Monday, November 17, 2008

The Case Against Joe Lieberman

It's Time for Joe to Go.

Tomorrow, 19 Senators Democratic Senators on the Steering and Outreach Committee vote to determine committee chairs. They need to hear from us to ensure that they relieve Joe Lieberman of his Homeland Security Chairmanship -- and not to give him another Committee chair.

Lieberman has not investigated one meaningful scandal in his role as chairman during the Bush Administration, and he is certain to cause problems for an Obama Administration.

The case against Joe is long. Here is a summary, courtesy of ThinkProgress:


lie_rnc21.jpgSaid progressive economic plans would bring about a depression: “Lieberman compared Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s economic plan to former president Herbert Hoover’s approach, which he said ‘turned a recession into a depression.’” [10/24/08]

Said progressive bloggers add “vituperation toxicity” to politics: Sitting next to Rep. John Boehner, Lieberman complained about “the kind of divisiveness of the cable news coverage of politics, talk radio.” He said “the bloggers have added another dimension of vituperation toxicity to it. The majority of people are sick of it.” [4/30/08]

Suggested that bloggers would have bashed Moses: Defending Pastor John Hagee, Lieberman said, “Dear friends, I can only imagine what the bloggers of today would have had to say about Moses and Miriam.” [7/22/08]

Said progressive candidates would cower to terrorism: In an interview with, Lieberman said, “I worry that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will have a hard time scampering back to assure people that they’re prepared to take on the Islamist extremists and [any] other nation that threatens our security.” [8/3/07]

lie_mc_obama.jpgSuggested that Obama could be a Marxist: When asked if Obama is “a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case,” Lieberman replied, “Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question.” [4/14/08]

Linked Obama’s policies to socialism: “There are ways I suppose you can make an argument that there are some similarities between what Sen. Obama is talking about (‘spreading the wealth’) and classic, what used to be known as socialist theory…[but] I’m not going to use the name calling,” Lieberman said. [10/23/08]

Praised radical right-wing radio hosts: “I’m real proud of you,” Lieberman told Glenn Beck. “You’re a good man,” he said to Hugh Hewitt. [11/04/08; 5/21/08]

Feared a 60-seat Democratic majority: Lieberman made clear that he firmly opposes Democrats gaining 60 seats in the Senate, saying that he “fears” for the survival of the U.S. if Democrats break the filibuster threshold. [11/04/08]

Criticized progressives for not using the term “Islamic Extremists”: Lieberman said, “They don’t use the term ‘Islamist extremism’ or ‘Islamist terrorism’ in the debates.” [8/3/07]


On Leading The Homeland Security Committee: ‘We Don’t Like Investigating.’

Lieberman on oversight duties: “We don’t like investigating”: Responding to criticism of his committee’s record, Lieberman said, “We like to do legislation,” Lieberman said. “We don’t like investigating … just to see who is at fault.” [7/15/08]

Held zero oversight hearings on Bush administration in 2007: Lieberman conducted zero “proactive investigations into Bush administration malfeasance” in 2007. [12/24/07]

Backed away from pre-election demands to investigate White House response to Katrina: Lieberman “quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans,” Newsweek reported. [1/12/07]

katrina.jpgSaid investigating Katrina was like “playing gotcha”: Lieberman said he was not interested in “looking back, and assigning blame would be a waste of Congress’ time.” Lieberman said he was reluctant to mount an investigation of the failures of the initial response, saying “We don’t want to play ‘gotcha’ anymore.” [1/30/07; 1/30/07]

Refused to investigate Blackwater shootout in Iraq: After Blackwater came under fire for allegedly killing several Iraqi civilians in September 2007, Lieberman refused to hold oversight hearings on the matter. “You’ve got to set your own priorities, and it was clear to me that other committees were going to pick this up,” said Lieberman. [10/10/07]

On Energy: Drill Baby, Drill.

