OxBlog

Monday, August 07, 2006

# Posted 10:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

LIEBERMAN: DANG FOOL OR "THE LAST HONEST MAN"? Watch Joe Lieberman's interview with George Stephanopoulos. Ask yourself, is there a single instance in which Lieberman criticizes what Bush has done in Iraq?

Not Rumsfeld. Bush. As Lieberman points out, he called years ago for Rumsfeld to resign. But not a negative word about Bush. Lieberman proudly insists that he refuses to politicize national security. For that reason and others, Robert Kagan has labelled him the last honest man.

Kagan may be right. What greater proof of Lieberman's refusal to compromise his own beliefs than his total inability to criticize the president even when doing so is so clearly in Lieberman's personal interest?

Yet while listening to Lieberman, I also sensed that he just doesn't get it. He just doesn't understand what liberal Connecticut voters want to hear. He tells ABC that voters shouldn't judge him just by his position on the war. It is one issue among many, and he is a loyal Democrat on all the others.

True, but not effective. Shouldn't Lieberman be leading off with fiery criticism of Rumsfeld? Connecticut primary voters want a senator who will vent their rage at the war and at the administration. Given that Lieberman really is angry with Rumsfeld, why doesn't he have the good sense to campaign on it?

In an earlier post, I suggested that Lieberman may already be running a campaign for November, when independents and Republicans can defeat Lamont. But, just a couple of months ago, when Lieberman was still way ahead of Lamont, why didn't he direct maximum fire at Rumsfeld & Co.?

If Bill Kristol can lash Donald Rumsfeld, you'd think it would be OK for Joe Lieberman.

Speaking of Lieberman's impending debut as an independent candidate, I also have to say that he did a terrible job of explaining why he won't abide by the results of the Democratic primary.

In fact, he gave no explanation. But there's just no way of getting around the fact that bucking the primary is an act of disloyalty to one's party. Lieberman claimed he's been "scapegoated", yet it seemed like an afterthought. If he's going to buck the party, he needs to say again and again that the party has betrayed him, and not vice versa.

In case you couldn't tell, let me state for the record that my harsh criticism of Lieberman is a result of my affection. Sadly, it seems that all of Joe's biggest fans now find themselves on the Republican side of the partisan divide.

If Lieberman is gone come November, many of us will look back and say that his loss was about the war and about the new energy of the Democratic net-roots. But it will also be because Lieberman did it to himself.

I admire Lieberman's bipartisanship tremendously, but will I be able to forgive him if his moderation causes me to read three of the scariest words in the American political lexicon? Yes, "Sen. Ned Lamont".
(8) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
Lieberman has also consistently attempted to defend himself from Democratic charges that he has been insufficiently critical of the war by saying that he has consistently criticized George Bush's execution of the war, not getting, apparently, that the key point so many Democrats hold against him about the war is not the execution but that he still thinks the war per se was a good idea in the first place.

Right or wrong, few Democrats agree.

"Eighty-one percent of Democrats say the war was not worth fighting, and 70 percent feel that way 'strongly.'"

Joe doesn't get it.
 
I am a CT democrat who will be voting for Lieberman today. I don't know about others, but I do admire the fact that he didn't act in a typical political prostitute fashion like all other Dems, and did not pander to the party line if he doesn't agree with it. Vast majority of democrats voted for the war, but only very few actually have the balls to own up to it.
 
Why doesn't Lieberman talk about a twin threat to realizing something of a decent outcome: a damn the consequences withdrawal and complacently sticking to the current strategy. Both are equally a threat other than the fact that sticking to the current strategy leaves open the possibility of changing the strategy while withdrawing does not leave a possibility for unwithdrawing.

As for those who insist that no semblance of a decent outcome is possible, what would you say of a town taken over by Al Qaeda, people kidnapped for challenging Al Qaeda rule then killed and their bodies booby-trapped and set off when family reclaims the body, any hope for such a town?
 
I doubt that anonymous at 9:05 is a Democrat.
 
Is there some reason that leiberman should not fall because of his association wtih abramoff, that would seem to me a bigger question.
 
Joe wont express real rage against Rummy. And he wont shout how the Dem party has betrayed him.

Anyone notice something in common?

Like rage, and crys of betrayal, isnt his style? He just doesnt do the angry man thing very well. Unfortunately we're getting to a place where only shouts can be heard, not whispers. Where only a Dean, or a Santorum can win respect. Maybe a McCain, whos centrism is filtered through a barely controlled, angry personality. But not a gentle person.
 

Joe wont express real rage against Rummy. And he wont shout how the Dem party has betrayed him.


I think you confused the last sentence a little. It should be "How he has betrayed the Dem Party".

The national democratic party went all out to help him with fund raising, even sending heavy hitters like Bill Clinton to his aid. The Dems did NOT betray him at all, even when he said he might run as an independent. That was the time the national party should have dumped him.

Even the local Dem party in CT helped him. You notice that Leiberman did best in large towns, where the Dem machine is strong. The machine was still helping him.

The Dems went all out to help him, despite his actions.

And as for "betrayal", perhaps you need a lesson on the fundamentals of democracy ? That being that the Senatorial seat is not his by divine right and voting against him is not betrayal.

To give some idea of my background, I'm not a Democrat, I'm centist on most fiscal issues, I support SS privatization, in most respects I don't really care whether he's more progressive than Lamont or not because I'm more conservative than either.

But his support for the war in iraq, and moreover his obnoxious Op-Ed in the WSJ (the same page that accused Bill Clinton of smuggling drugs in Mena, arkansas) sealed the deal for me.
 
Losing the primary will allow Lieberman to come out as a Republican. At first, he'll try to straddle the middle as an Indie. But he'll probably feel more comfortable in his own skin if he doesn't need to hide things, to live a double life.

He's officially playing for the other team. Kind of a Nutmeg Zell. He's one of yours.
 
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