Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Lieberman Op-Ed Raises Eyebrows

By Shailagh Murray
Democrats are starting to wonder: Is Sen. Joseph Lieberman some sort of Republican plant?

The Connecticut senator describes himself as an "independent Democrat," but today on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, Lieberman called out Sen. Barack Obama by name as one of the "old voices of partisanship and peace at any price" that re-emerged after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to challenge President Bush at great potential cost.

"Activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years," wrote Lieberman, who has endorsed McCain, and who remains one of Bush's staunchest allies on Iraq. "Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign."

He continued with this zinger: "Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right -- regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it. John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately -- the difference between America's friends and America's enemies."

He accused Obama of naively agreeing to meet with leaders of unfriendly governments. "Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot."

Increasingly, prominent Democrats are privately saying that if Lieberman actively works to defeat Obama, assuming he is the nominee, they cannot imagine him as a member of the family much longer. Lieberman has been only marginally allied with the party since his 2006 reelection, when he was beaten in the Democratic primary by Ned Lamont, then won a three-way general election race as an independent.

Lieberman still belongs to the Senate Democratic caucus, and he chairs the important Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. But in addition to endorsing McCain, Lieberman has said he would be willing to speak at the Republican National Convention.

Taking action against Lieberman in the short term -- most drastically by ejecting him from the Senate Democratic caucus -- would likely cost the party its majority status, given the current 51-49 split. But many prominent Democrats are discussing the possibility of giving Lieberman the boot after the election, assuming the Democrats pick up Senate seats.

Election-year disloyalty goes both ways. Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska Republican and close McCain friend, called out his party's presumptive nominee at an event Tuesday night. "I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying," Hagel said.

He singled out McCain's withering rebuke of Obama for advocating "appeasement" by expressing a willingness to engage in high-level talks with Iran.

"I never understand how anyone in any realm of civilized discourse could sort through the big issues and challenges and threats and figure out how to deal with those without engaging in some way," Hagel said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 21, 2008; 4:35 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clinton Invokes 2000 in Quest for Florida Support
Next: Douglass Joins Obama Campaign


Obama/Hagel 2008

Put up a Democratic and Republican Joint ticket. A unity ticket. Then how can they accuse Obama of being so liberal. He will have a solid foot in both camps and can bring this country together.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Lieberman belongs on McCain's ticket or in his cabinet. I think what he is doing is legal, right? So he's irritating and annoying and a closet Republican, who cares? Right now he's kingmaking for John McCain. He's a bigger asset against Hillary Cinton than against Barack Obama. So his attack dog actions are rational. Carry on McDuff.

Posted by: Gaias Child | May 23, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey. Remember when Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party? Weren't Democrats critical of Republicans for not being broad-minded enough? Weren't Democrats telling us they were the big tent party, the people with open minds and open hearts? Guess that was a bunch of hooey, huh?

Posted by: goose | May 22, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, no one cares about Joe Lieberman's opinions, anymore. Except John McCain, who also has metamorphosed from a straight-talking "maverick" to a right-wing apologist.

Posted by: Dennis Berry | May 22, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Add to that one more fact: Lieberman and his GOP friends (McCain included) spend time on drafting letters to Google to remove YouTube videos with violent (terrorist) content?! Is that their best idea to fight terrorism and its propaganda after 5 years of mis-managed global war? With hundreds of billions of US dollars injected in US war machine, this is the best Lieberman and McCain can come up with to get rid of terrorism? Censoring YouTube? Lieberman and McCain would never understand the current and future fight against terrorism: that's because they belong to older generations of demagogues who cannot see the challenges of this age. As rightly proved by the Texan cowboy's latest war in Iraq and Afghanistan, this fight is not done by a all-out war with poor brains behind the Pentagon desks. It takes a new leader, connected to today's complex realities of new diplomacy, strategic military force engaged wisely and timely and both the ability to win friends abroad and negotiate with unfriendly regimes. More arrogance, more war-talk and old men's rigidity and demagogy won't win any friends abroad.
McCain - commander in chief of strongest army in the world?! A 71-year-old guy whose only outstanding effort was pouring napalm on Vietnamese villages and suffering as POW in a war that proved the wrong war; a guy who flip-flopped constantly on all America's biggest problems; a guy whose wife refuses to release her tax returns (try guess the countries she placed some of her money in) and a guy who's to be made president by lobbysists working for world's worst regimes; yes, the world will be a safer place. And Lieberman will enjoy every little moment of it as the architect of McCain's election. Whispering words in his ears and explaining to the old man some basic realities before declaring war on some other country.