Called for increased offshore drilling: Echoing the Bush administration’s line, Lieberman said offshore oil drilling is a “sensible” way to “to try to lower prices.” Offshore drilling “would have a downward affect on oil futures.” He said, “I now view this kind of drilling as a bridge to the next chapter of our energy history.” [7/25/08]

Flashback: In 2005, Lieberman said we can’t “drill our way” out of the problem: “The second reason was that drilling for oil in ANWR perpetuates a dangerous myth, which is that we can drill our way out of dependence on foreign oil. We cannot.” [12/19/05]

On Taxes: ‘I Think It’s Wrong To Raise Any Taxes Now.’

lie_mccain.jpgCited domestic priorities in supporting McCain: Lieberman claimed that the United States is going to “make progress on health care and the energy crisis and climate change” under a McCain administration. “John McCain is more ready to be president on foreign and domestic policy because of his extraordinary experience.” [6/29/08; 8/03/08]

Praised McCain’s pro-rich tax plan: “John McCain believes in tax cuts for business and individuals because when you’re in a recession, as we are, that’s one way to get us out of the hole,” he said. [10/6/08]

Said McCain’s tax plan and health care plan is “good for the middle class”:
“And in fact, you know, Senator Obama has really been spreading falsehoods about John regularly since then about his tax plans, about his health care plans, which are good for middle-class America,” he said. [10/6/08]

Criticized raising the capital gains tax: “Lieberman claimed that Obama would take a protectionist policy towards trade and raise capital gains taxes. Obama’s plan would hurt stocks and retirement plans even more, he said.” [10/24/08]

Opposed lifting the Bush tax cuts: “I think it’s wrong to raise any taxes now,” Lieberman said. [10/24/08]

On Health Care: Supported McCain’s Tax On Employer Health Care.

Defended McCain on health care. Lieberman declared that it is “not true” that the health care plan McCain put forward as a candidate for president will not do anything for those without health insurance. [8/03/08]

Opposed Requiring Access To Plan B For Rape Victims. Opposed requiring that publicly funded hospitals provide victims of rape with Plan B contraception, arguing that it just a “short ride” to get to another hospital. [3/13/06]

On Social Security: ‘Individual Control…Has To Happen.’

Defended McCain’s privatization plan: Lieberman falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “is not for the private accounts to take the place of social security.” “He’s for what Bill Clinton used to call Social Security plus,” said Lieberman. [3/30/08]

Hinted at support for “private accounts” in 2005. Although Lieberman said “it’s important Social Security remain what it is,” a social insurance program that “provides a floor of income,” he would not rule out personal accounts. Lieberman added, “if we can figure out a way to help people through private accounts or something else, great.” [1/05]

Said we eventually will have “individual control” of Social Security: In a May 4, 1998, interview, Lieberman said “it doesn’t make sense” not to broaden the Social Security portfolio, and added, “Same is true of this idea of privatizing.” “I think in the end that individual control of part of the retirement/Social Security funds has to happen,” he told the Copley News Service. [5/4/1998]

On Alberto Gonzales: He ‘Deserves Our Appreciation.’

bush_gon.jpg Voted to confirm Gonzales: Despite specifically referencing Gonzales’s failure to object to the Justice Department’s torture memos, Lieberman said of Gonzales, “I’m going to vote for Judge Gonzales and confirm his nomination, because nothing that I see in the record rises to a level high enough to overcome the presumption in favor of him as a nominee of the President.” [2/3/05]

Voted against a “no-confidence” resolution on Gonzales: Lieberman voted against a no-confidence resolution regarding Gonzales’s role in the U.S. Attorney scandal. [6/11/07]

Said Gonzales “deserves our appreciation”: Reacting to Gonzales’s resignation in the wake of the U.S. Attorney scandal, Lieberman remarked, “The Attorney General’s resignation removes a distraction from the important work of the Department of Justice,” but added, “As he leaves public service, the Attorney General deserves our appreciation for his work for our nation.” [8/27/07]

On The Christian-Right: Defended Pastor Hagee.

Lieberman defended radical pastor John Hagee: Last year, Pastor John Hagee stirred a controversy after referring to Catholicism as “The Great Whore.” When it was revealed that he also said that “Hitler was a hunter” sent by God to get “the Jewish people” to “come back to the land of Israel,” Lieberman defended Hagee, saying his comments were taken “out of context.” Lieberman spoke at Hagee’s Washington-Israel Summit in July and compared Hagee to Moses. Even McCain denounced Hagee’s comments. [7/29/08]

Campaigned Against Progressive Candidates.

lie_rnc.jpgSpoke at 2008 Republican National Convention: Lieberman spoke at the 2008 RNC, criticizing Obama for not being “willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party.” [9/2/08]

