Lieberman on Life Support; Lamont on Out-Of-Control Government

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Yesterday Michael Schiavo came here to Connecticut to campaign with Ned Lamont against Joe Lieberman, one of the senators who voted for legislation last year to keep Schiavo's wife Terri on life support so federal courts could decide her fate. (Remember when Bush flew to Washington in an emergency to sign this bill?)

"I don't think that Joe Lieberman should have gone on every single talk show saying that it's the responsibility of the federal government to make life-and-death decisions like that," Mr. Lamont said. "He not only voted for it, but he championed it."…

Mr. Lamont wove the Schiavo case into a broader narrative of out-of-control government, linking it to issues as diverse as abortion rights and law enforcement wiretapping.

He also reiterated that the Schiavo case had helped propel him into the Senate race and said it remained "central to his campaign."

"It just says an awful lot about where you want your government and where you don't want your government," he said.

Lieberman's response? It's time "for politicians to let Terri Schiavo rest in peace."

More here and here.

NEXT: McCain Helps Poor Joe Lieberman

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  1. That’s the thing about Joe: I don’t care so much that he votes the wrong way on these kinds of issues, but he doesn’t have to *champion* them….

  2. Wow. He said that? Part of me would like to admire this guy for sticking by his position on certain issue despite the political fall-out, but that statement alone warrants his early retirement…Of course he will have a second career on the conservative circuit (I liked this guy better when he was called Zel Miller).

  3. Ken: The problem with Joe isn’t that he won’t stick his neck out. It’s that the issues he chooses.

    It’s like the metaphorical lemming.(I understand they don’t really do this) You can’t fault the bravery of a lemming willing to jump over the cliff and plummet to his doom. It’s brave, yes. No fear of death there.

    It’s still bloody stupid and not something that other lemmings should be emulating.

    Joe’s idea of being “bipartisan” is to embody the worst aspects of [i]both parties[/i] and proclaim himself a statesmen for doing it.

  4. This is why I will probably never get the chance to vote for a libertarian–every time I get fed up and think “this election for sure,” one of the major parties goes and runs someone so utterly vile that I don’t dare run the risk of being the equivalent of a Bush-hating Nader voter in 2000.
    I’m voting for Lamont in hopes of getting Lieberman the hell out of here.

    To further illustrate what a political whore Lieberman is: he’s said that if we loses the Democratic primary to Lamont he’ll run as an independent. Not that that is inherently bad, but bear in mind this is coming from a man who supposedly believes that a Republican Senator would be a very, very bad thing for the people of Connecticut. But even so, Lieberman would rather see a Republican get the seat than a Democrat who isn’t Joe Lieberman.

    Asshole.

  5. EDIT: “we loses” = “he loses.”

  6. It’s time, we return Joe to his homewaters off the coast of Madagascar.

  7. Warren’s comment is insulting to honest coelekanths everywhere.

  8. (remember when Bush flew to Washington in an emergency to sign this bill?)

    I most certainly do, and that whole affair was a turning point for me, in which I began to realize that libertarian support for the contemporary GOP is simply indefensible. Last month I attempted to persuade the “neo-libertarians” at QandO of that in a guest post, titled Michael Schiavo’s Evolution into a Republican Kos Kid: Harbinger for Libertarians?

  9. I assumed that Joe wa awful simply on the basis fof his being a successful Deocratic politician, but I didn’t realize he was THAT awful.

  10. Warren’s comment is insulting to honest coelacanths everywhere.

    We agree. Please don’t think Joe Lieberman is representative of our species.

  11. arghh, I was all ready to defend my home waters, but one of my countrymen beat me too it.

    For the pedants – yes I know it’s spelled coelacanth. The “k” looks cooler.

  12. I didn’t know that there were so many of us here.

  13. I misspelled it in more ways than one. This is so embarrassing.

    Back on topic: Lieberman is another reason moving to Connecticut was possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

  14. Is “Hit and Run” evolving into a libertarian “Two Minute Hate” in which one of the editors blogs about someone, and then the commenters all jump in to declare how much they think that person is sub-human, wish he/she was dead, etc? Or has it always been like this, and I am just getting burnt out?

