December 10, 2005

The Democrats' hostility to Joe Lieberman.

From the NYT:
In the last few days, the senator has riled Democratic activists and politicians here and in his home state with his vigorous defense of President Bush's handling of the Iraq war at a time some Democrats are pressuring the administration to begin a withdrawal.

Mr. Lieberman particularly infuriated his colleagues when he pointed out at a conference here that President Bush would be commander in chief for three more years and said that "it's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that."

"We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril," Mr. Lieberman said....

"Some Democrats said I was being a traitor," he said in an interview on Friday, adding that he was not surprised by the reaction, "given the depth of feeling about the war."...

Mr. Lieberman noted that his positions on Iraq had not changed over the years, dating from 1991, when he supported the first Persian Gulf war. In 1998, he and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, proposed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein official American policy.

"The positive and negative reactions may have less to do with the substance of what I said than with the fact that a Democrat is saying it," Mr. Lieberman said. "It reflects the terribly divisive state of our politics."
Lieberman is absolutely right, and the Democrats turn to attack him. They should listen to him.


The Tiger said...

It's amazing how holding a consistent position can look like moving all over the map, isn't it?

Churchill's political career is a great example of that -- bedrock consistency of basic principles, which led to two crossings of the floor.

Shall be interesting to see what happens to Lieberman over the next few years...

DEC said...

Sadly, fighting liberals (the people who joined the International Brigades to fight fascists during the Spanish Civil War) have nearly vanished from the Democratic Party. The Democrats today more closely resemble the Copperheads (Peace Democrats) of the Civil War.

Gahrie said...

The left always ruthlessly surpresses dissent. Look at how they treated Zell Miller. Look at how people like Tammy Bruce are read out of the movement. Look at their insistence that conservative minorities are traitors. Look at how they shout down and surpress conservative speech at colleges and universities.

They can't allow people like Lieberman to exist, because they show just how irrational and out of touch the rest of them are.

Wade_Garrett said...

I've always liked Lieberman. The liberal Democrats in New England generally love him; he wins election with 80% of the vote. Some Democrats are going to fall back into the circular firing squad mentality, but I think he's a good face for our party: tough, but liberal on social issues. He could be the Democrats' Rudy Guiliani.

EddieP said...

A voice in the wilderness. At times I wish Joe would come across to become a republican.

On the other hand wouldn't it be terrific if Joe were the locus of revival of a loyal opposition. Think about it, reasoned debate about critical issues, with fresh ideas flowing.

brylin said...

At one time there was a tradition of Democrats who were strong advocates of national defense. No longer.

Although he is a staunch liberal on social issues, Lieberman will probably be forced from the Democratic Party, in their drive to be a permanent but ideologically pure minority.

Is Hillary next?

Troy said...

DEC -- There are fighting liberals -- they've juust moved so far away from Lieberman and they fight in the streets of every trade meeting around the world. ANd they're so brave they wear masks and attack poor pristine panes of glass.

A caller on C-SPAN this morning started in on some pro-Israel/Lieberman diatribe.... Liberman will be a Republican or at least a DINO by the next decade (or very near retirement like Zell Miller).

wildaboutharrie said...

Serious question - is this any different from how conservative Republicans responded to McCain and others who joined the "gang of 14"? Aren't moderates who work with the "other side" often in peril with the party base?

(Putting aside for a moment the fact that war is more serious than filibuster, if you don't mind...)

And I wonder who the "some Democrats" are who L says are calling him a traitor. I'm suspicious about that quote...

(Lieberman's seat isn't in danger anyway, is my guess...)

Steve Donohue said...

I think the difference between McCain and the Republicans and Lieberman and the Democrats is that even with all the guff McCain gets from the base (much of it unwarranted, IMO), he would still do reasonably well in a presidential primary- hell, maybe even win. We all saw what happened to Lieberman, and this was someone who very nearly became vice-president for that party.

marquisdesade said...

Sadly, fighting liberals (the people who joined the International Brigades to fight fascists during the Spanish Civil War) have nearly vanished from the Democratic Party.

I double-dare you to say that to the face of one of the many veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who survive to this day, and were foully besmirched by Ronald 'I liberated the concentration camps from California' Reagan. You can send me the medical bill for that broken nose afterwards.

Others have pointed out how GOP moderates are a dying breed, thanks to Frist's importing of DeLay-style arm-behind-back discipline. Remember the shrieks from the right after George Voinovich suggested that John Bolton might not be an ideal choice for UN ambassador?

DEC said...
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DEC said...

marquisdesade, I understand your last paragraph clearly. I have no idea what your paragraph (after the quote) mentioning the Abraham Lincoln Brigade means.

dave said...

Lieberman is absolutely ri--


david bennett said...


