It puts Jolting Joe in a very good position and it puts the Democratic party in a very uncomfortable one as a Wapo article points out quite well.
Standing under the grand dome of the Library of Congress on Friday, the three top Senate Democrats bitterly condemned sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, as President Bush is now considering.
"A bad idea," said Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.).
Across town an hour earlier, at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman shared his own thoughts on Bush's plan. "We need an increase in troops there now," he asserted before an audience of military experts and academics. "It must be substantial, and it must be sustained."
Quite a big gap between what his former party believes and what Joe Lieberman believes. The larger pisture, in my mind, is that Lieberman does not change his vote or his political stances because a "poll" tells him that will be beneficial to his career. He stands by his principles.
Lieberman was sworn in last week as the chamber's one and only "independent Democrat," with the emphasis on "independent." On most issues, including big domestic priorities, he expects to vote as he has for the past 18 years, as a loyal Democrat. But on Iraq, Lieberman is more in sync with Bush than are many Republicans. He is a passionate defender of the war as a death struggle against Islamic terrorism.
The November election swept Republicans out of power in Congress and signaled that voters are deeply unhappy about the course of the Iraq war. The asterisk is Lieberman, who won a fourth term in an antiwar state with strong support from Republican and unaffiliated voters.
That has given Lieberman a mandate to be the man in the middle, an essential player to both parties while beholden to neither. Lately he has dropped the "Democrat" half of his affiliation, describing himself at the Friday event merely as an independent. He even holds out the possibility that he would back a supporter of the Iraq war, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in the 2008 presidential race -- although his Connecticut colleague, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D), also may be running.
"I've had a very political two years, so I'm staying out of it for now," Lieberman demurred after his AEI address. "But you know, I'm independent, and I'm just going to watch it develop for a while. I'm going to support who's best for the country. But I wouldn't exclude the possibility" of endorsing McCain.
Why not run a ticket with McCain/Lieberman, talk about a purely bipartisan administration... that would, indeed, send Hillary and most all of the other Democrats running for the hills, screaming and tearing their hair out as well as quite a few Republicans joining them.
More on that later, but back to the article.
"There is no military solution in Iraq, only a political solution," Reid said. "Adding more combat troops to this civil war undermines our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for the future."
Lieberman got a hearty laugh at the AEI event when asked to comment on the Reid-Pelosi letter. "Speaking as an independent," he said with a smile, "needless to say, I respectfully disagree."
Does anyone else notice how often Joe Lieberman points out and stresses that he is now an "independent"? There is a very good reason for this, he truly is. Many will wave their hands and scoff, saying "the majority of his votes go with the Democratic party". So what? If that is his belief, his vote SHOULD go there, just as I firmly believe if he agrees with the Republican administration about Iraq, his vote should go there.... isn't that what a "true" independent does? Vote for their beliefs, and not in lockstep with any one party?
Doesn't this make him one of the few, true, honest politicians? Isn't THAT why he was voted for, being pro Iraq, in an anti-war state?
For Lieberman and McCain, the big worry is that Bush will order too small a troop increase to make a difference. "Unless you believe all is lost, we've got to do everything we can to win," Lieberman said.
Upon hearing of his colleague's comments, Durbin sighed and shook his head. "Joe Lieberman said that?" he asked.
Democrats grumble off the record that Lieberman is muddying an increasingly unified Democratic message on Iraq, but their public comments are cautious and generally complimentary. They pretended not to notice his brief appearance at the Library of Congress retreat, which overlapped with the AEI forum.
"It's important to hear a lot of views, which is quite different from what happens in the White House," Schumer said. Or, as Reid put it: "Joe Lieberman could so easily be with us, but he doesn't want to be. I respect that. He's a good man."