Posted by: Piu | May 22, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is an extremist with no courage to express it outright. He transparently skirts around his views, hides behind our national interest, wears a Democratic mask and is prepared to inflict irreparable political and economic damage to our country to advance his war agenda. Just like Mccain The man lacks intellect and bent on perpetrating foreign wars in lieu of a concrete national development agenda.

Posted by: Jake | May 22, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is actively promoting and campaigning for the Republican nominee; as such, having abandoned the Democratic party, his comments should be taken as a pure political attack rather than as an editorial comment.

As to the substance, his position would be far more credible if the efforts of George Bush after Sept 11 had produced any tangible results. Instead, the last 7 years have seen a continued erosion of the US security as an emboldened Iran, lacking the natural balance of Iraq, has stepped up its overt actions against the Sunni world and has raised its anti-Israel rhetoric. Having failed in Afghanistan - it's getting worse not better - the US is running out of options in the Bush regime. Comes Senator Lieberman and wants to eliminate any possibility of resolving the conflict with Iran in a non-military way.

Once the Dems no longer need his vote to organize the Senate, he'll be the "man without a country" in the Senate; Republicans don't trust him as another "Connecticut Liberal", and the Dems would be far better off without him

Posted by: malach hamovess | May 22, 2008 5:33 AM | Report abuse

No, Lieberman is a cold-war liberal. Of Democrats want to win in November, they ought to listen to him.

Posted by: Andrew Austin | May 22, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I wonder if Senator Obama regrets coming to Senator Lieberman's aid and campaigned for him when he had lost the Democratic nomination against Ned Lamont.

Lieberman is showing that he is ungrateful as well as unhinged.

Honestly, calling Senator Obama an "old voice" of partisanship? HUH?

Posted by: Bradamante | May 22, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Senator Lieberman will get upset with anyone that does not follow the Israeli GOPAC mandate. He is Jewish first then American. The man is of the same caliber of Zell Miller, two angry men that could not have their way in the Party.He did indeed cause Al Gore the elections because the so-called "hard working blue collar white vote" did not like him because of his Jewish heritage. That is the truth like it or not. I will love to see him run as McCain VP, but he knows well that won't happen, so he is looking for Homeland Security Chief and/or Secretary of Sate, this way he can further continue to protect Israel wwith the blood of our young men and women.

Posted by: Gusto | May 22, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Liarman is GOP - his name demands it.

Posted by: FL | May 21, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

When you think about it, exactly what did he bring to the Gore ticket? Him being on the ticket probably insured that "hard working uneducated whites" voted for Bush. He probably single-handedly contributed a lot to the map. Now that I think about it, he probably does need to be McCain's VP.

Posted by: Sally | May 21, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman strikes me as a Scoop Jackson type Democrat. Back when Democrats weren't afraid to use force to protect our country, or people and our way of life. Now the Democratic party is full of guilt ridden white liberals, "government owes me" minorities and blame America first traitors. If the country does go mental and elects Obama in November it will make for an entertaining and possible dangerous 4 years.

Posted by: Robert Gaskin | May 21, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

go to and look at the cartoon - says alot!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Mr Lieberman is turning out to be one of the very few decent and intelligent demon-rats along with Zell Miller. Demon-rats are ignorant of history and want everything to be given to them and appeasement is there montra. And when you try to educate them with the truth, they say "oh, I don't believe that!" I know they only read liberal rags like WAPO so they will never learn the truth - SAD, really.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

US Troop casualties? You mean the very few we've had in 5 years vs any war in American history? Those casualties?

Give me a break. When Obama gets in there and pulls us out you're going to see genocide like you can't believe....and about then the "caring about otehrs" hogwash that the left puts out there will fly out the door as they turn away and ignore the slaughtering of the masses that will take place due to the power vaccuum.

What a pitiful bunch, again, that the US citizenry gets to vote for this year. Obama and McCain. HORRIBLE choices.

