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Thread: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Cool Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 - Five years after running as the vice-presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket and a year after his own presidential bid, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut has become an increasingly unwelcome figure within his party, with some Democrats seeing him more as a wayward son than a favorite son.

    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.

    Much of the open criticism has been from liberal groups and House members. But his comments have also rankled Democrats in the Senate. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader, phoned Mr. Lieberman this week to express concerns with his views, Mr. Reid's aide said.

    "Senator Reid has a lot of respect for Senator Lieberman," said Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman. "But he feels that Senator Lieberman's position on Iraq is at odds with many Americans."

    An aide to another leading Democratic senator who insisted on anonymity said the feelings toward Mr. Lieberman could be summed up as, "The American people want to hold George Bush accountable for the failed policy in Iraq, and Senator Lieberman doesn't."

    Mr. Lieberman, who remains immensely popular in his home state, is aware of the hornet's nest he has stirred.

    "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."

    Although some Democrats are upset with Mr. Lieberman, Republicans are embracing him, with President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld singling him out, and his support for the war, for praise in speeches this week.

    "He is entirely correct," Mr. Cheney said on Tuesday at Fort Drum, N.Y. "On this, both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree. The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission."

    Concerns about Mr. Lieberman's coziness with the administration grew this week when he had breakfast with Mr. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon. Later, rumors spread that Mr. Bush was considering asking Mr. Lieberman to join the administration to succeed Mr. Rumsfeld next year as defense secretary.

    "It's a total fantasy," Mr. Lieberman said. "There's just no truth to it."

    In the interview on Friday, he said the two sides were making too much of his comments, and he argued that the overreactions reflected how politically polarized the debate over the war had become.

    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."

    He has always been something of a maverick in his party. He was the first prominent Democrat to chastise President Bill Clinton openly for his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky.

    More recently, Mr. Lieberman, a centrist, angered Democratic activists by expressing a willingness to work with President Bush to overhaul Social Security, an effort that ultimately stalled in Congress.

    Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, said the breach was deep.

    "I completely disagree with Mr. Lieberman," Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference. "I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course of action that our country is on is not making the American people safer."

    The question in some quarters now is whether the moderate brand of politics practiced by Mr. Lieberman, who is up for re-election next year, will hurt him when the electorate is so divided, particularly over some of the president's policies.

    This week, for example, former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. criticized his continued support of the Iraq war and said that if no candidate challenged the senator on it next year, he would consider running.

    In 1988, Mr. Lieberman, who was attorney general of Connecticut, narrowly defeated Mr. Weicker, a Republican senator. Two years later, Mr. Weicker ran for governor as an independent and won. He served one term before retiring in 1995.

    Mr. Weicker remains something of a fixture in state politics, well known for his independent streak. In 1999, Reform Party supporters encouraged him to run for president in 2000, but he ultimately decided against that.

    Mr. Lieberman faces trouble in other quarters in his home state. Although few elected Democrats would criticize him publicly, several Democratic activists promised retaliation at the polls.

    James H. Dean, brother of Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, lives in Connecticut and heads Democracy for America, a group that is gathering signatures on the Internet for a letter that criticizes the senator.

    An aide to James Dean said he and others from the group would deliver the letter to Mr. Lieberman's office in Hartford on Tuesday. The aide said the letter had 30,000 signatures.

    Other Democratic activists warned that they might try to organize a primary challenge against Mr. Lieberman, specifically because of his position on the war.

    Tom Matzzie, the Washington director for MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group with 10,000 members in Connecticut, said it would consider a challenge if the right candidate came along.

    "It's like a betrayal," Mr. Matzzie said of Mr. Lieberman's stand on the war. "He is cheering the Bush Iraq policy at a time when Republicans are running away from the president."

    But for all the criticism that Mr. Lieberman faces, few people say they believe that he is vulnerable to a challenge.

    For his part, Mr. Lieberman said he would run hard on his record.

    "I'm not taking anything for granted," he said. "I know there are a lot of people in the party who disagree with me about the war."
    Seriously.. just jump ship and get it over with, just make sure to keep your head buried in the sand and you'll fit right in.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    Lieberman Wins Republican Friends, Democratic Enemies With Support for War

    By Shailagh Murray
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, December 10, 2005; Page A01

    Five years ago, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman was one of President Bush's arch political rivals. Now many in his party complain that he sounds more like Bush's running mate.

    The Connecticut Democrat's strong public defense of Bush's handling of the Iraq war has provided the White House with an invaluable rejoinder to intensifying criticism from other Democrats. In public statements and a newspaper column, Lieberman has argued that Bush has a strategy for victory in Iraq, has dismissed calls for the president to set a timetable for troop withdrawal, and has warned that it would be a "colossal mistake" for the Democratic leadership to "lose its will" at this critical point in the war.

