Joe Lieberman is the junior U.S. Senator from Connecticut and was the Democratic Party's losing 2000 nominee for Vice President. Lieberman is remarkable for being a former liberal anti-Vietnam War Democrat who swung to the right in support of the Republican War in Iraq, and for being an incumbent Senator who was defeated in his party's primary. Before he became a strong supporter of the Iraq War, many conservative Republicans derided Lieberman as a typical weak liberal Democrat, something made easier by the remarkable similarities between the appearance, voice and mannerisms of Lieberman and MGM's Droopy Dog.
The incumbent Senator was resoundly defeated by challenger Ned Lamont in the August 8, 2006 Democratic Party Primary because a resurgent progressive Connecticut Democratic Party had had enough of his collaboration with the Republican war machine. However, Lieberman ran in the general election as an independent, and won re-election, see Connecticut U.S. Senate election, 2006. Supported by campaign contributions that would have normally gone to the Republican candidate in the race, Lieberman was able to bring together a perverse (or "strange bed fellows") coalition of Lieberman loyalists and Republicans who hate the peace movement so much they were willing to vote for a former Democrat.
Lieberman continued his betrayal of progressives by using his power to deny Senate Democrats the one vote they needed to pass Health Care Reform unless they dropped the public option. In addition to the pleasure hetook in revenge, Lieberman also served the powerful Health Insurance Lobby. According to Joe Conason, Lieberman's wife Hadassah worked as a lobbyist for the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, which has fronted for a range of morally repugnant clients, including Big Tobacco, Enron and Big Pharma. That reeks of conflict of interest.
Lieberman's support for the failed foreign policies of Republican President George W. Bush led to a serious challenge from Ned Lamont for the 2006 Democratic Party Senatorial nomination. Leiberman has not only given the second Bush administration strong support on the War in Iraq but criticized fellow Democrats for daring to oppose the administration's imperial amitions in the region. Lieberman strayed so far from his political origins as a liberal and as a Democrat, that he threatened to run as a third party candidate if he lost the Democratic Party Primary to Ned Lamont which is what he in fact did. This has called into question the characterm who was once termed the "conscience of the Senate." In contrast, Lamont promised to support whoever wins the Democratic party nomination.
Attempting to respond to criticism that Lieberman was an uncritical cheerleader for George W. Bush's Iraq War, Lieberman claimed on August 2, 2006 that he had always been critical of the way that the second Bush administration was executing the war. Article in Daily News
Many Democrats are also unhappy with Lieberman's support for Israel which has been seen as uncritical. Endorsements like those of Mark Vogel further called into question his judgement. According to Vogel, chair of the National Action Commitee, "Joe Lieberman, without exception, no conditions ... is the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress. There is nobody who does more on behalf of Israel than Joe Lieberman. That is why he is incredibly important to the pro-Israel community." Source: Susan Haigh. "Lieberman Gets Pro-Israel Groups' Support." Associated Press. July 19, 2006.
Lieberman also received support from other figures on the political right, including Tom Delay and Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol: Nation Article: DeLay, Coulter, Kristol Defend Lieberman.
According to veteran Connecticut political reporter Colin McEnroe, Lieberman made a career of dashing the hopes of liberal activists and then soothing their feelings with charm, affability and the appearance that he really is listening and considering what they are saying. However Lieberman's ability to con real liberals appears to have dried up. Source: Colin McEnroe. "How Joe Went Wrong." Salon. July 31, 2006. How Joe Went Wrong
- "I think we have to start thinking about a war on terrorism tax...I mean people keep saying we're not asking a sacrifice of anybody but our military in this war and some civilians who are working on it." February 6, 2007. Source: n.a. "US Should Weigh War On Terrorism Tax - Lieberman." Reuters. February 6, 2007. News Report
- "I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers." (Source: AP, June 10, 2007)
- "The Brits have got something smart going in England, and it was part of why I believe they were able to so quickly apprehend suspects in the terrorist acts over the weekend, and that is they have cameras all over London and other of their major cities. I think it’s just common sense to do that here much more widely. And of course, we can do it without compromising anybody’s real privacy." Source: Klaus Marre. "Lieberman Calls for Wider Use of Surveillance Cameras." The Hill. July 1, 2007. News Report (Exactly how do we install lots of Big Tony surveillance cameras without sacrificing privacy?)
