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Posted by on Jul 17, 2006 in At TMV | 11 comments

Clinton stands up for Lieberman

Bill Clinton, that is. Here’s what he said, via The Boston Globe:

If we allow our differences over what to do now in Iraq to divide us instead of focusing on replacing Republicans in Congress; that’s the nuttiest strategy I ever heard in my life.



Also: “Clinton defended Lieberman’s Democratic credentials, mentioning how the senator has been endorsed by labor unions, environmental organizations and gay groups.”



As I’ve written before, I’m really neither pro-Lieberman nor anti-Lieberman. What matters to me, in purely partisan terms (and partisanship doesn’t matter to me purely), is that he’s a Democrat and that, along the way, he hasn’t been such a bad liberal. That doesn’t mean I support him, however. Let me quote myself:

Lieberman has done little to win over Democrats in recent years, and, as I mentioned, his cozying up to Bush (as if he’s some sort of Zell Miller lite, a tell-it-like-it-is maverick akin to John McCain, a quasi-Democrat who, rhetorically, rises above partisanship and places love of country before love of party — well, that’s how he wants to be seen, it seems, minus the Miller comparison, although cozying up to Bush, a shameless partisan, hardly amounts to rising above partisanship (it just enables it) and working for the national interest (it lets Bush define it) has been quite the revolting spectacle.



The Democratic Party, I would argue, should be big enough to accommodate Joe Lieberman (just like the Republican Party should be big enough to accommodate, say, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg). It should not be ideologically rigid. I’m sure that to many he would be a more acceptable Democrat if he represented a red state, where a liberal can’t win, rather than a blue state like Connecticut, where a liberal like Ned Lamont can win, but, Iraq aside — and that’s a huge aside, I know — has Lieberman really been that bad?



(That’s not just a rhetorical question. I still go back and forth on Lieberman and on what Democrats both in Connecticut and throughout the rest of the country should do with Democrats like him. I’m a big-tent Democrat, but just how big should the tent be? I reject efforts to enforce ideological purity within the Democratic Party, but at what point does diversity threaten to tear the party apart? At what point are Democratic values and principles, however we define them, compromised so much that they lose all meaning?)



**********



The Hartford Courant evaluates Lieberman here (read the whole thing). The verdict:

By the numbers, Joe Lieberman is a true, consistent Democrat.



He votes with Democratic colleagues almost all the time. His record gets him high marks from interest groups close to the party, from the AFL-CIO to the NAACP.



But dig beneath the votes and there’s plenty of ammunition for critics – including primary challenger Ned Lamont – who say Lieberman has a habit of straying from the party when it suits him.



And consider this (Iraq aside, once again): “The liberal Americans for Democratic Action found him voting its way 80 percent of the time last year. The NAACP gave him an 85 percent mark, the Children’s Defense Fund 89 percent, the AFL-CIO 92 percent. Overall, Lieberman voted with Democrats 90 percent of the time last year, close to Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd’s 94 percent, according to Congressional Quarterly’s study of key votes.”



Not too shabby.



But then there’s Iraq. And Alito. And Bush’s energy bill. And…

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Holly in Cincinnati

    Thank God for Bill Clinton!

    BTW I am doubtful that Lamont CAN win in Connecticut and, even if he did win, he would not have the experience or clout of Joe Lieberman.

  • Chris Bell

    I walked over to the registrar this morning to register my affiliation with the Democratic Party so that I could vote for Senator Lieberman in a few weeks.

    Anyone who thinks that one party is right all of the time is a fool who hasn’t learned to think for themselves.

  • Hillary has refused to campaign for Lieberman and announced she would support the Democratic winner of the primary.

    There has been some discussion of how Lieberman shapes his votes to undermine progressive bills but then votes liberally on the votes that organizations use to rank politicians.

    There is no way a Republican will take Lieberman’s seat. So the question is do we want Lieberman or Lamont. Lieberman has shown his respect for Democratic voters by preparing to run as an Independent and the negative, misleading, mud-slinging campaign he has run against Lamont.

