With that in mind, I have listed, below the jump, 29 specific and detailed reasons, apart from Joe Lieberman's stance on the Iraq war, that he is in trouble with his constituents. I have also listed 3 additional overarching arguments against the notion that the Iraq war is the sole issue that is motivating Lamont and his supporters.
This is all familiar ground for Kossacks, but I thought it might be useful at this time to list all of this material and talking points in one handy place for the benefit of any remaining fencesitters any of you may know in Connecticut.
Many Democrats and Independents have lost faith in Lieberman for a long list of reasons that have nothing to do with the Iraq war, including:
(1) The fact that Lieberman has repeatedly opened the door to Social Security privatization in his public remarks, most recently in 2005, when he was the last Democratic Senator to oppose Bush's privatization scheme. For example:
In January 2005, Lieberman said to the Hartford Courant when asked about Social Security, that "this is an ongoing problem, and we'd be wise to deal with it,"adding further that "[I]f we can figure out a way to help people through private accounts or something else, great."
On February 18, 2005, Lieberman indicated that he was "listening and learning" about private Accounts.
In March 2005, Lieberman helped President Bush sell his privatization plan by claiming that "waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost" of "fixing Social Security," an untrue claim that was picked up and repeated by Bush even after Paul Krugman refuted it;
(2) The fact that Lieberman set the stage for the confirmation of right wing Justices Alito and Roberts and such right wing Judges as Janice Rogers Brown, among others, by: (a) voting for cloture (an end to debate) in the case of Alito and Roberts, and (b) being a part of the gang of 14 which vowed not to filibuster judicial nominations except in "extraordinary circumstances" which somehow never seem to arise in the view of that group.
Given who controls Congress, it was a foregone conclusion that the only real chance to stop Alito was through a filibuster. Lieberman's vote to end debate was the significant vote, and his vote post-cloture against Alito was meaningless. The die was cast once the possibility of further debate was ended;
(3) Lieberman's on-again off-again support for school vouchers;
(4) The fact that Lieberman fought for the deregulation of the accounting industry in the 1990s, which set the stage for the Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and other financial scandals of the 2000s which did so much damage to workers, investors, and the economy;
(5) The fact that Lieberman supported the censure of Clinton and condemned him vocally on the Senate floor for his affair, but has not ever expressed moral outrage at the abuses of power and flagrant violations of law by this president and administration, in for example the case of the wiretapping program (which violated the FISA in the view of the Congressional Research Service and every serious legal scholar) or the Valerie Plame scandal, and has opposed the censure of this president;
(6) The fact that Lieberman has made it a regular habit in the Bush years to appear regularly on Fox News and right wing talk radio (including on Sean Hannity's show) where he then proceeds to bash and undercut the Democratic party;
(7) The endorsements Lieberman has received from Tom Delay, Pat Robertson, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Bill O'Reily, William Buckley, and Rush Limbaugh. The claims Lieberman has made during this primary season that he is a good progressive and Democrat fly in the face of the enthusiastic endorsements he has received from these right wingers. Clearly their support for him is due to the fact that they correctly perceive that in his votes and rhetoric, he regularly undercuts his party and supports the administration and right wing when it really counts;
(8) Lieberman's vote for cloture (to end debate) on the bankruptcy bill, which made the enactment of that bill possible. The bankruptcy bill enriched credit card companies, harmed people whose debts are due to health problems and did nothing about credit card solicitations to teenagers or abuses of the bankruptcy code by the wealth. Given who controls Congress, it was a foregone conclusion that the only real chance to stop the bankruptcy bill was through a filibuster. Lieberman's vote to end debate was the significant vote, and his vote post-cloture against the bill was meaningless. The die was cast once the possibility of further debate was ended;
(9) Lieberman's statement that "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander in chief for three more years," and that "[w]e undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril," amounted to the outrageous suggestion that all criticism of this president was out of bounds, unpatriotic, and dangerous, even treasonous;
(10) Lieberman's vote for such free trade agreements as the one with Oman, a nation which bans trade unions, votes which undercut the position of working people in this country;
(11) The fact that Lieberman opposed a State bill that would have prevented hospitals from refusing to dispense the "morning after" plan B contraceptives for rape victims because he argued that catholic hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so, and he made the rather callous (and in many parts of the State untrue statement) that "[i]n Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital";
(12) Lieberman's failure to advocate for national health insurance during his 18 year old tenure and his role in undoing Clinton's health plan and the alternative health care reform proposals during the 1993-1994 period;