- February 24, 1942 birth
- 1964 Graduated from Yale College
- 1967 Graduated from Yale Law School
- 1970-1980 Member of Connecticut state senate
- 1974-1980 Majority Leader
- 1983, 1986-1988 Attorney General of Connecticut
- 1988 Elected to the US Senate
- 1994 Reelected to the US Senate
- 1995 Co-founder of ACTA (American Council of Trustees and Alumni) along with Lynne Cheney
- Sept, 1998 Co-sponsor of the Iraq Liberation Act, along with Trent Lott, (R, Miss), Bob Kerrey, (D, Ne), John McCain (R, Az)], and Jon Kyl (R, Az).
- 2000 Reelected for a third term to the US Senate but then joins Al Gore on the losing Democratic National Ticket as Vice Presidential nominee, first Jewish candidate on a national ticket, limp performance in Vice Presidential debate against Dick Cheney doesn't help the ticket.
- 2001-2003 Chair of Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate
- 2001 Distinguished Adviser, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
- 2002 Co-chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq
- 2004 Honorary Co-chair of the Committee on the Present Danger
- February 4, 2005: Republican President George W. Bush leaves the rostrum of the United States House of Representatives after delivering his annual State of the Union address and plants a big kiss on Lieberman on television.
Joe Lieberman is best known as the Democratic candidate for Vice President under Al Gore. The ticket, the first with a Jewish candidate running at the national level, won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote amidst controversial decisions over voting irregularities in Florida. Joe Lieberman describes himself as an independently-minded Democrat, and has been described as the conscience of the Senate. He received national attention during the Monica Lewinsky scandal when he chastised then-President Bill Clinton for inappropriate behavior with the young intern but voted against the articles of impeachment.
Generally, his domestic voting record is progressive. He has been a staunch supporter of a woman's right to choose, an advocate for campaign finance reform, gay and lesbian rights, balancing the budget and environmental protection, the latter of which has become a signature issue for him. Consequently, he has drawn the ire of major conservative groups. Nevertheless, he has angered more liberal constituents of the party because of his support for the Iraq war, his support for school vouchers and his association with the DLC. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
In addiiton to being a co-sponsor of the Iraq Liberation Act, he has a long history of associating with right-wing neoconservative groups that promote war in the Middle East, including The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and the Committee on the Present Danger. Other neoconservative and right-wing luminaries in these groups include Jeanne Kirkpatrick, William Kristol, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Gary Bauer, Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, and Jack Kemp. He was also a co-founder (with Lynne Cheney) of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). In December 2001, ACTA issued a report entitled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America," which asserted that "when a nation's intellectuals are unwilling to defend its civilization, they give comfort to its adversaries." The report named over 40 professors as unpatriotic. Mr. Lieberman wrote a letter that repudiated that report, which is viewable online at The Nation Magazine's web site.
When Al Gore chose Lieberman to be his running mate, Gore was praised for making a risky choice. Arguably, the selection refueled the campaign and Gore and Lieberman attracted much media attention because of it. After the 2000 election fiasco, Lieberman waited until Gore declined to run for President before Lieberman began his own candidacy. As a presidential candidate, he navigated a difficult course, painting himself as a moderate amongst liberals in the primary. Lieberman compared President George W. Bush and his administration to the former Soviet Union and also called the Bush administration "the most anti-environmental administration in our history." Because of his support for the Iraq War, however, some voices in the Democratic Party did not see him as enough of an opposition to George Bush. Interestingly, Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean early in the primary season without notifying his former running mate in advance. Lieberman saw an increase in campaign donations directly following Gore's endorsement of his rival. It was not enough, however, to improve his chances in the primary.
2006 Senate Campaign Edit
- Frequently Asked Questions - There are many questions that are asked by the press and by more casual observers. See CT-Sen FAQ to see some of the most common questions and answers.
- Slush fund - Lieberman's campaign passed out $387,000 in cash during the final weeks of the general election. (Source: CT-Sen: Lieberman's campaign finance scandal).
- Republican donations - In the final weeks of the campaign, Lieberman received more than $1.5 million from Republican donors. (Source: GOP Gave Lieberman Millions of $$$ in 2006 Campaign
- n.a. "Lieberman May Face Primary Challenge." WFSB News. March 13, 2006.