  15. Mitch,

    I will spend far more than a mere two minutes thinking Joe Lieberman is a vile asshat who should spend all eternity getting punched in the balls by a gorilla wearing a cement boxing glove.

  16. mitch,

    Replace “evolving” with “being intelligently designed” and I’m with you…

  17. I think l Lieberman’s fall from Leftist grace does tell us something about the nature of the Democratic Party these days.

    Back in 2004, Lieberman was supposed to balance the overly southern and rightist Al Gore with a little northeastern Leftism. Many Democrats credited him with saving Clinton’s presidency by giving his famous on the Lewinski affair. Since 2000, his voting record has been largely in accord with other northeast democratic Senators.

    I can only view the election from a far remove but it seems to me that the rebellion against Lieberman suggest a powerful Leftward lurch by a big segment of the Democrats. That doesn’t bode well for those of us who believe in divided government.

  18. But tell us, Franklin Harris, how you really feel.

  19. Back in 2004, Lieberman was supposed to balance the overly southern and rightist Al Gore with a little northeastern Leftism.

    You mean 2000, not 2004. More important: Lieberman was to the right of Al Gore in 2000. Conservatives didn’t complain that he was giving “a little northeastern Leftism” to the ticket; they complained that a politician who had previously supported conservative causes such as school vouchers was signing on to a ticket that explicitly rejected many of those same ideas.

    Unfortunately, most of Lieberman’s conservative tendencies don’t take the form of quasi-market initiatives like vouchers. They take the form of moral authoritarianism and a super-hawkish foreign policy. I’ll be glad to see him gone.

  20. Shannon Love writes: I can only view the election from a far remove but it seems to me that the rebellion against Lieberman suggest a powerful Leftward lurch by a big segment of the Democrats.

    I’d be deeply curious to know why you characterize this surge as “leftward”? You mean, like all those Democrats at Daily Kos and elsewhere who are big fans of the pro-life Harry Reid? (Really, what do you suppose causes such “leftwing” enthusiasm for Sen. Reid? And why are they appalled by the pro-choice Joe Lieberman?)

    Ms. Love, with all due respect, foreign policy realism — and lack of same is one of Joe Lieberman’s greatest political sins — is not properly denominated as being “left.” (See, e.g.,Bush 41’s National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft.) Neither are an adherence to reason and federalist principles that preclude pernicious national manias like the Schiavo affair.

    If Barry Goldwater were alive, he’d be apoplectic over what passes for the “right” these days. Would that render Barry a man of the left?

  21. I can only view the election from a far remove but it seems to me that the rebellion against Lieberman suggest a powerful Leftward lurch by a big segment of the Democrats. That doesn’t bode well for those of us who believe in divided government.

    Actually the ideological differences between Lamont and Lieberman are negligable, besides differing on the Iraq war. I’m not really a fan of either one of them, but I tend to view the opportunity to bitch-slap any politician who supported the war square into an alternate universe as a Very Good Thing Indeed, all other things considered.

  22. I didn’t know that there were so many of us here.

    Well, we do live solitary lives below depths of 100 meters in near total darkness. It’s only now, thanks to the internet, that we can really start social networking.

  23. Shannon Love,

    Back in 2004, Lieberman was supposed to balance the overly southern and rightist Al Gore with a little northeastern Leftism.

    Yes, Al Gore was so “Southern” and “rightist” that he lost his home state of Tennessee and (if I remember correctly) the entire South for that matter.

    I can only view the election from a far remove but it seems to me that the rebellion against Lieberman suggest a powerful Leftward lurch by a big segment of the Democrats. That doesn’t bode well for those of us who believe in divided government.

    It seems to me that the problem is that a lot of Democrats are sick of the war in Iraq.

  24. Warren’s comment is insulting to honest coelacanths everywhere.

    My apologies. Research has reviled that while coelakanths share several characteristics with the Senator, they are readily distinguished as “Their necks are a little tighter, and their teeth are sharper”.

