Friday morning news of note: Beyond Lieberman, Democrats shakeup primaries, Neanderthals!

There is a great op-ed over at the San Diego Union Tribune that explores an all to familiar theme for readers of Donkey Digest.

According to a recent poll, 73 percent of Americans wish they had an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans in the 2008 presidential race. And no wonder. Both parties seem increasingly in thrall to their least attractive elements.

We see this now in the Democratic Party with the extraordinary national effort by “Netroots” activists to defeat respected veteran Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., in his state’s primary on Aug. 8. Lieberman’s sin: He thinks the Iraq war is just. So much for his 30 years-plus of supporting higher spending, activist government and nearly every other liberal cause. Since he sides with George W. Bush on one big issue, he must be replaced in the Senate by an undistinguished political novice. Why such extreme punishment? Because Bush is the devil.

This is not a slight on the nuance of the Angry Left’s views. One high-profile pundit long ago openly declared he hated Bush. Others consider it a given that the White House is a bigger threat to the world than Islamic terrorism.

But this same urge to purge can be found among Republicans… Politicians such as Rudolph Giuliani or John McCain who are uneasy with the constant use of divisive hot-button issues such as gay marriage are told to get with the program or kiss their political futures goodbye.

Plainly, the you’re-for-us-or-you’re-against-us mentality of much of talk radio and the political Internet now suffuses America’s major parties – and at the worst possible time.

We are in desperate need of a sincere bipartisan approach to developing a long-term foreign policy to deal with the threat posed by Islamic extremism. We are also in desperate need of such an approach to address the huge fiscal problems that are inevitable as baby boomers retire and the number of people who rely on government checks explodes.

But in an era in which the most active and influential members of both parties get their news through filters that only reinforce their views, many see thoughtful bipartisanship as a sign of weakness – or even a character defect. Big tents? They’re for circuses, not politics.

Of course, the above article excerpt is dead on!  There was a time when the political landscape wasn’t quite as divided – before the “Christian” right hijacked the Republican party and before the counter-culture/netroots began their on again off again assault on the Democrats.  If the GOP would return to their modern day roots (Eisenhower/Goldwater) and the Democrats would do the same (Truman/Kennedy/ even Clinton), I don’t believe we’d see the narrow-mindedness we’re seeing now and the hunger for change.

E.J Dionne nails it with this piece called Redefining Conservative ‘Values’

A little over six years ago, the voters in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary set the GOP on a clear course. The news of this week, particularly from neighboring Georgia, suggests that journey is reaching an end.

On Feb. 19, 2000, George W. Bush defeated John McCain here with an approach that would mark his presidency. It emphasized the importance of rallying “the Republican base,” particularly conservative Christians, and the imperative of attacking political opponents in times of trouble — preferably through surrogates who could provide plausible deniability.

One of the architects of the Bush strategy was Ralph Reed, a brilliant political operative who built the Christian Coalition into a formidable force and then made serious money as a political consultant.

When Bush seemed on the brink of political collapse after McCain overwhelmed him in the New Hampshire primary, Reed went to work. He organized the churches and got his phone banks busy contacting South Carolina’s many religious voters. The McCain campaign was bitter over the nasty things spread about their candidate. McCain loyalists blamed Reed. He denied anything out of bounds, and won many political chits in Bush’s world.

But a funny thing happened to Reed this week: he lost a Republican primary in a Southern state — exactly the sort of electorate that Reed was an expert at courting. In a race for lieutenant governor of Georgia, Reed was defeated by Casey Cagle, a state senator who initially didn’t seem to have a prayer against his charming and charismatic foe.

The Associated Press is reporting Democrats plan to shake up the primary process in the next presidential election cycle:

Democrats are on track to jumble the states in the presidential primary calendar in response to growing criticism that the same predominantly white states hold many of the cards in early voting.

And not even complaints from a former president and a half-dozen White House hopefuls can stop them.

Iowa would still go first in the new calendar, but a Western state – possibly Nevada or Arizona – would be wedged in before the New Hampshire primary. A Southern state – possibly Alabama or South Carolina – would follow New Hampshire.

The national Democrats’ rules and bylaws committee expects to vote on the proposal this weekend.

Critical Democratic constituencies such as blacks and Hispanics have clamored for a major role in early primary voting, arguing that Iowa and New Hampshire are hardly reflective of a diverse electorate. 

Scientists plan to rebuild Neanderthal genome.  No, really.  And there are a million jokes I could make about this… like “oh great!  Now I’ll NEVER get dates with the hot women” or “how can scientists rebuild something Republicans say never existed?”


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