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

James, if that's true, then why do so many Dems (and GOP for that matter) keep fighting for illegal immigrants?

Talk about treasonous.

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Joe L. is still having issues with Dems that ran against him in his last Senate election. He needs to get past that. He is not representing his state with his short-sighted comments and wannabe Republican sympathies. What a tired figure he has become--rather pathetic , too, in his ongoing support for the Iraq war and US troop casualties.

Posted by: Louis of NOLA | May 21, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank GOD the democratic party has pulled left, now we can maybe fly straight after 8 years of pulling right.

Posted by: Penny | May 21, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman isn't Republican or Democrat.
He's an Israel first Zionist. He's for McCain because McCain is insane and willing to nuke Iran for Israel. Israel sure won't do it. They don't want the Russian & Chinese nukes raining down on them. Lieberman and the Zionists would much rather see those nukes rain down on the USA.

Posted by: DWayne | May 21, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Senator Lieberman just fails to realize that defending Israel is not the only issue that is important to the American people in 2008. I feel sorry for the people of Connecticut. I assume that they thought they were electing someone to fight for their issues rather than those of a sovereign nation.

Now wouldn't all of America be up in arms if someone dedicated their senatorial political career to fighting for any other nation. It is a disgrace that is tantamount to treason.

Posted by: James - Los Angeles | May 21, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

DA Lieberman is No Democrat and probably intends to run with McCain, why is that so had to fathom. Can mc cain even think without Liberman?

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Just because he is young doesn't mean he isn't spewing out the same old class warfare, partisan political absurdities of the old guard.

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

> Now, it couldn't possibly be that it contains some nugget of truth, could it? Of course not.

If it contained that, we'd have supported him, just like we did in calling the gas tax pandering when it was exactly that.

Too bad it still played well in the sticks.

Posted by: Moe | May 21, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

One of the OLD voices of partisanship? And here I thought Obama was young.

Lieberman needs a reality check. But maybe he's fishing to be McCain's VP? Who knows.

Posted by: Moe | May 21, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Old Joe has lost his mind and his entire credibility since 9/11. He's just a tired old Neo-Con now. Poor Joe, what happened to you brother?

Posted by: Old friend | May 21, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

How on earth does someone believe Lieberman brought down Gore? Gore and Clinton brought down Gore. That should have been a 10 to 15 point victory for the Dems, but the guy couldn't even win his OWN COUNTY, let alone his own state.

Gore is a crackpot, even more so today. Thank God this country didn't get him. I can't even imagine 9/11 and what we would have done in response. We would probably have had 3 or 4 more attacks since then because of that joke of a leader.

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Would JFK even be a Democrat today? Nope.

Lowered taxes more than anyone in history at the time. Backed two military incursions despite not being attacked by either country (Cuba and Vietnam). Etc, etc.

The Dems are an interesting lot. I especially love the comments here about the "fool war". Of course when we were attacked in 1992 at the WTC we did nothing about it. Which led to attacks again on the Cole, two embassies, Khobar Towers and eventually 9/11. It was only after 9/11 we started to do something and we haven't been attacked since. Gee, coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Lieberman's piece, really seems to have hit a nerve.

Now, it couldn't possibly be that it contains some nugget of truth, could it? Of course not.

Posted by: None of the Above 08 | May 21, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman did not "bring down" Gore. Gore brought down Gore. That election should have been won by a landslide by Gore, and instead, a poorly run campaign and underestimation of Bush on his feet in a debate brought him down. AND...if anyone actually remembers this, Gore saw Clinton after the election, had very heated words and blame Clinton on his loss! Yes, that actually happened. Until an actual third party comes along, get used to it.....ALL OT IT.

Posted by: Jeff | May 21, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Think about this fellow bloggers?!


To have the 2000 Democratic VP candidate tearing down the 2008 presumptive Democratic presidential nominee?

Lieberman (in his 70s) might as well stay with his old buddy McCain because he will not be welcomed back into the Democratic fold.

Posted by: AJ | May 21, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

In my work I have had the opportunity to speak with some of the world's top counter-terrorism experts and military advisors, they all have the same positions Obama has been putting forth on the topic of National Security. I believe Obama is right in these matters and McCain is ascribing to a failed policy of the past.