  25. I prefer the murky depths of the sea to the harsh light of reality where creatures like Joe Lieberman roam at will.

  26. Mona,

    Great article.

  27. “I don’t think that Joe Lieberman should have gone on every single talk show saying that it’s the responsibility of the federal government to make life-and-death decisions like that,”

    The idiot seems to vote like he thinks it’s the responsibility of the federal government to make all manner of decisions for us. The big spending liberal war-hawk is just being consistent.

  28. Research has revealed that while coelakanths share several characteristics with the Senator, they are readily distinguished as “Their necks are a little tighter, and their teeth are sharper”.

    It should also be observed that although we are “mucilaginous,” meaning our skins exude mucus and foul oils, we do not secrete nearly as much of those substances as Senator Lieberman does.

  29. “skins exude mucus and foul oils”

    Are we talkin’ “Santorum” here?

  30. Are we talkin’ “Santorum” here?

    Actually, according to Wikipedia the oil has laxative properties that make us inedible if not prepared correctly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelacanth

    So, yes, in a manner of speaking, santorum is accurate.

  31. “Back in 2004, Lieberman was supposed to balance the overly southern and rightist Al Gore with a little northeastern Leftism.”

    Er, no. Lieberman was supposed to “balance” Bill Clinton’s Vice President with a little religious moralism.

    “Many Democrats credited him with saving Clinton’s presidency by giving his famous on the Lewinski affair.”

    Er, no. Virtually all Democrats consider Lieberman to haved stabbed Clinton in the back, and given the Republicans cover for their phoney witch hunt.

    “Since 2000, his voting record has been largely in accord with other northeast democratic Senators.”

    Er, no. He has sided with the Republicans on virtually every high profile national issue that matters to Democrats, from the war to the bankruptcy bill.

  32. There is a series of radio ads here in Connecticut where a George Bush sound-alike says various things in favor of the Iraq War, warrantless wiretaps, “now is the time to support the administration” and other such crap. The first time I heard such an ad I thought “Hmm, I remember W. saying that a little differently,” but of course the ad’s denouement is that it was Lieberman, not Bush, who made such comments.

  33. joe, Jennifer and Mona,

    I will defer to your greater regional expertise on Liebermans recent record but there are many sources who don’t think Lieberman is very conservative. From National Republic Online Jan 06:[Free Subscription Required]

    But, according to conventional indices, Lieberman is not a conservative. His lifetime rating from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is 76, six points higher than the man MoveOn and Kos have encouraged to enter the race, former Senator Lowell Weicker. In August 2003 (before turning against Lieberman), Kos himself reviewed Lieberman’s ADA and American Conservative Union ratings and called the charge that he was a closet Republican “b.s.” So why do so many liberals think Lieberman is a conservative? The obvious answer is his steadfast support for the Iraq war. For many liberals, ADA-style vote tabulations are irrelevant; Iraq is the crucible of our age.

    The article goes on to say that Liberman’s record on the war is very similar to John Kerry’s. (On the sole issue of the war I would say the democrats are currently divided between those who don’t care if Iraq becomes another Cambodia and those that do. It certainly will not bode well if the Cambodian-outcome faction wins.But that is tangential. )

    I think that most of the electorate will interpret a Lamont win as an indication of the strengthening of the far-Left in the democratic party, The media seems have already adopted this narrative. I think it will hurt the party as a whole. The narrative won’t be “American people turn against the war” but “extremist take over Democratic party.” It will make it easier for Republicans to portray democrats as comfortable with anti-americanism, soft on terror and crime, etc.

  34. I think that most of the electorate will interpret a Lamont win as an indication of the strengthening of the far-Left in the democratic party

    From what I know, he’s only far-left if you view the likes of Lieberman as moderate left. Lieberman combines the absolute worst of both parties: the Republican fondness for stealing freedom in the name of God And Country combined with the Democratic fondness for stealing freedom For The Children; he thinks government’s job is to preserve your physical and moral health regardless of what you personally think; and I’m sure he views politics as a lucrative career rather than a form of service.

