Saturday, January 15, 2005

Candidate Profile Eight - Joe Lieberman

If you've been reading this blog and paying any attention whatsoever (and if you haven't, just browse around for a few minutes), you know I don't have much use for the 'progressive' wing of the Democratic Party. I can't imagine any set of circumstances that would have me on the same side as Howard Dean. I could see myself casting a vote for one Democrat, though - Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. The very qualities that make Lieberman a guy who could win my support are in fact the very same qualities that will ultimately sink his bid.

Joseph I. ('Joe') Lieberman - official biography

Lieberman 2008 blog

Resume - three-term Senator from Connecticut; Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate in 2000; former state senator and Majority Leader of the Connecticut State Senate; former Attorney General of Connecticut; former Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council

The respect that the governing class has for Joe Lieberman is palpable. Contrast the sedate, gentlemanly, and oh-so-refreshing debate he had with Dick Cheney in 2000 with the slugfest that took place between Cheney and Edwards in 2004. I'm sure I'm not the first to think that the 2000 Democratic presidential ticket was upside down. Along with John McCain, Lieberman is probably the most esteemed Senator by his colleagues.

Right, we're all agreed, so it's Lieberman, and he wins by a landslide, right? Not so see, good ol' Joe has some real handicaps as a Democratic candidate:
  1. Lieberman doesn't pander to the Democratic base. You will never catch Lieberman denigrating America to win cheap political points. Here's Joe on Abu Ghraib: We cannot allow the prison scandal in Iraq to diminish our own American sense of national honor and purpose, or further erode support for our just and necessary cause in Iraq. American opponents of the war may try to do the latter, while foreign critics and enemies of the United States will try to do the former. The misdeeds of a few do not alter the character of our nation or the honor of the many who serve in our defense--and the world's--every day. Winning the war we are now fighting in Iraq against Saddam loyalists and jihadist terrorists remains critical to the security of the American people, the freedom of the Iraqi people, and the hopes of all the Middle East for stability and peace. Kind of sounds like Joe's in the wrong party, doesn't it?
  2. Lieberman is for a strong relationship between the United States and Israel. This is not because he is Jewish; there are plenty of Jewish Americans who detest the state of Israel. It is because Lieberman shares the Bush administration's vision of a more democratic and secure Middle East. This infuriates the Radical Left - see this post by paid Dean shill the Daily Kos.
  3. Lieberman sees the War on Terror as a real war, not a paranoid fantasy of John Ashcroft. Again, in his own words: ...[the War on Terror] is fundamentally a war of ideas and a war of values, a war of conflicting visions of humans and history, of faith and country. The war on terrorism we are fighting goes to the very heart of America's national purpose and national security. Our core principles of freedom and opportunity are at stake.

Lieberman's other sins against the Left include support of President Bush's faith-based initiatives, and his 'yes' vote on the Patriot Act.

While disagreeing with Joe on most domestic issues, I think the vast majority of Republican voters hold Lieberman in higher esteem than the Democrats. Much as I admire him, I have to say his chances of gaining the nomination, while not completely nil, are mighty slim. It seems his only hope would be to hang around long enough for the clear front-runner in 2008 to implode. Lieberman remains a better bet for Vice President. I want to see Joe run in 2006, though - for the Senate as a Republican. I can dream, can't I?


UPDATE 07/04/05 10:30 p.m. central:
I may be one of 12 people in the country wishing Lieberman would run...


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