Lieberman and Congressional Democrats Are on the Same Page

And always have been. If you are under the impression that there is any meaningful anger or hostility toward Joe Lieberman because he campaigned for John McCain and characterized his own party’s candidate as a favorite of terrorists and a man who doesn’t put his country first, you should not be:

Though it hasn’t happened yet, it is appearing increasingly likely that Senate Democrats — led by Barack Obama (who seems to be playing a much more active role in all of this than his spokesperson yesterday suggested) — are going to choose Joe Lieberman to serve as their Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the next Congress.  If that happens, there will be one important silver lining:  it will remind many people, who have understandably forgotten due to the euphoria last week, exactly what most Beltway Democrats are, what their priorities and beliefs are, and to whose opinions and concerns they do and do not pay attention.

It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn — rightfully so — over the last several years, and particularly since 2006.  This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place); massively expanded the President’s warrantless eavesdropping powers; immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed it with virtually no changes; didn’t even bother to mount a filibuster to stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and on and on and on.  None of that has changed.  That is still who they are.

Joe Lieberman didn’t merely campaign against Barack Obama and several other Democrats.  That’s the least of his sins.  He was not only among the most vocal supporters of the Iraq War, but at least as bad, has endorsed and supported every last radical Bush policy to expand executive power and surveillance activities while destroying core constitutional liberties and checks and balances.  He used his Chairmanship for only one purpose: to block oversight into Bush scandals and corruption. He has spouted the most defamatory attacks, not only against Barack Obama, but against war opponents generally.  More significantly still, Democrats in his own state — his own constituents — booted him out of the party, no longer wanting to be represented by him.

That is who Senate Democrats appear well on their way to selecting to serve as their Chairman of Homeland Security, of all committees.  That’s because nothing that Lieberman has done really bothers them.  Endorsing the Iraq War and the full panoply of radical Bush policies isn’t disqualifying in the least because so many of them also endorsed that and support it, or, at the very least, it’s not a priority for them.  They care even less what their “base” thinks, what the so-called “Left” wants.  Few things in this world are less likely than them ever taking even a mild stand — such as stripping Lieberman of his Chair — in order to defend some sort of political principle, or to punish ineptitude, or to announce that there are certain lines to the Right that can’t be crossed.  They don’t do that.  They never have.  And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they won’t now.

Jane Hamsher has a lengthy piece about Lieberman’s record (h/t Glenn); some of the policies he’s supported and campaign tactics he has used may surprise you:

Where to begin?  Well, let’s start in 2000, when Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic candidate for vice president—in response to pressure from the Bush campaign and without checking with his own—conceded hundreds of fraudulent overseas ballots supposedly from military voters that cost Al Gore the election, the notorious “Thanksgiving Stuffing.”

Let’s skip lightly over Lieberman’s part in the culture wars, his sanctimonious rebuke of President Clinton on the floor of the Senate at the start of the impeachment charade, and his critical role as part of the so-called “Gang of 14” breaking Democratic resistance to putting Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court. Let’s jump straight to Lieberman’s December 6, 2005 speech where he rebuked his party:

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

While Lieberman was quick to denounce Clinton for a private matter he leaped to the defense of Bush as even Republicans realized his strategy in the Iraq War was disastrous. Criticize George W. Bush and his conduct of the war and you’re a traitor.

Lieberman subsequently told the New Haven Register that he opposed legislation that  would have required all publicly funded hospitals to provide Plan B contraception to rape victims, saying “it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital” (for which he earned himself the  sobriquet “Short Ride.”)  The 2006 Democratic primary campaign in Connecticut was in some respects a warm-up for Lieberman’s negative attacks on Barack Obama, ironic given that Obama endorsed him. Lieberman had been assigned to show the freshman the ropes in the Senate and Obama called him his “mentor.” Obama rushed to the state to deliver a ringing endorsement of Lieberman at the annual party dinner. No good deed goes unpunished.