Penned op-ed for Norm Coleman during tough reelection race: In October 2008, Coleman came under fire for not adequately investigating reports of widespread abuses by Halliburton in Iraq. Lieberman wrote an op-ed, stating, “Any suggestion Sen. Coleman stymied Democrats’ investigations into Iraq-related matters is unfair and unfounded.” [10/13/08]

Gave at least $5000 to Sen. Susan Collins’ reelection: Lieberman donated $5,000 to the re-election campaign of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). “I’m going to support Sen. Collins’ re-election,” he said in April 2007. “This is without regard to who the Democratic nominee would be.” [4/13/07]


On Torture: ‘The Person Is In No Real Danger.’

Refused to say whether waterboarding constituted torture: “It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological,” Lieberman said of waterboarding. “You want to be able to use emergency tech to try to get the information out of that person.” [2/15/08]

Voted against banning waterboarding: [Senate Vote 22, 2/13/08]

Flashback: In 2006, Lieberman lauded “persistent, long-term questioning”: In 2006, Lieberman said that “the most effective way to get information from a suspect is persistent, long-term questioning. ‘If terrorists are tried and convicted of committing a terrorist act, they should be subject to the death penalty,’ he said.” [9/18/06]

On Terrorism: Fear-mongering With The Radical Right.

Lent His Name To Fear-mongering “Documentary” About Muslims And Terrorism: On the promotional site for a new right-wing “documentary” entitled, “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision For America,” Lieberman is pictured as a “major player.” In the film Lieberman warns, “It is definitely here…there is a danger of understating the problem of homegrown Islamist terrorism.” [10/10/08]

On Iran: Bomb Iran.

lie_iraq.jpgEscalated possibility of military confrontation with Iran: In Sept. 2007, Lieberman co-sponsored an amendment declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization at a time when analysts warned that “the growing US focus on confronting Iran in a proxy war inside Iraq risks triggering a direct conflict.” [9/15/08, 9/26/08]

Glorified bombing Iran: Lieberman once asserted that there is “an appeal” to bombing Iran. Iran “ought to believe that we’re going to hit those training camps,” Lieberman has said. [6/10/07, 5/14/08, 4/09/08]

Fearmongered by saying Iran will attack the U.S.: Lieberman declared that Iran represents an “existential threat” to Israel and that Arab countries in the Middle East are “next” because “they’re worried about the Iranian [nuclear] program and want us to ask strongly to stop it.” Lieberman concluded, “And we’re next! Because Ahmadinejad in Tehran constantly leads the mobs in shouts of death to America. And they mean it.” [7/06/08]

Worried that Obama will not use military force against Iran: When asked if Barack Obama had “the right stuff to bomb Iran if it came to that level.” Lieberman added, “Well, I worry about that. I worry that Sen. Obama’s world view is naive.” [10/07/08]

Expressed support for Bush if he strikes Iran: When asked, “if President Bush announced he felt compelled to take military action against Iran, would you support him,” Lieberman replied, “Yeah, of course I would.” [7/13/07]

On Syria: Bomb Syria?

Said victory in Iraq runs through Syria: In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last year, Lieberman wrote that the U.S. “road to victory” in Iraq goes through Damascus, and urges Congress to “send a clear and unambiguous message to the Syrian regime.” [8/20/07]

On Iraq: U.S. ‘Did The Right Thing.’

lie_iraq2.jpgClaimed the U.S. “did the right thing” in invading Iraq: Lieberman said, “I know mistakes were made in the way the administration advocated for the war with an almost exclusive emphasis on WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. But I think they did the right thing in overthrowing Saddam Hussein.” [8/3/07]

Claimed critics of the Iraq war were engaging in a “kind of harassment”: Lieberman said, “Some people are genuinely against the war. And I say to them if you are genuinely against the war, then you ought to be fighting to cut the funding off instead of entering into a kind of harassment that’s involved now.” [4/12/07]

Urged critics of the Iraq war to try to cut off funding, then criticized them for trying to cut off funding: “Some people are genuinely against the war. And I say to them if you are genuinely against the war, then you ought to be fighting to cut the funding off instead of entering into a kind of harassment that’s involved now.” [4/12/07]

