Obama and Lieberman: Two of a Kind

Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman is an unrepentant proponent of United States government terror. He was enthusiastically in favor of the occupation of Iraq, advocating for war even before George W. Bush became president. Lieberman is the most vocal cheer leader for war against Iran, telling shameful lies about that nation in hopes of seeing the United States and Israel carry out a military attack. He is openly contemptuous of the rest of the Democratic Party, literally kissing Bush on the lips at the 2006 State of the Union address.

Whatever else may be said about him, Lieberman is not stupid. When he embarked on his plan to endorse John McCain, and disparage Barack Obama, his party’s nominee, he did so believing that he would not pay a price for his actions. So great was Lieberman’s confidence in his untouchability, that McCain considered choosing him as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin.

Despite giving aid and comfort to the Republican party, Lieberman will remain a member of the Democrat Senate caucus that doesn’t even need his votes any more. There will be at least 57 Democratic Senators, more than enough to move any agenda that its members are willing to support. Barack Obama, now de facto party chief, gave the signal that Lieberman be spared the punishment he deserves.

Not only would Democrats be right to toss Lieberman out of their caucus, but his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security committee should also come to an end. The neo-con Democrat hung on to his seat in 2006 after losing a primary and running as an independent. He emerged victorious only because he lied to Connecticut’s voters. He lied about wanting to end the Iraq occupation and he lied when he said he would investigate Bush administration handling of the response to hurricane Katrina.

Lieberman wasted no time in returning to form after he won re-election. He declared that investigating Katrina would be “a waste of Congress’ time.” When even Republicans ran from openly pro-war stances, Lieberman insisted that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. Like any wrong doer who goes unpunished, Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time. He endorsed John McCain and spoke on his behalf at the republican convention.

“Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time.”

Obama’s victory should have been the nail in Lieberman’s coffin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the authority to immediately strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Instead of doing what he has the power to do on his own, he told an outright lie, “Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase, Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.” After saying those words with a straight face, he punted to the rest of the Democrats in the Senate.

A secret ballot vote will determine Lieberman’s fate as the Homeland Security Chairman. Only two Democrats, Vermonters Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, have publicly stated that they will vote to oust Lieberman. The few who will speak publicly are all suffering from weak spine disease. They concede that Joe did the party wrong, but are unwilling to act against him. If Reid will not do the right thing, his colleagues are unlikely to as well.

It is amusing to watch “progressives” express shock and horror at the sight of Lieberman’s victory over Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats. They rant and rail against the perfidy of their leaders and wonder why Obama lets Lieberman off the hook so easily.

As always, the explanation for seemingly irrational behavior is quite obvious. Lieberman’s supporters have the deepest pockets of all Democratic party supporters. Simply put, there is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.

Barack Obama knows this better than anyone. When he entered the Senate as a freshman in 2005 he chose Joseph Lieberman as his mentor. The following year Obama endorsed Lieberman when he faced his primary challenge. It seemed incongruous for a politician thought of as a progressive to support the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.

“There is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.”

How better to make the case with wealthy Democratic neo-cons than to cozy up to Holy Joe? Anyone serious about becoming president must have their support and the Lieberman stamp of approval surely gave Obama entre to sources of funding he would not have had otherwise.

The two men are equally cynical. Obama got over any hurt feelings he may have had when he remembered how Lieberman helped him amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time. If he acts against him now, he risks the wrath of the same check bundlers he, Reid and the rest of the party still need.

Lieberman’s motives are simple. He believes in America’s war of terror, and in the “special relationship” with Israel. He wanted to make sure that the confident black man didn’t forget who was boss. If McCain won, Lieberman would be in the catbird seat. If McCain lost, he was still in the catbird seat with the full knowledge that the Democrats would be afraid to touch him.

No need to ask why Lieberman is still sitting pretty. If Obama won’t touch him, and Reid won’t touch him, then his gambit will likely pay off. Their mutual cynicism got both men what they wanted. They will now live happily ever after.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached at: Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com. Read other articles by Margaret, or visit Margaret's website.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. catherine said on November 19th, 2008 at 1:24pm #

    God, what a loathesome man. Thanks for the history lesson, Margaret.

  2. Ron Horn said on November 19th, 2008 at 1:46pm #

    Great article–cuts through so much BS.

  3. Max Shields said on November 19th, 2008 at 3:16pm #

    Lieberman is the primary reason why NO ONE should ever expect CHANGE. Not that history doesn’t make the compelling case, but just following Lieberman over the last dozen years and the Dem/Repub neocon coalition and Obama is RIGHT in the thick of it should make any thinking sane person realize NO HOPE there.

    It is funny to read the “progressives” who are watching as O and his motely crew of super-neocons through them ALL under the bus.

    Just watch as congress keeps this war going. The mindset is actually worse than during Vietnam. The powers figured out how to make any sign of dissent disappear, just by ignoring it through the media.

    TruthDig gives you enough “progressive” wishful thinking to fill an ocean. How with the excuses pile up and for how long before it’s realized that Obama is Clinton on steroids?

  4. Brian said on November 19th, 2008 at 4:37pm #

    I have been telling people about how Obama chose Lieberman to be his mentor and they just look at me in disbelief. How could this “progressive” have done that, they wonder? And then they go into denial that it ever happened.

  5. HR said on November 19th, 2008 at 6:52pm #

    The Democratic Party is despicable. Allowing Lieberman to not remain a member of their wing of the ruling party but also keep his chair of the repressive “fatherland” security committee is the latest evidence. Forty years ago the SOB would have been thrown out on his ear … long before the election. And, folks expect change from Obama? Hell, there’s not even a hope of that.

  6. HR said on November 19th, 2008 at 7:18pm #

    Whoops, first sentence should read:

    Allowing Lieberman to remain a member of their wing of the ruling party and also keep his chair of the repressive “fatherland” security committee is the latest evidence.

  7. DavidG. said on November 19th, 2008 at 9:52pm #

    Just goes to show that religious fanatics of any kind should not be able to join any political party.

    People deranged by religion are not to be trusted and certainly should never be given political power of any kind.


  8. Hue Longer said on November 20th, 2008 at 2:53am #


    I’m not sure, but my guess is that no matter what he sells (the Hagee incident is the only time I recall that he did), Lieberman is an atheist– if he even has the curiosity to reflect upon it.

  9. Erroll said on November 20th, 2008 at 12:09pm #

    Max shields

    Well said. I would also add that there are many other [alleged] progressive sites such as Crooks and Liars which openly cheerlead before the altar of Barack Obama.

  10. rjones2818 said on November 20th, 2008 at 12:57pm #

    The ‘reality based community’ is part and parcel of the Dem power structure, hence the braying ‘more and better Democrats’ mantra. Until the Left stands up and says no more, the DLCers and the like will be the only nominally leftists with any power.

  11. Suthiano said on November 20th, 2008 at 1:38pm #

    Many progressive sites have dropped the ball recently. Those deeply entrenched in the Democratic party are obstacles, rather than aids, to progress; in fact, the Democratic party is an obstacle to change. The majority of members will never come around without a bump on the head, you know, something that makes them look around and wonder who and where they are. This certainly will not happen through any televised political campaign, which serves to do the opposite: reassure people that simulacra are reality, that change professed on TV means change in the life of the individual watching the TV. Just the way that one could learn how to survive by watching Survivor 7: Colonised Pacific island XVII.