I'm sure a number on the left wouldn't mind "ruthlessly suppressing dissent," but for the most part they don't own guns nor do they really have much power, also they're not too strong on organization. To the extent they manage to distort the Democratic party it works out to the benefit of Republicans.

But then again elements of the Republican party are pretty dogmatic. And on campus the young Republican nuts are as inclined towards shouting and trashing things as the leftist hooligans.

It's fairly normal for 16 or 19 year olds to consider themselves hopelessly oppressed. Most of us gain a little perspective with age but it seems that both those on the far right and the far left must be continually abused by the worse tyrammy anyone's ever endured.

Mike said...

On exactly what level is Lieberman "right" again? I guess I missed that part.

And, I think that this has less to do with supressing dissent and more to do with Dems starting to acknowledge that they were wrong to go along with the president--a trait that Republicans don't show very often. My TnE book defines "insane delusion" as operating under a false belief that does not yeild evidence to the contrary. Seems to fit in this case.

If you're wrong, you're wrong. Continuing to operate under a belief that is wrong when you've been confronted with evidence to the contrary is "insane".

Now, saying that you wouldn't have changed your position back then is DIFFERENT, much different in fact, than continuing to support a failed policy. It seems very reasonable to think that the President bears the blame since he's the one that made the call--we've been faced with the same threat for more than 15 years and neither of the previous two presidents opted for invasion for many of the reasons that have come to fruition. This decision was clearly on Bush.

Sure it was a judgment call, but it was a bad one. When will he admit his mistake? Has he ever acknowledge no WMDs?

Also, to say that there are no "fighting dems" is nothing but a really bad straw man. It doesn't even stand up to the most cursory look at the record. Go back and look at the vote for war in Afghanistan. Also, go back and look at who went to war in the Balkans (and who were objecting to going to war). Go back and look at the original gulf war. And, these examples are within two decades. Also, look at all of the "new" Dem politicians that have just returned from Iraq.

When a policy is failing, there's nothing wrong with calling out those that are the reason its failing. Including yourself.

It's also intellectually dishonest to hold other people to some weird expectation that they ought to "fix" what your guy has done. If you lose $10K in the stock market, you can't blame me for not having a good way to get it back. If the president goes to war and gets stuck, what sort of logic permits the argument, "well, you can't object unless you have a good way to get us out." What a bunch of weirdo arguments.

Finally, if I'm not mistaken the Republicans are the masters of "getting the party in line." The Dems are constantly criticized for not having party unity--because it's the party of free thought, perhaps?--and now people are objecting when they actually look like they've grown a spine? Weird.

Gahrie said...

1) A pox on both sides in the Spanish civil war. One was Communist and the other Fascist.

2) There is far more dissent allowed in the Republican party. Which party allows both pro-life and pro-choice speakers at their convention? That's right, Republicans. The republicans have always been the big tent party. McCain has far more support in the Republican party than Lieberman has in the Democratic party.

3) Name me one example of Republican or conservative violence on a college campus. Name me one liberal speaker shouted down and not permitted to speak. This week alone at Conn., Cindy Sheehan is allowed to speak in peace, Ann Coulter is shouted off the stage.

DEC said...

mmmbeer said: "When a policy is failing, there's nothing wrong with calling out those that are the reason its failing."

How do you know the policy is failing? When did you get back from Iraq? How long were you there?

I have spent 30 years doing business nonstop in Muslim cultures. I lived in Indonesia and Egypt.

If I negotiate a $2 million contract in an Arab country, the negotiations usually take two years from start to finish. People in Muslim cultures almost never make important decisions quickly.

My point is: The U.S. may win the war or the U.S. may lose the war. But no one--not you, not me, not Bush--can know at this point.

However, Bush can lose the war at home. The U.S. can opt for unilateral withdrawal before anyone knows the answer to the big question.

Mike said...

What a cop out answer.

So let's see, evidence of failing... hmm... let's see.

We achieved few of the original reasons for going into Iraq: terrorists or WMD--or if you prefer, we've accomplished what we wanted (eg. deposed Saddam), but if that's the case, there's no reason to be there any longer as everything else is simply mission creep now. Which leads me to my next point.

We've effectively help set Iraq on the course to be an Islamic republic friendly with Iran--it's tough to imagine that Iran could have wanted a different result. The participants in the process have every incentive to do as told in the short term, but that says nothing about real long term politics. I don't know how you can even contemplate success here.

We lose troops daily (I have both family members and friends in the military). Not to mention, we've given our enemies a central playground to perfect their tactics. Not exactly a success (and don't even think about saying "fighting over there" because that doesn't help explain Spain, Jordan or the UK).

We are spending billions of dollars. And, millions have simply vanished.