During his RNC speech, Lieberman criticized Obama for voting against funding for the war: “[W]hen others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, when Barack Obama was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground, John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion and support the surge, and because of that, today, our troops are at last beginning to come home, not in failure, but in honor!” [9/2/08]

Claimed victory in Iraq was imminent: “This is the third time I have been in Iraq since last December. And last December, Al Qaeda was winning — it’s as simple as that — and we were losing. Today, Al Qaeda is on the run. We are winning.” [11/27/07]

“A strategy for victory”: I “can report real progress there… Progress is visible and practical. … Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.” [11/29/2005]

“A turning point”: “The last two weeks have been critically important and I believe may be seen as a turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.” [12/17/2005]

Claimed critics of Iraq war are invested in “retreat and defeat”: Lieberman claimed that for progressives, “the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn’t pacifism or isolationism, it is distrust and disdain of Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular.” And said progressive critics of the war are “invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq.” [11/8/08]

Linked Iraq to 9/11: Lieberman explained his resolution praising the supposed success of the troop surge in Iraq saying, “Senator Graham and I are introducing a resolution recognizing the strategic success that the surge has achieved in a central front — the central front of the war on terror against the enemies who attacked America on 9/11/01.” [7/31/08]

We need to speak up, Democrats and Liberal Independents. NOW!
Call Your Senators NOW

24 Moderated Comments:

Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Lieberman wasted his political capital among the Dems. Agree, he should go.

11/17/2008 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

I was connected to Barbara Boxer's office, whose voice-mail box was full.

11/17/2008 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Take the FireDogLake route to the Democratic Senators on the Steering and Outreach Committee. That should work!

11/17/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

And, before you click on the link above, prepare a list of up to 10 email addresses of friends, separated by commas, so that we can get this steamroller rolling!

11/17/2008 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Received the following email from Firedog Lake:

It's coming down to the line. The decision on whether or not Joe Lieberman will retain his committee chairmanship will be made this week by the 19 members of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee - one of whom is Senator Barbara Boxer.

In addition to signing the petition, I called her directly. California residents may reach Senator Boxer's voice mail at (202) 224-3553 and left a message that Lieberman must be removed before the next Congressional session.

You can reach Senator Reid at (866) 736-7343.

11/17/2008 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

Of course I strongly disagree. But I must commend you, vigilante, on a well written and well documented essay. Good work, beautifully prepared and formatted.

I will follow the results with great interest. I'd prefer to the the Democrat ideological tent larger, not smaller. Still, Lieberman did cross the line in his endorsement and campaign for McCain. Your essay documents that perfectly.

11/17/2008 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Vigil: Take a deep breath!! I agree. Lieberman is a traitor. He betrayed his party and his constituency and he needs to be stripped of him committee chairmanships.

11/17/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Soros, please try calling again. I got through! You can also email her directly.

11/17/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

This is a fabulous post. I joined, and will start calling.

11/17/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

How Lieberman could caucus with Democrats in the next congress and figure everything will be forgotten is ridiculous.

11/17/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Wizard, for the life of me, I cannot believe you can't bend your supple mind over this issue: it's not that Lieberman is being kicked out of the tent; it's just that he is not entitled any longer to sit at the head of the table. If deprival of Committee chairmanships means that the liar who promised he would accept the verdict of the 2006 Connecticut primary and promised the people of Connecticut that he would not bolt the Democratic caucus, leaves the caucus. so be it. The GOP will never accept him. He has no where to go.

And it's not about ideological plurality. There are RINOs, DINOs, MFSOBs. The man just cannot keep his word. You cannot leave someone like Lieberman in the Chair of an important committee. If this clubbish group of Democratic senators, voting behind the cloak of secrecy does so, I conclude the Progressive movement is dead - compromised into a bunch of Liberal cliques. I will not be surprised. You can't expect much from Liberals, life teaches.

11/17/2008 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Vigil - Absolutely awesome post! To say that you have all your ducks in a row is a gross understatement! I appreciate more than I can say the enormous expenditure of time and energy represented by the assemblage of Joe's words which you so painstakingly found and put together for our edification. Many sincere thanks for all that work!

I think the message to those "clubby" spineless individuals who call themselves Senators seems obvious: As parents, we teach our children that bad behavior has consequences. Need I say more?

