not, do you think you just might have been wrong back then?
Just last week you called for Rumsfeld’s resignation; how courageous of you. If Rumsfeld goes, do you think that will make it all better?
When on your website you get around to talking about Iraq (the 10th issue down your list), you say, “I see a future in which Americans can travel safely through any country on the globe…” Is that what it’s about for you, protecting the rights of tourists? How about, I dunno, keeping our troops out of harm’s way by bringing them home now?
And just for fun: Have you called on your buddy Joe to withdraw from the race in Connecticut after losing the primary? (Probably not, since you’re running against the endorsed Democrat yourself, right?) Will you accept as many endorsements from right-wing Republicans as he has? If Mark Kennedy wants to endorse you, too, are you down with that?
A Lieberman Democrat for CD5?
When Minnesota has led the nation for 60 years in sending to Congress visionary, way-ahead-of-the-curve leaders like Hubert Humphrey, fighting segregationists back in ’48; Eugene McCarthy, who stood up to a president of his own party to fight for peace; Walter Mondale, out in front of civil and workers’ rights every day; and Paul Wellstone, who put his whole career on the line to vote against the immoral war that Joe Lieberman and Ember embraced?
Do we really want a Lieberman Democrat to speak for CD5 and Minnesota? Is that our idea of morality? In the most progressive part of the state and one of the most progressive districts in the country, is that really who we are?
CD5, it's our call.
Remember Ember, Remember Joe Lieberman.
I was there as part of the Dean group at that Central Committee meeting and remember her 'lecturing' instead of speaking to the group. That's what happens when people like Joe Lieberman and Ember pick and chose what is or isn't moral. The truly immense scale of killing doesn't count as a blip on their moral compass.
I knew that day, the moment she spoke, that whatever her morals, mine would never allow me to support her.
An Ellison supporter told me today that she couldn't support Ember because of her ties to Liebermann. It is interesting to note that Ember strongly supported Liebermann in 2004. Has she said or done anything lately that indicates her support of him now?
I ask because Ellison has a history that could be described as murky at best. From his alleged link to a group that is racist to his inability to manage his personal affairs and his over-the-average amount of traffic tickets, his actions tell me that he is not the candidate that I care to have running the show on my behalf. Some of what you may call silly indiscretions happened in the not-too-recent past.
But Ellison voters will tell you that we should put this behind us because Keith is working on improving his bad habits.
However, because Ember supported Liebermann two years ago she is a condemned woman in your eyes? That doesn't seem to be very progressive of you.
What about morals? I am not very impressed by any man who blames his wife for things he should have completed himself in the first place.
Look at her record, not at her morals. She is a good, honest and decent person with a good track record of working for all the people, not a specific group of people.
Just because someone doesn't march with you on a bridge is no indicator of who they are. We are not all protesters. Some of us are quiet and prefer to do our battles in other ways. Just because some of the candidates get out and protest with you doesn't necessarily mean they want to do it for personal reasons; they may be doing it for political reasons to get your vote.
Whatever floats your boat. I am glad we all have the freedom to support and vote for whomever we please. I plan to vote for Ember.
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