(13) Lieberman's support for the energy bill which did so little for consumers or energy independence but which showered subsidies on profitable oil companies;
(14) The disloyalty Lieberman showed to his party and contempt for the democratic process Lieberman has demonstrated by refusing to abide by the results of the Democratic primary and vowing to run as an Independent if he loses that primary, rather than joining Lamont in pledging to support the people's choice in the primary;
(15) The selfish decision Lieberman made in 2000 to run for reelection to the Senate at the same time that he was the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, imperiling an otherwise safe seat as it put the Republican governor Rowland in a position where he could have appointed a Republican to succeed Lieberman in the seat had Gore been sworn into office;
(16) The public remarks Lieberman made during the 2000 recount which undercut the Gore campaign's recount effort during crucial moments;
(17) Lieberman's ties to corporate interests, including the pharmaceutical industry, credit card industry, and Big Oil;
(18) The fact that Lieberman introduced a bill that would award an array of new government "incentives" to companies like GlaxoSmithKline to produce more vaccines--notably patent extensions on other products, at a cost of billions to governments and consumers during a period when his wife was employed by Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm whose clients included GlaxoSmithKline. As Joe Conason has noted, that legislation provoked irritated comment by his hometown newspaper, the New Haven Register, which in an editorial headlined "Lieberman Crafts Drug Company Perk," noted that his bill was even more generous to the pharmaceutical industry than a similar proposal by the Senate Republican leadership.
(19) Lieberman's support for Congress' intervention in the Schiavo case.
The Terri Schiavo debate was a transparently political, cynical debate. Congress had no business inserting itself in a family matter that had already been addressed and resolved by the State courts in numerous appeals.
In the lengthy court battles that ensued, the courts consistently sided with Michael Schiavo. Terri Schiavo's autoposy provided strong support after the fact for the notion that Terri Schiavo was in a hopelessly vegetative state.
The fact that politics of the most cynical sort is what motivated the Congressional debate is evidenced by, among other things, the memo which surfaced which was authored by one of the aides of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Also, who can forget Frist's "diagnosis" from miles away which was based on a selectively edited video tape?!;
Nevertheless, Lieberman was one of the Democrats who was most vocal and full throated in his support for the intervention in what should have been a personal family matter by both the Florida State legislature and Congress. Lieberman not only supported changing federal law to allow yet another federal appeal of the case, but he even stated on Russert's show that "if it were up to him, he'd reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube in order to keep her alive";
(20) The fact that Lieberman voted for Attorney General Gonzalez, who thinks the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" and supports torturing detainees who are held indefinitely without trial or access to attorneys;
(21) The fact that Lieberman voted to confirm "Heckuva Job, Brownie", Michael Brown to head FEMA, even though he had no serious emergency management experience whatsoever;
(22) The fact that Lieberman voted to confirm Condaleeza Rice as Secretary of State;
(23) According to a study prepared by the National Journal in its February 26, 2006 issue, which considered votes on economic, social, and foreign policy issues, Lieberman has the MOST conservative voting record of any blue-state Democrat in the Senate. That study also indicates that Lieberman has a more conservative composite voting score than 37 of the 44 Senate Democrats and a more conservative record than the one Independent (Jeffords.) Only 7 Democrats in the Senate have a more right wing voting record than Lieberman. Thus, Lieberman has a MORE conservative voting record than 84% of Senate Democrats. With respect to foreign policy issues, only one Democrat (Ben Nelson) has a more right wing voting record;
(24) The fact that Lieberman is a disingenuous hypocrite. As Joe Conason has noted:
-He has threatened to bolt his party, even as he accuses Ned of being a Republican.
-He is the leading recipient of defense-related campaign contributions, and accuses Ned of "profiting from the war."
-Lieberman has spent over $5 million and will outspend his opponent by millions, and accuses Ned of trying to buy the campaign.
-Lieberman is ethically challenged by his campaign contributions and personal finances, and goes after Ned for supposedly the same.
-Lieberman attacked Lamont for having Halliburton stock and then it came to light that he himself had Halliburton stock as well;
(25) The fact that Lieberman's campaign received a $1000 contribution directly from Walmart's PAC (which he claims was returned) as well as thousands of dollars in indirect contributions from Walmart (i.e., his campaign has accepted contributions from several PACs that had received contributions from Walmart's PAC). Specifically:
The well respected non-partisan site Political Money Line reports that Walmart Stores PAC contributed $10,000 to the RETAIL INDUSTRY LEADERS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE AKA RETAIL LEADERS PAC which in turn, on June 29, 2006, contributed $1,000 to Joe Lieberman's senate campaign.
