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Dump Joe?

In case you're interested. For my money, a pro-torture, anti-Social Security Senator is not a vital member of the Democratic caucus, notwithstanding the fact that he really is quite good on environmental issues and several other things.

February 25, 2005 | Permalink

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At a time of such increased polarization, what we need are some people who are actually willing to talk (and, more importantly, listen) to people on the other side. I know that sometimes the other side seems far to wacked-out to justify listening to ... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 26, 2005 11:53:02 AM

Comments

Good idea. Drive all the "apostates" out of the Democratic party. Purify yourselves. Then you can start the Kool Aid drills.

Posted by: Deuces Tecum | Feb 25, 2005 3:45:47 PM

Joe Liebermann was torpedoed the bill to tighten accounting in the 90s, a disastrous VP candidate in 2000, an unappealing nag on popular culture, and a massive enabler since the day Bush got in the White House.

And he repeatedly sells out his party. He's the new Zell Miller - and the Democrats should think seriously of just kicking him out of the caucus if he caves on Social Security.

A party needs to stand for something.

Posted by: Samuel Knight | Feb 25, 2005 3:45:47 PM

Joe Lieberman is a Republican. The heck with the guy who cost Al Gore the election and did nothing for John Kerry.

Posted by: Ari | Feb 25, 2005 3:54:18 PM

Good idea. Drive all the "apostates" out of the Democratic party. Purify yourselves. Then you can start the Kool Aid drills.

He is a waste of a Senate seat. He replaced a Republican that was a good deal to his left.

Posted by: Ed Marshall | Feb 25, 2005 4:01:19 PM

Just hope he doesn't wait to jump until you have a 50-50 Senate. :)

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw | Feb 25, 2005 4:01:30 PM

Again, I think it's worth noting that the problem isn't just that Lieberman is a moderate--which Democrats certainly need--or even that he's a blue state moderate. His policy positions aren't great for a senator from CT, but they're tolerable. The problem is that he's constantly working against the political interests of the Democratic Party. There's no reason whatsoever to tolerate a blue state moderate *who actively undermines his party every chance he gets.*

Posted by: Scott Lemieux | Feb 25, 2005 4:04:43 PM

Well, we now have the answer to a question that was asked about choice.

We can, under certain circumstances, support someone who supports criminalizing abortion in the Democratic Party.

We have found a line though: vote to privatize social security, and you are history.

The Democratic party has a litmus test, finally.

Not only that, the litmus test is one that is actually important and factually correct.

Thank God.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff | Feb 25, 2005 4:06:03 PM

The heck with the guy who cost Al Gore the election

I'm almost afraid to ask, but how did Lieberman cost Al Gore the election?

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Feb 25, 2005 4:10:25 PM

Trade him for Specter. Or Whitman. Lieberman's '04 campaign was basically the best argument for a Democratic 11th Commandment like the Republicans have.

OT, does Zell Miller actually still attend Democratic events? How cold a shoulder does he get?

Posted by: Adam M | Feb 25, 2005 4:10:38 PM

I'll be damned if I can understand why liberal Democrats are so mad at Joe Lieberman. From my perspective, as a conservative Jewish constituent of Lieberman, he talks the talk of a centrist but votes the straight Democratic party line. Isn't he going to support the Democratic filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominees? So what are you complaining about?

And how can anyone say Sen. Lieberman cost Al Gore the 2000 election? It's more accurate to say he almost won it for Gore. Without Lieberman on the ticket, Gore would not even have been close in Florida.

How Democrats think they can become a majority party again by driving out Sen. Lieberman is beyond me.

Look - Sen. McCain drives conservative Republicans crazy. He takes public positions and casts votes with a view to getting maximum publicity for himself, regardless of the detrimental effect on the party or on President Bush. And that's why he'll never, ever get the Republican presidential nomination. But there's no one in the party saying he should be driven out. Ditto for Hagel, Specter, Snow and the other leftish Republicans. We try to find the common ground where possible.

You folks ought to remember what President Reagan used to recite as the First Commandment of the Republican Party: Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans. If Dean were smart, he adopt a rule like that for the Democratic Party and make it stick.