We're not exactly well received (the most horrifying poll result is that 40% think killing US troops is ok).

We've help create militias that are infiltrated with extremists--who by most accounts are using their new found resources and skills to exact revenge. Feels like we've been through this before, train our allies only to have them turn on us.

We have taken our eyes off the original prize, Bin Laden, and created a new one Zarqawi.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that the Bush administration doesn't have its own timeline. The inexplicable time line for elections is just a timeline for withdrawl, akin to Democratic proposals, in a tuxedo. Why else would you force elections in the face of large minority's virtual boycott?

Shall I continue? bleh.

I don't know, maybe you're right. If the administration never gives a measure of success, you can just make stuff up and say, "we're not failing" simply on grounds that there is no MEASURE of success. Besides, how could I possibly know anything? It's not like I'm a subscriber to Foreign Affairs, Stratfor or the Economist. Damn liberal media!

Mike said...

gahrie: you lose: Young Republican Kicks Female Protester

DEC said...
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DEC said...

mmmbeer, now you're asking me to defend Bush's approach. I won't do that. Personally, I would have used a stiletto, not a broadax.

Bush failed to remember two key things:

1. Actions have consequences.

2. Erroneous assumptions lead to bad decisions.

Don't get too worried about the Arabs joining the Iranians. They are still arguing about whether to call the gulf the Arabian Gulf or the Persian Gulf.

And the Arabs still view the Iranians as the biggest threat in the region.

Aspasia M. said...


You said:

"Sadly, fighting liberals (the people who joined the International Brigades to fight fascists during the Spanish Civil War) have nearly vanished from the Democratic Party."

Then marquisdesade said:
"I double-dare you to say that to the face of one of the many veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who survive to this day, and were foully besmirched by Ronald 'I liberated the concentration camps from California' Reagan. You can send me the medical bill for that broken nose afterwards."

You asked what he meant. He was double dog daring you to say those words to one of the veterans that fought the Spanish fascists. He then asserted that said veteran would punch you in the nose. Further, marquisdesade has kindly consented to pay your medical bill.

Gahrie said...

Well let's see...It was at Madison Square Garden, not a college or university as I asked for, and it wasn't a speaker it was someone from the left trying to disrupt a conservative who was speaking. But let's grant this case for the sake of argument.

1) It is ONE case, at a political convention. With a little search time I can come up with dozens of cases on college campuses involving liberal attacks on conservatives. This case became notorious precisely because it was outside the norm. How about I counter with the crowd who ripped up the little girl's sign at a Pres. Bush press stop?

2) No one defended this idiot's actions. Much time and effort was spent exposing him. Check out how conservatives reacted to this guy to how liberals reacted to the idiots that throw pies at Coulter and O'Reilly.

Now having granted the case for argument, I'd have to say it doesn't meet my original challenge.

DEC said...
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Aspasia M. said...


Sen. Harry Reid (pro-life) and Casey Jr. (pro-life) running against Santorum for the Penn. Senate seat.

Tom Delay. Open Tent. Hahahahaha.....
are you kiddding me? Hey, if the Republicans have anything, they've got party discipline.

DEC said...

I can read,geoduck2. I guess I was expecting a more serious point from marquisdesade.

Goatwhacker said...

gahrie, there have been other cases of liberals getting shouted down. IIRC there was a commencement speaker last summer shouted down for his anti-war views. Trying to say that the nuts on the right are less nutty or as prevalent than those on the left won't work. Both liberals and conservative seem to think they're the more tolerant party.

I like Joe Lieberman and thought he made the most sense of any of the 2004 Democratic primary candidates. I would have voted for him over Bush. He is analogous to McCain in that there is a faction within his party that can't stand him, while many in the opposing party respect him. I have to agree Lieberman has little chance of becoming president as a Democrat candidate since he'd never make it past the primaries.

Besides his pro-Iraq stance, I've read many posts on liberal message boards concerned that his faith makes him unelectable. He's also about as exciting as watching Jello set in the refrigerator.

Mike said...

It doesn't take much to find more stories, it's called google.

Sheesh. The second story seems to be a compendium of occurences. I don't know anything about the source though.

Aspasia M. said...


I can't speak for the marquis. I would be surprised if those who fought the Spanish fascists in the '30s would be terribly enthusiastic about this administration. (suspension of Habeus Corpus, ect.)

But can't you see that for most people it's less about ideology and more about doubting the administration's competence in Iraq?

On top of military and political mistakes in Iraq, the administration has really screwed up in the ideological war.

The latest is the purchase of news stories in Iraq (undermining the hope of a free press) and rumors that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera.

Personally, I believe the U.S. has do whatever it has to do to prevent a hot civil war in Iraq. But the administration won't convince the country of that by accusing Democrats of being unpatriotic. All that does is inflame both sides and the pundits and politicians run around calling each other names.