Lieberman’s opponent, Ned Lamont, was a businessman and an antiwar activist from Greenwich. Supported by the Democratic establishment, Lieberman claimed he would abide by the results of the primary. But when he lost he ran as a member of a new political party, called the “Connecticut for Lieberman Party.”

He blanketed cars in parking lots of African-American churches with flyers suggesting Lamont was racist. (Lamont had resigned from a country club, not because it practiced discrimination but because he felt it was not diverse enough.) Meanwhile, Lieberman stoked racial tensions by telling Jewish groups in Connecticut saying that Lamont had surrounded himself with people like Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Al Sharpton “who are either naïve or are isolationists or, frankly, some more explicitly against Israel.”

There is much more; I highly recommend you read the entire article.

5 Responses to “Lieberman and Congressional Democrats Are on the Same Page”

  1. DrGail says:

    I am literally spitting mad as I watch this weaselly betrayal play out. It almost feels like when you get a kid an expensive, budget-busting gift only to watch him destroy it in the first ten minutes.

    Joe Lieberman is just such a symbol of what is wrong with the Democratic Party: we take the “big tent” and expand it to a point where it is absolutely meaningless, undercutting our principles along the way to a point where they’re irrelevant as well. If we can’t maintain discipline on such a clear-cut (and isolated) point, then there’s little hope of us ever taking a strong stand on anything. No wonder we’re portrayed as weaklings.

    This might be a good time to actually look to the GOP as a role model for how to handle such a betrayal. It’s no surprise that every sitting Republican who expressed support for Obama had already preemptively announced his/her retirement from office.

    I personally belong to the camp that insists Joe should be removed from his committee chairmanship, only partly because (as Steve Benen ominously predicts) the very oversight Joe didn’t carry out on the Bush Administration might be pursued zealously against the Obama Administration. Behavior has consequences, or at least it should.

  2. yep, the page of crooks

  3. Bob Della Valle says:

    Once again the Dems show their true color – yellow. There is no way they can justify a refusal to deny him the chair of the homeland security committee, not reconciliation, not forgiveness, not collegiality. Dodd and Durbin in particular are absolutely shameless in their bowing to this fucking weasel.

  4. DrGail says:

    This must be a first: two commenters on this post (including yours truly) used the word “weasel”.

    What’s interesting to me is that what was sufficiently egregious to prompt such indelicate language is a Senator who is ostensibly one of our own. All the horrendous outrages of the Bush administration elicited plenty of salty language (my personal favorite is tas’ “fucktard”), but the utter exasperation and angry sense of futility was reserved for none other than Joe Lieberman.

    I guess that says it all, doesn’t it?

  5. radical_moderate says:

    Where to begin? I have detested Lieberman since Gore foolishly chose him as his VEEP. Look in the dictionary for sanctimonious and Lieberman’s sharpei like visage stares at you from the page. Evan Bayh made a logical argument for keeping Lieberman in the Dem’s caucus and in his chairmanship on Rachael Maddow’s show the other night, but I still can’t stomach the thought of the man calling himself an “Independant Democrat” (more like a Republican lap dog, IMO.)

    In the first place, it seems as if Lieberman’s first priority is Israel and not the USA, and in this service he has become, ironically enough, a good friend of that bigot John Hagee (who surely believes that when the “End of Days” comes that all Jews unwilling to convert will be murdered), secondly, as noted up thread, when CT Democrats chose Ned Lamont instead of him, the rat ran and got the support of Republicans in the State. That he rebuked the man who supported his bid for the nomination, Barack Obama, is no surprize to those of us who have watched his smarmy, pandering performance during the Bush years. I understand why the Democrats want to hold onto the weasel strategically, but my idealist self rebels. I suppose a bombardment of Harry Reid’s office protesting keeping Lieberman at Homeland Security would do no good, so my battle cry is that, when LIEberman is up for re-election, that the netroots put their full support in unseating him. By god, if I have to move to CT temporarily to work against this Benedict Arnold, I’ll do it!

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