Posted by: JR | May 21, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

When the D's take a strong majority (60?) of Senate seats, they'll no longer have a need for Lieberman, they'll kick his rightwing butt out of the Party, he'll lose his seniority, will no longer be able to serve pork (no pun intended) to his constituents and will lose his Senate seat.

Accusing loyal and patriotic Americans of wishing harm on their own country, portraying the political opposition as somehow collaborating with the beyond The Pale (no pun intended). What a sanctimonious jerk.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 21, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps LIEberman and Hagel can both switch parties. That way the balance of power is not affected.

Posted by: J.C. Kelley | May 21, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Democrat though-police can't stand anyone who holds a different view. Fact is, the Dems left-wing tried to kill his political career in 2006, and now this same left-wing finds its voice in Barry Hussein O'bama. How can anyone expect Lieberman to hold any allegiance to these people?

Posted by: pgr88 | May 21, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

He was a "wolf in sheep's clothing" when he ran as Gore's VP. He was planted there by Carl Rove & Co. to destroy Gore's chances against Bush. Now he shows who he really is and has been all along. Take a good look. Hillary and Bill are in bed with Bush and Rove. She has been working from his playbook during the primary. Thirty years of the Bush-Clinton regime is enough.

Yes, we can!

Posted by: Ed | May 21, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse


So, it's O.K. for Truman to Actually Obliterate two Japanese cities because he was a "civilized adult". I suspect you were not alive in 1945?

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

He's taking a swipe at the entire Democratic party... I think he's a dem just to screw with us. See how much I care about his opinion.

He already brought down Gore. We're not dumb enough to pay him any mind this time around.

Posted by: jencm | May 21, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse


FDR and Truman were civilized adults. There's a difference.

Posted by: MikeMcNally | May 21, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse


Do you also think that President Bush is more loyal to Israel than the U.S.?

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman, now that is a cancer in Americas rear.

Posted by: justadad55+ | May 21, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Mybe mr Liebermann is more loyal the state of isreal more than to the USA. The Dem. are not running for a seat in the knesset they are runing for the white house, so you iether are american or isrealean

Posted by: justin | May 21, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Kay Decker:

Technically, Lieberman is an "Independent-Democrat". Hopefully, you can forward your remarks to him personally:

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the Dem tidal wave in November will provide more than enough victories in the various Senate contests to allow Lieberman to be stripped of his chairmanship and send him to well-deserved obscurity. The last thing this party needs is another surly, myopic Zell Miller clone railing on about how great this damn-fool war is.

Posted by: whatmeregister | May 21, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Starting to wonder" ? Only to those crawling out from under a rock. Joe sold his soul to Rove and Cheney when it looked like he was voted out in 2006. The Republicans kept him in, not the Dems. Now he's beyond a total puppet. He doesn't seem to mind, though.

Posted by: Oh, please | May 21, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

McCain/Liebermann '08 - LOL!!! Oh lordy, please let it happen!

Posted by: he's a McCainiac, McCainiac on the floor.... | May 21, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Since I lost all respect for Lieberman when he lost the Connecticut primary, then went on to join in the race as an Independent, then begged and pleaded for his Senate seat back (which the Connecticut voters shouldn't have given him) -- I could care less what Lieberman has to say. About anything. As far as I'm concerned, Lieberman's demeanor and actions since he returned to the Senate as an Independent are like those of a child who wants to be viciously mean to those that he perceives have been mean to him. Thus, Lieberman won't quit sniping at Democratic politicians, especially those that did not support his candidacy after the Connecticut voters sacked him in the primary. Next election, I hope Connecticut voters send Lieberman packing!!!!!

Posted by: Kay Decker | May 21, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse


Were FDR and Truman also just "neo-cons in Democratic clothing" for wanting to Obliterate Germany and Japan?

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

There are a lot of neo-cons in Democratic clothing. Lieberman and Hillary want to obliterate Iran and they both simple adore Carl Rove. Feinstein and Schumer both thought so much of Mukasey that they both just had to nominate him. Rockefeller voted for the Military Commissions Act (Lindsey Grahams torture law), and Pelosi decided to take impeachment off the table. People really should start paying more attention to these "Democrats" actions rather than their words.

Posted by: MikeMcNally | May 21, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company