DEC said...

geoduck2, I don't think war critics in the Democratic Party are hurting the war effort.

1. Impact of the war debate on U.S. military morale -- I served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The peace protests had no impact on me. One of the things a soldier fights for is freedom of speech.

2. Impact of the war debate on Arabs -- Americans underestimate the intelligence of Arabs. Arabs have contended with propaganda all of their lives. Arabs know how to deal with it.

A comment I often hear from Arab acquaintances in the Middle East: "You Americans are lucky. You have so many freedoms. You can criticize your government every day without anything bad happening to you."

The war debate demonstrates freedom in America. That is a good thing.

Mike said...

DEC shhhh... you're supporting the terrorists and you don't even know it. It's obvious you hate America. *rolls eyes*.

DEC said...
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Mike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DEC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

Let me try that again. It's hard to claim that you permit alternative ideas when the administration goes out of its ways to PREVENT dissent from the inside: an example from the news today.

Aspasia M. said...


We seem to be talking at cross-purposes. I agree with you. I have no problem with political dissent and I'm a Independent who defines herself as a liberal. The "Democrats are traitors and want us to loose" talking point drives me insane.

This mistake was small in comaparison to a bunch of other incidents. (ie- Abu Gharab)
However, it seems to me that we want to encourage a free press in Iraq for a multitude of reasons - political and ideological. The recent stories about the U.S. paying for press are annoying.

If the U.S. is going to plant stories in the press then at the minimum don't get caught. (I do object to state-paid-propaganda on practical and moral grounds.) Again, I am concerned with the competence of the civilian leadership.

DEC said...

mmmbeer said: "DEC shhhh... you're supporting the terrorists and you don't even know it."

No, mmmbeer, I just have more international experience than most of the Democratic and Republican political pigs at the public trough.

mmmbeer said: "It's hard to claim that you permit alternative ideas when the administration goes out of its ways to PREVENT dissent from the inside..."

I don't hear Bush & Co. asking for alternative ideas. So what. The American people ARE asking for them.

Meanwhile, I go back to my original point about fighting liberals.You tell me fighting liberals exist. Well, fighting liberals need to present a viable, realistic alternative to dealing with the war problems at hand. Cut-and-run is not a good option at this point.

gj said...

Ann -

is your position that the President is doing a good job of conducting the war? Or is your position that one should never criticize the conduct of war while the war is in progress, i.e. that once a President declares war he is above reproach.

I really don't understand your position on this, because the first choice (that the President is doing a good job) doesn't match what I see, and the second choice seems out of character for you.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see it as not debating the conduct of the war, but rather what appears to me to be whether we should still be in Iraq in the first place right now.

So far, there are really two alternatives on the table. The one by Dean that entails yanking over half of our troops out of Iraq immediately, and the Administration's current plan.

Lieberman is behind the President's strategy, while Hillary and McCain seem to agree with the goals, just think that some of the strategies might need tweaking.

McCain's suggestion at one point that we should have put more troops in has merit - except that we couldn't. If Hillary's husband hadn't cut somewhere around ten divisions, we could have had enough troops in Iraq all along not to stretch the Reserves and National Guard AND to do what is now being done up along the Syrian border.

But back to my point. I see a big difference between where Hillary and McCain sit than where Dean and Murtha sit. The later only really propose "Cut and Run".

So, instead of hypothetesizing that the Shiite Arabs are going to merge with Iran once we are gone, etc., what is your proposal? Do we cut and run? Do we stay the course? If we reduce troop levels right now, where would you reduce them? Which operations would you eliminate? And if you suggest increasing troop levels, where would we get them?

Tony said...

My dream ticket...

Lieberman - McCain (or McCain - Lieberman wouldn't matter much to me).

It would be a pleasure to have two people with character as president and vice president.

Bruce Hayden said...

Being more to the conservative side, I wouldn't want Senator Lieberman as president. On the other hand, I would sleep more securely at night with him in the presidency than I would many, if not most, other major national Democratic politicians today.

Joe Lieberman (like, maybe out esteemed hostess here, and also maybe Hillary) is a pro-strong national defense and pro-War in Iraq liberal. I agree with him with defense and war, but not as much so with everything else.

John McCain doesn't have what I considered presidential temperment (I think that Lieberman probably does). In AZ, where I used to live, McCain is well known for his temper and his vendettas. Many of the conservatives there despise him, but don't have much choice. I am still troubled by his Savings and Loan problems from years ago (remember, he was the only Republican member of the Keating 5)- that looked to me like he seriously lacked judgement there.

brylin said...

Day-by-Day by Chris Muir comments on Joe Lieberman and the MSM, here, here and here.