  • Holly in Cincinnati

    If I lived in CT, I would vote for Joe Lieberman.

  • BrianOfAtlanta

    Leave it to Bill to call members of his own party idiots and make it sound nice.

  • SnarkyShark

    The Democratic Party, I would argue, should be big enough to accommodate Joe Lieberman (just like the Republican Party should be big enough to accommodate, say, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg). It should not be ideologically rigid. I’m sure that to many he would be a more acceptable Democrat if he represented a red state, where a liberal can’t win, rather than a blue state like Connecticut, where a liberal like Ned Lamont can win, but, Iraq aside — and that’s a huge aside, I know — has Lieberman really been that bad?

    Yes he has. He has undercut any attempt at Democratic unity at every turn. He stabbed Clinton in the back during the Republican witch trials. Even if the big dog can forgive him, I can’t.

    Look at his donor list. Its like a whos who of corperate malfeasance starting with Choicepoint.

    If you dont understand how bad Choicepoint is, then you need to take a page from the Holly playbook, and educate yuorself.

    Now Joe is playing the Anti-semite angle, which while probably playing well here, wont help him with the general public. I don’t care if the Republicans win CT, as long as holy Joe can’t claim the (d).

    Thsi ‘we have to cling to Joe’ moderate stance is maddening. You dont lke the current situation? You don’t like the stauts quo?

    Joe is the status quo. Vote for him, and get more spineless Democrats. That will be lovely. Not

  • jjc

    Chris Bell:

    Anyone who thinks that one party is right all of the time is a fool who hasn’t learned to think for themselves.

    It’s telling that you’re becoming a registered Democrat in order to vote for Lieberman. You and others like you might prevail over those already registered as Dems in the primary, or if not then, then in the general election.

    That’s democracy.

    But you might be surprised to learn that most of those supporting Lamont do not, in fact, think the Dems are right all the time, or that liberals are right all the time, or whatever it is you seem to think we think.

    Nor is it only about his hewing closely to the largely discredited neoconservative position on Iraq in particular and in the Middle East in general, although that is admittedly important.

    I think any Democrat who suggested that George W. Bush shouldn’t be criticized would have problems, certainly in any blue state, similar to Lieberman’s. Nor does his closeness to the likes of Bill Bennett help. Nor did his helpfully providing cover to Republicans who wanted to pursue Clinton’s impeachemnt.

    Remember the bankruptcy bill? Many Democrats wanted to filibuster that awful bit of legislation. Lieberman helped his voting record by voting against the bill, but only after voting for cloture so the bill could go to a vote, and certain passage, in the first place.

    In spite of it all, I’d vote for Joe if he won the Democratic primary, just as I supported Kerry in ’04 although he was about my fourth or fifth choice. Most of us who support Lamont would do the same.

  • Gopher Pinieiro

    I’m an Independent and my problem with Sen. Lieberman is this quote “It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.â€?
    I read that and my head just about exploded into microscopic pieces. If you know that the President has been incompetent in a few areas, you should continue to support him and not undermine him by criticizing him? So criticizing him will lead to undermining him which would then lead to our nation’s peril. I wonder how much thought he put into that, idiot.
    If I were voting in the primary that sentence right there would make me think twice before I vote for him.
    Other commenters here, what do you make of that quote?

  • Pyst

    That quote sums up my problem with Lieberman, he’s DC status quo personified. Owned by big business (DLC), and has a problem of not listening to the people he is supposed to represent, rather tells them what he thinks and expects them to agree, then becomes belligerent if they dare challenge him. I honestly want term limits after the debacle congress has proven itself to be this last 6 years. Lieberman isn’t owed his seat, he has to earn it every 6 years and he seems to have forgotten than.

  • Jim S

    Gopher beat me to it. That quote infuriates me.

  • Jimbo14420

    Anyone on here who says they are going to vote for Lamont is no moderate. There is no way Republicans and independents are going to vote for this guy in November. CT isn’t as blue as you think. The last they elected a Dem governor was in 1986. Three out of five congressmen are Republicans. No matter how you look at it, Lieberman wins.

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