    Lieberman's contrarian behavior is not out of character -- he is far more hawkish than the majority of Democrats, and he has vigorously backed invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein from the beginning. But the latest defense of Bush and his stinging salvos at some in his own party have infuriated Democrats, who say he is undercutting their effort to forge a consensus on the war and draw clear distinctions with Republicans before the 2006 elections.

    Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is troubled by Lieberman's comments, Reid's aides said. "I've talked to Senator Lieberman, and unfortunately he is at a different place on Iraq than the majority of the American people," Reid said yesterday.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters this week that "I completely disagree" with Lieberman. She added: "I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course of action that our country is on is not making the American people safer, making our military stronger and making the region more stable."

    Liberal political groups, including Democracy for America and MoveOn.org, are considering ways to retaliate, including backing a challenge to Lieberman in next year's Democratic primary. Former senator and Connecticut governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr., an opponent of the war, has vowed to run as an independent, absent a strong Democratic or Republican challenge to Lieberman.

    The administration, on the other hand, can't stop gushing over Lieberman. Vice President Cheney called him "a fine U.S. senator," and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman contrasted him with his "retreat and defeat" Democratic colleagues. White House spokesman Scott McClellan cited Lieberman, the Democrats' 2000 vice presidential nominee, as an exception in a party otherwise "trying to score political points off the situation."

    There have even been rumors that Lieberman is being considered as a replacement for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, if the embattled Pentagon boss retires. Lieberman dismisses the speculation as a "Washington fantasy." But he caused tongues to wag when he had breakfast with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Thursday.

    Lieberman shrugs off the criticism by fellow Democrats and seems perfectly comfortable with the compliments he has received from Republicans about his views on Iraq. "They're not misquoting me," he said in an interview this week. "I've had this position for a long time -- that we need to finish the job."

    But Lieberman, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, acknowledged that his words in support of the administration's war policy carry a different weight. "Somehow it gets more notice when it's coming from a member of the other party," he said.

    Lieberman, 63, a former Connecticut attorney general, has long been admired within his party for his independence of thought and his civility, although he is more conservative than most Democrats on cultural issues and foreign policy. He played a leading role in helping pass the Persian Gulf War resolution in January 1991, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, and he called for a "final victory" over Hussein.

    After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Lieberman strongly backed Bush's call for a war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Later that year, he was one of 10 lawmakers who signed a letter urging Bush to target Iraq next.

    Lieberman reached the peak of his popularity as Al Gore's running mate in 2000. But his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 flopped, in part because he was out of step with most party politicians on the war.

    The latest flap began after Lieberman traveled to Iraq last month. He returned to write a Nov. 29 Wall Street Journal column in which he contradicted a core Democratic criticism -- that the administration has no strategy for victory in Iraq. "Yes, we do," Lieberman wrote, brushing aside calls from Democrats and some Republicans for Bush to set a timetable for bringing troops home.

    "What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory," Lieberman wrote. Bush repeated the statement in a speech meant to bolster sagging public support for the war.

    Then, at a Tuesday news conference on Iraq, Lieberman gave his party a tongue-lashing for pressing Bush too forcefully.

    "History will judge us harshly if we do not stretch across the divide of distrust to join together to complete our mission successfully in Iraq," Lieberman said. "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."

    Many Democrats were appalled by Lieberman's comments, although few were willing to reprimand him publicly.

    "Senator Lieberman is past the point of being taken seriously in the caucus because everything he does is seen as advancing his own self-interest, instead of the Democratic interest," said a senior Senate Democratic aide, who described discontent in that chamber as "widespread."

    The liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org is weighing whether to back a challenger to Lieberman. MoveOn Washington director Tom Matzzie called Weicker "a very attractive candidate" but added that "the easiest way to take out Joe Lieberman would be in a Democratic primary."

    Weicker was a Republican when Lieberman ousted him from the Senate in 1988. Weicker is facing some pressure to enter the race as a Democrat but says he is not much happier with that party on Iraq.

    "The Democratic silence has been deafening on this for the past two years," Weicker said in an interview. "I have no more respect for them." But if Lieberman doesn't begin to distance himself from Bush's war policies, he said, "that's it -- we go to the mat."

    Lieberman said the backlash against him deepens a concern that he has harbored for much of his political career: the lack of civility in Washington. In war matters in particular, he said, "politics should stop at the water's edge."
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. He's a sanctimonious prick who's more conservative than moderate repugs. This is great news as far as I'm concerned.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    About time he stops embrassing us real Democrats. Now if only Zell Miller will go a join the Repug party and get on their nerves then life will better.

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    Bronze Member Tsarina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    he's not going. and he's lberal on most every other issue BUT the war.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    Bu Bye....

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faux-Democrat Lieberman about ready to jump ship to GOP

    Lieberman has generally given me the impression that he would be on any side that got him elected. If he thought the Charles Manson ticket was the one that could win, he would run as Charlie's vice president. l
    Keep passing the open windows.

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