    I held my nose and voted for Gore/Lieberman, but even then I truly despised the way Lieberman simultaneously ran for Veep AND Connecticut Senator. Fuck what he thinks is best for the country; the important thing is, Joe Lieberman will still have a job come November!

  35. Jennifer,

    From what I know, he’s only far-left if you view the likes of Lieberman as moderate left.

    Nationally, the race is being portrayed as a test of strength by the far-Left of the Democrats. That will be all voters in the states outside of New England hear of the election. Most consider Lieberman a centrist and his opponent significantly further to the Left. Whether this is true in the absolute sense is largely irrelevant.

    A Lamont victory will be trumpeted as a success for the Kos crowd by both themselves and the Republicans. Outside of few deep blue zones, I don’t think that will play well.

  36. Shannon – in the “Marching to Jail” thread, I posted a response to what you and thoreau were debating…I’d love to hear your response, if you get a chance.

  37. Shannon Love writes: Nationally, the race is being portrayed as a test of strength by the far-Left of the Democrats. That will be all voters in the states outside of New England hear of the election. Most consider Lieberman a centrist and his opponent significantly further to the Left. Whether this is true in the absolute sense is largely irrelevant.

    With that I vehemently beg to differ; little could be more relevant. Oh, to be sure, the Bush GOP and Fox News, as well as the pro-Bush blogosphere are going to rant about the radical leftists at Kos & etc…as they have been doing for quite some time. Ominous references to “far left extremists” will continue to abound.

    But thinking people, people who don’t passively accept anyone’s spin, know better. Ned Lamon is too liberal for my tastes, which makes him like almost all other Democrats; a Hayekian libertarian such as myself is going to have issues with a Ned Lamont. But this notion that he and any other candidate Kos and others support is “far left” is actually absurd. I mean, I’ve read multiple reviews of Kos’s book, and am given to understand he is highly critical of opposing Democrats based on a few issues, such as abortion. That has upset a few feminists, but it is the political strategy he is peddling. What he is not peddling is that the Democratic Party should run on a promise to install a command economy and other Marxist notions, or anything remotely similar. The whole “far left” canard is thought-stopping, right-wing BS. (I don’t think Michael Schiavo went from being a Republican to being a Maoist when he dumped the GOP and began a diary at Kos; he is anti-statist.)

    Further, it would be one thing if the alternative to the Democrats was a modern day Goldwater. But to understate, t’aint so. Not even kinda. Bush/Frist and much of the current GOP are authoritarian, big govt populists, and I’m not haivng it. Nor, I suspect, are a sufficient slew of my fellow citizens, no matter what misdirection and nonsense NRO, Townhall.com & the like try to convince us is true about the Democrats.

    And I find it fascinating that you invoke the spectre of Cambodia vis-a-vis Iraq. The Republicans have controlled all branches of govt during the years leading up to and during the prosecution of that war. If people see an ominous threat of a Cambodia-like outcome, let us blame those who got us into this debacle. Such far-left nutjobs as Brent Scowcroft, of course, warned that that was the likely result of this adventure, and I’m prepared to believe he has never even heard of Daily Kos.

  38. Amen, Mona!

  39. Very interesting, Mona.

  40. Mona,

    I wish I shared your confidence that a Lamont victory will mean nothing more than the defeat of one mediocre politician. However, I think history suggest that local elections of supposed national import get spun by all sides into a narrative largely unrelated to the actual facts of the election. I think the danger here is that both those democrats who support Lamont, typified by Kos and the Republicans both support the same basic narrative i.e. Lieberman is centrist politician facing defeat by the concentrated effort of the far-Left (comprising say the 25% of the party). The shared narrative will become “Centrist can’t win in the Democrat party because their most dedicated/extreme members now control the party.”

    The American electorate does not like extremist. Most voters, especially the critical swing voters in the middle, like centrist. Its only the party faithful on each side who dislikes them. Swing voters think of themselves as centrist. I fear many swing voters will interpret a Lamont victory as hostility to centrist and therefor become less likely to vote Democrat in general perpetuating the Republican’s broad control.