Posted by: DBL | Feb 25, 2005 4:18:59 PM

But there's no one in the party saying he should be driven out. Ditto for Hagel, Specter, Snow and the other leftish Republicans.

Didja miss (e.g.) the Club for Growth putting up a primary challenger against Specter?

And is the sky a pretty color where you live?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Feb 25, 2005 4:21:17 PM

Bring out the Kool Aid. They're ready. As soon as the party is purged of duplicitious Zionist closet Republicans like Lieberman. We shall have our litmus tests. We shall have our incontrovertible and correct principles. And when we are a lean, mean political machine we shall wake up the American people and triumph.

Posted by: Deuces Tecum | Feb 25, 2005 4:26:00 PM

It is worth noting that Specter and Lieberman are arguably the two most hated politicians among the members of their respective parties, and both are members of The Tribe.

Posted by: Adam M | Feb 25, 2005 4:26:46 PM

Lizardbreath - Maybe you missed President Bush and Sen. Santorum supporting Sen. Specter in his primary race.

In any event, Specter has cast far more votes against the Republican Party than Lieberman has against the Democratic Party. Forget the rhetoric. Just look at the votes. Lieberman is a loyal Democrat.

Posted by: DBL | Feb 25, 2005 4:31:21 PM

From my perspective, as a conservative Jewish constituent of Lieberman, he talks the talk of a centrist but votes the straight Democratic party line.

Well, your skewed perspective explains why you have trouble understanding what the problem is. For my money, Lieberman's voting record is more or less fine with me. Most senators have voting on something or another I disagree with, and Lieberman is better than most in that regard. However, it is Lieberman's political instincts which are nil and do more damage to the Democratic party than, say, keeping his mouth shut would be.

Look, honestly, I don't mind if Joe Lieberman votes to prevent better accounting practices than I would like. I disagree, but plenty of other Senators feel the same way. The problem is Lieberman's sanctimonious closeness with Sean Hannity and George W Bush, people who would just as soon wipe out the Democratic party. It's his failure to realize that Democrats want someone who's proud to be a Democrat, even if their votes aren't what every single Democrat agrees with. It's one thing to vote your conscience. It's another thing to talk up how great the Republicans are simply because you conscience happens to line up with their partisan agenda. The Social Security fiasco is a case in point, here.

Josh Marshall had a good writeup explaining how even those positively predisposed to Lieberman find him hard to take.

Posted by: Constantine | Feb 25, 2005 4:33:39 PM

Gee thanks, Republicans, for the helpful advice on political strategy, but I think I'll pass.

I'm not really a Lieberman-hata (nor for that matter is Josh Marshall), and am willing to cut him slack on a number of issues where I disagree with him. Often Lieberman seems to cast himself as a populist/communitarian, a cultural conservative interested both in expanding the public sphere and in making it more directly accountable to the community.

The trouble is, helping the President phase-out Social Security doesn't fit that picture. Lieberman allied with Falwell (or at least Billy Graham), I get, but Lieberman allied with Norquist, I don't get.

It's really no better if Lieberman really believes that Bush is in earnest about "saving" Social Security; in that case, he is economically innumerate and politically as blind as it is possible to be.

Posted by: ktheintz | Feb 25, 2005 4:36:26 PM

I would be fine with Lieberman if he just stopped talking and serving as a useful idiot all the time.

Posted by: praktike | Feb 25, 2005 4:37:25 PM

If center-right Democrats such as Lieberman would defect en masse to the GOP, the main beneficiary would be GOP moderates. This isn't necessarily bad. It would be very good if it triggered a party split, and a mixed bag if it shifted the GOP closer to the center--they'd be less reprehensible, but unfortunately more electable.

I'd just as soon keep Joe as a seat warmer. Heck, even Zell Miller did a good job being part of the Democratic headcount even if by every other measure was really a very conservative Republican too stubborn to part with the old party alignments.

Posted by: Paul Callahan | Feb 25, 2005 4:39:03 PM

Would that be Chuck Hagel, R-France?

Lieberman's sick tango with Social Security privitization is nothing more than a slap, make that a punch, to the face of every Democrat who stood up for his right to be every Republican's favorite Democrat. It is a sell-out move on behalf of his own bizzare sense of personal vanity.