11/17/2008 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

If the Democratic Party stands for anything other than being a money and electoral machine, there would be no question about Lieberman's fate.

11/17/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...


Debbie Stabenow, Michigan - Chair (202) 224-4822
Harry Reid, Nevada (202) 224-3542
John Kerry, Massachusetts (202) 224-2742
Daniel Inouye, Hawaii (202) 224-3934
Robert Byrd, West Virginia (202) 224-3954
Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts (202) 224-4543
Joe Biden, Delaware (202) 224-5042
Patrick Leahy, Vermont (202) 224-4242
Chris Dodd, Connecticut (202) 224-2823
Tom Harkin, Iowa (202) 224-3254
Max Baucus, Montana (202) 224-2651
Richard Durbin, Illinois (202) 224-2152
Kent Conrad, North Dakota (202) 224-2043
Carl Levin, Michigan (202) 224-6221
Herbert Kohl, Wisconsin (202) 224-5653
Barbara Boxer, California (202) 224-3553
Hillary Clinton, New York (202) 224-4451
Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico (202) 224-5521
Mark Pryor, Arkansas (202) 224-2353

11/18/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doc Demento said...

Beach, Vig, Em, Renegade:

If Joe keeps his chair, just call Obama's party the CLUBOCRATS.

11/18/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Joe Lieberman is a security risk:

Lieberman should lose his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee because it’s about to be 2009 and there is no reason to keep an anti-Muslim bigot who believes the United States is being subverted by Muslims from within in charge of a Committee that handles national security affairs. Lieberman participated in The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision For America, a movie which claims there is a vast conspiracy of American Muslims to subvert democracy… . These are the same people who gave us the shadowy anti-Muslim Obsession film that was distributed in newspapers in swing states during election season.

Put simply, you can’t have an anti-Muslim bigot in charge of Homeland Security when the country as a whole is dealing with the threat of Islamic extremism. The reason you can’t have a bigot in charge is that a bigot can’t tell the difference between normal Muslims and extremists. Lieberman is simply incapable of doing his job correctly. He is a security risk.

11/18/2008 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Bravo, Indicted Plagiarist! If you can't get through on the phone lines, here is a list of Senators' emails from the U.S. Senate.

I completely agree with Beach and, as usual, Vig. Lieberman will go whichever way the wind blows. That's not the kind of leadership we need.

11/18/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Stella, Joe is a security risk.

11/18/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jolly Roger said...

I figured that spineless "Stepnfetchit" Reid wouldn't want his old buddy punished, and I was right.

11/18/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

DAMN IT! Bad news Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut senator who was vilified by Democratic activists for his support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, escaped serious retribution from Democratic Senate colleagues today.

Lieberman will remain in the Democratic caucus and keep his chairmanship of the prestigious Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
"This was not a time for retribution," Reid said. "It was time for moving forward."

He certainly is a security risk, Vig. Keeping Lieberman is no way to effect change.

11/18/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

Stella -Keeping Joe Lieberman is place was EXACTLY THE CORRECT WAY to begin the change we all need.

A very warm tip of the Wizard's pointy cap to President Elect Obama who quitely signaled to the Senate that he wanted Lieberman to remain as the Homeland Security Chairman.

This move, along with many others (including the move to attempt to appoint Senator Clinton as Secretary of State) indcate to me we are about to have a very different kind of President.

I'm sorry you all cannot see this, but keeping Joe Lieberman was a very good move and a logical step to building Obama's new leeadership team.

11/18/2008 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Show me one Democrap Senator who voted for Bush's war from the start who failed to vote for Joe Lieberman. Show me one.

11/18/2008 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger MacDaddy said...

Vigilante: I started out hating Lieberman. Now it's spread to Sen. Reid and the democratic party in general. Where's the guts? The heart to make people pay for the character assassination of a good American, a good family man who loves this country, and our 44th president?

11/18/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Wizard, I'm with boris and macdaddy. I've disliked Reid and Pelosi quite some time because they lacked the courage to impeach Bush and Cheney.

Lieberman epitomizes the antithesis of every change we need to make. I am deeply concerned. Lieberman goes wherever the power flows: he always sucks up to the governing party.

No good can come of this decision nor keeping Reid in his position.

11/18/2008 08:07:00 PM  

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