    If people see an ominous threat of a Cambodia-like outcome, let us blame those who got us into this debacle.

    Well, I think we have to make decisions based on the facts on the ground and not on fantasy games based on “if only X had never happened.” The megademocide of Cambodia happened because the American Left cut off all support for anti-communist forces in 1973 whereas the China continued to pour in resources. Until that time, anti-communist Cambodians had kept the communist at bay. It is a carefully constructed fantasy that the Free World’s attempts to stave of Communism actually created the horrors of the 70-80’s in Indochina. The killing resulted from a Communist victory, period. Communist commit democides virtually as a matter of course. If the Communist had been allowed a free hand to take over the Indochina in the 40’s the democide would have occurred in the 50’s and there is a good chance that the area would today look like North Korea.

    People might like to fantasize that they have no moral responsibility for any decisions they make regarding Iraq because they opposed the liberation but I think that is childish. History has happened and we must accept that. If you advocate a particular policy decision right now and it gets implemented and the results are devastating, that is your responsibility.

  41. Shannon Love writes: The killing resulted from a Communist victory, period. Communist commit democides virtually as a matter of course. If the Communist had been allowed a free hand to take over the Indochina in the 40’s the democide would have occurred in the 50’s and there is a good chance that the area would today look like North Korea.

    You are preaching to the choir on that score; I have a well-deserved reputation for being fanatically anti-Communist, whether those thugs were foreign or domestic. One of the main proponents of “the U.S. war efforts caused Cambodia,” William Shawcross, has essentially repudiated the popular book he wrote in ’79 making that pernicious “case.”

    But the Lamont/Lieberman race isn’t about creating a Cambodia. The pottery barn rule surely applies; we broke it, we can’t refuse to pay for it. But that does not mean the people who got us into the mess should ever be paid heed again on any matter remotely touching and concerning foreign policy. What we should do now is a very hard question, but the last people I’d ask to make that decision are the neocons at The Weekly Standard (who think we should be bombing Iran and Syria yesterday) or the Bush GOP. If our staying there would only continue to escalate the sectarian violence, we should leave. But that might be the wrong decision; I’m not competent to make such an assessment, but I am competent to determine who has forfeited their credibility.

    This isn’t Vietnam, just as it isn’t Munich in ’38. And we should not be laying either of those templates over every decision related to the Middle East — that would the childish and unsophisticated way to analyze affairs. Choosing our elected representatives as if it were otherwise — shrilly ranting about largely non-existent “far left” Democrats — or listening to those who have been so thoroughly wrong about all the important things so far, would be folly.

    Avoiding that folly — not an interest in far left agendas — is what the Lamont primary challenge is about.

  42. Mona,

    The “far-Left” of the democrats are nothing like the far-Left of the world wide Left. I am not accusing them of being communist or anything but they are the people one associates with certain policies that most Americans do not like just as most Americans do not like the 20% most extreme side of the Republicans.

    From what I have read of Lamont’s stand on the war I would qualify him as both far-Left and an idiot who will grant victory to the Facsist and get lots of Iraqi killed. He is supported by the same faction that 30 years ago, engineered the outright betrayal of Indochina. These people simply have a view of foreign policy so over intellectualized and divorced from reality that when they get the power to act they create train wrecks. This segment of the American Left ran riot in 70’s and they did enormous damage. I don’t want to see that again and I suspect it won’t play in peoria either.

    My main concern, however, is for divided government. Voters, especially swing voters don’t like extremist and even if Lieberman is a creep and Lamont represents a breath of fresh air, the narrative has already been written. Lieberman is the sober centrist and Lamont the wild eyed radical. Everyone and I do mean everyone with access to the megaphone will interpret a Lamont victory as an indication that sober centrist are no longer welcome in the Democratic party.

    In other words, I have zero confidence in the ability of the media, the talking heads, the politicians or even the blogsphere to accurately convey the true conditions and ramifications of the election.

  43. These people simply have a view of foreign policy so over intellectualized and divorced from reality that when they get the power to act they create train wrecks.

    Holy shit, you mean he’s a neocon?

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