It's not like he's bucking the party to vote for good policy. Privitization, as proposed by this White House and its friends in Congress, sucks. You have Republicans running away from it, for godsakes, and this time it looks like at least some of them mean it. There are Democratic Senators from the reddest states, up for re-election in 06 who are fighting back on this. Democrats from districts that went for Bush by over 10 points doing the same. This is a fight the Democrats have sought because they knew they could win it. It's an oppertunity to get off the mat and bloody this administrations nose for the first time in 5 years.

I don't care that it will still be a hard sell even with Joementum's support. Making cooing sounds and a kissy face over Social Security is nothing more than an abrogation of every other liberal vote Lieberman has ever made. It's a declaration that when the chips are down, he can't be trusted, at all, by the party that sent him to power, that elected him to the Vice Presidency, by the people who worked on his primary campaign, and by every other Democrat who ever defended him (including people on the left, like Kos).

Lieberman has proved himself to be nothing more than an early entrant in the Useful Idiot of the Century contest, but he took more than a few other people with him.

Posted by: SamAm | Feb 25, 2005 4:41:24 PM

I'm reminded - I don't know why- of the scene in Casino where the mobsters are sitting around the table, and they ask about one guy who's connected to their Casino skimming operation...

What about X?

"He's always been a good earner," says one...

"Stand-up guy" says another...

"Been in the business for 30 years" says still another...

Finally it gets to Remo Gaggi,who says,"Look, Why take a chance? At least that's the way I feel about it."

In the next scene the person in question is whacked...

Yeah, it's time for Liberman to go; he should be persuaded to retire.

Posted by: mumon | Feb 25, 2005 4:46:55 PM

So, I guess you're not going to try the "big tent" strategy but instead are going to narrow the focus further to the left. Why would you want to do that when it's been such a disaster for you so far?

Posted by: Dave S. | Feb 25, 2005 4:51:55 PM

I'll be damned if I can understand why liberal Democrats are so mad at Joe Lieberman. From my perspective, as a conservative Jewish constituent of Lieberman, he talks the talk of a centrist but votes the straight Democratic party line.

Yes, he undermines the grassroots support for the party's ideals by shilling for the right, helps the right wing move the dialogue to the right, and then votes with whatever position the party ends up taking after those forces have shoved it to the right.

That's exactly the problem for liberals.

It's not that he votes to the right of the party, its that he aids the right wing propaganda machines efforts to sway mass opinion and constrain the options open to the left.

Posted by: cmdicely | Feb 25, 2005 4:52:14 PM

Joe Schmo is a corporate ho. Throw the baggage out. Joe is the new Zell Miller.

Posted by: sore loserman | Feb 25, 2005 4:56:28 PM

Blather all you want but isn't it really up to the voters of Connecticut who they send to the Senate? If primary voters prefer Lieberman as their candidate, he's the nominee; if voters in the general election elect him over the opposition then all this "bad Democrat, whack you're weinie" talk is nothing but venting.

Posted by: Deuce | Feb 25, 2005 4:58:15 PM

Good riddance to Zell, and any other dixiecrat stragglers who might still be fantasizing that Strom Thurmond will one day rise from the grave and lead America back to some ignoble antebellum paradise, but Joe? While I freely admit to being more than a little repelled by his willingness to countenance torture, and irritated and perplexed by his unwillingness to aggressively oppose this administration's policies (particularly on the domestic front) and strike a slightly more populist note on economic issues, his voting record is more moderate than many red state Democrats in congress, and as far as I'm concerned he is more right than wrong on a whole range of issues.

I'm no friend of war, but there are religious and humanitarian questions in play both for those who oppose and support the war in Iraq, and is there really any question that the advance of democracy in the mideast wouldn't be better for everyone, inlcuding us? I'm no friend of censorship, but our culture has become a festival of ritual humiliation and sado-masochism, from reality TV to gangsta rap, and while I wish Lieberman would also address the way in which rapacious and cruel GOP economic and criminal justice policies, not to mention our political and media culture (from cable news to talk radio) contribute to this environment, I don't think he's necessarily doing America a disservice by raising these issues. There are much bigger, badder targets for Democrats, and they all have "r"s next to their name.

Posted by: Robin the Hoodlum | Feb 25, 2005 5:11:38 PM

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