Exactly. Reid hit the nail on the head. Lieberman could be with them, the reason he isn't is because he is following what HE thinks is best, not what the polls tell him he should, not what the Democrats insist he should. He is his own man and although I disagree with so many of his stances, I can be objective enough to see that this is a good man, a decent man and a man of principle... HIS principles, whether I agree with all his principles or not, I can damn well respect his ability and determination to stand by them
One Lieberman trait that particularly rankles Democrats is his abiding loyalty to Bush. A few days after the Wall Street Journal published the senator's op-ed piece, Lieberman lectured at a foreign policy conference. "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be commander in chief for three more critical years," he said, "and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."
The senator was a bit more measured Friday, but his point was clear.
"The president of the United States gets this," Lieberman said. "I think he sees the moment that we are at in the larger war on terrorism and the significance of how we conclude the war in Iraq, how devastating it would be to the Iraqis, to the Middle East, to America if we simply withdrew. He needs our support."
I am really beginning to like this guy, he gets it.
He also scares the hell out of the Democratic party. He said what they know but will not acknowedge ..... in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at out nation's peril.
Grandma Nancy should take a lesson from Joe Lieberman.
Standing by ones principles is not easy sometimes, especially when it is unpopular, but Lieberman and President Bush do so. Kudos to them for that.
Speech made on Senate Floor before the War in Iraq, Oct. 9, 2002- If in the end these efforts fail, and if in the end we are at war, we will have an obligation, ultimately, to the Iraqi people with whom we are not at war. This is a war against a regime, mostly one man. So other nations in the region and all of us will need to help create an Iraq that is a place and a force for stability and openness in the region. That effort is going to be long term, costly, and not without difficulty, given Iraq's ethnic and religious divisions and history of domestic turbulence. In Afghanistan, the administration has given more lipservice than resources to the rebuilding effort. We cannot allow that to happen in Iraq, and we must be prepared to stay the course over however many years it takes to do it right.
Does anyone know who made that speech on the senate floor in October of 2002? John Kerry.
Oh, how quickly we forget our own words huh? When Kerry said, however many years it takes to do it right, do ya think he meant as long as it isn't more than four years or costs too much? Or was he criticizing the rebuilding of Afghanistan saying the administration gave "lipservice" at the same time as giving a bit of his own "lipservice" about Iraq?
That was one example of a politician who changes their votes according to "popular opinion" and polls.
Another is Hillary Clinton who stated clearly in 2004:
To the disappointment of some antiwar liberals in her Democratic base, Clinton, the former first lady, voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution in October 2002.
"Obviously, I've thought about that a lot in the months since," she said. "No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."
In the e-mail, Clinton took responsibility for her vote for the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to go to war, while leaving open whether she would have opposed it, given what is now known about faulty intelligence and mismanagement by the administration. She pummeled Bush for his conduct of the war itself but left murky how long she believes U.S. forces should stay in Iraq. As she told Kentucky Democrats earlier this month, "I reject a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit, and I reject an open timetable that has no ending attached to it."
Back then, BEFORE she had actively started her presidential campaign, she admitted that WMD's were not the only reason that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. She admitted that he represented a "grave threat" to the United States....and now, because Iraq is unpopular and the polls tell her she must change her stance, she does... where is the integrity in that?
Another one that could perhaps learn a little honesty and what the word "principle" actually means from Joe Lieberman.
The funny thing about trying to rewrite history to match rhetoric and changing stances according to what the polls say, is that in todays day and age of the internet, it is quite easy to show a person to be feckless, reckless and dishonest by quoting their own words from an earlier time.
I still say McCain/Lieberman on a ticket in 2008 could really shake up the political world as we know it now.
I am not particularly fond of McCain, but I do not dislike him either, I disagree with quite a bit of what I hear him say, but have a great respect for him nonetheless and if we are going to shake up the system, one that undoubtedly is not working, that unlikely pair, might just do it.
Jules Crittenden once again has a must read article in the Boston Globe as well as on his blog.
Others discussing this:
Riehl World View, Flopping Aces, PrairiePundit and Don Surber.