The site Political Money Line also reports that that Walmart Stores PAC contributed $5,000 to the ROCKY MOUNTAIN PAC, and that the Rockey Mountain PAC contributed $1,000 to Joe Lieberman's senate campaign on August 4, 2005.
The site Political Money Line also reports that Walmart Stores PAC contributed $10,000 to the PRIORITY PAC and the Priority PAC contributed $2,100 to Joe Lieberman's senate campaign on June 8, 2006.
The site Political Money Line reports that during the 2005-2006 cycle, Walmart directly gave Lieberman $1,000.
By contrast, according to Political Money Line, Ned Lamont has not received a penny in contributions from Walmart, directly or indirectly;
(26) The fact that the Lieberman campaign is now offering to pay college Republicans to campaign for Lieberman;
(27) The fact that Lieberman was happy to be a relentless attack dog during his debates with other Democrats in 2000 and during his debate with Lamont this year, but went out of his way to be an accommodating, unthreatening, grandfatherly teddy bear during his debate with Cheney in 2000, leaving one to believe that he sees Democrats as the true enemy and is in fact quite comfortable with the right wing--its leaders and their views;
(28) The fact that Lieberman has made stuff up in its attack ads during this primary campaign: Lieberman approved an ad that aired across Connecticut which showed bumper stickers, supposedly distributed by the Lamont campaign, reading "No More Joe" and "NoMoreJoe.com," accusing Lamont of merely running against Lieberman and not on his own merits. The problem is that the bumper stickers and Web site are completely fake, dummied up entirely by the Lieberman campaign;
(29) The fact that, out of sheer desperation, Lieberman campaign has launched misleading attacks on Ned Lamont's voting record, accusing him of having voted to cut education, library, and health care funds.
-As a New Haven Register article notes, the Lamont votes referred to in some of Lieberman's attack ads and brochures were line-item cuts cast by Lamont from 1990 to 1994 when he was a member of the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation, involving amounts ranging from $150,000 to $450,000 in department requests with the final approved budget showing an increase.
-A Lieberman brochure's claim that Lamont cut library spending is contradicted in that article by Sean Goldrick, a member of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee. Sean Goldrick explains that Lamont actually approved a 15 percent increase.
-At the time of that line item cut in 1993, Lamont was starting to teach a course at Greenwich High School and increased the school budget by 4.2 percent.
-Using obscure votes out of context is something Lieberman himself decried in his book, "In Praise of Public Life," when he ran successfully against former U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker in 1988. "One of those ads was technically accurate, but didn't mention that the tax votes cited were cast seventeen years earlier," Lieberman wrote at the time of the race against Weicker. Now he is doing the same thing he decried in his book.
Taken together, these 29 reasons that Lieberman is in trouble amount to 29 arguments against the claims that Ned Lamont is a single issue candidate, and that Joe Lieberman is in trouble in his primary solely because of his vote on the Iraq war. Here are three additional arguments:
(Argument #30) Out of all of the Senate Democrats who voted for the Iraq war resolution, Lieberman is the ONLY who is facing a serious primary challenge this year. This is evidence that in Lieberman's case, something additional is at work other than opposition to Lieberman's position on the war.
(Argument # 31) All one has to do is listen to Ned Lamont's speeches, visit his campaign website (www.nedlamont.com/), view his TV ads (available on his campaign website and on youtube), read what his supporters on the blogosphere have to say (on sites like www.dailykos.com/, www.myleftnutmeg.com/, and www.dumpjoe.com/), or read the transcript of his one debate with Lieberman, to find ample evidence that Ned Lamont and his supporters have been motivated by a whole host of issues apart from opposition to this administration's wrongheaded, failed policies in Iraq, issues like health care reform, education, civil liberties, the rightward drift of the judiciary, and our deficit.
(Argument # 32) More evidence of the fact that Lamont is not a single issue candidate comes in the form of the endorsements he has received from, among other groups, NOW PAC, NARAL, the CEA, Connecticut Choice Voice, and AFT Connecticut (the state's second largest AFL-CIO union representing more than 26,000 professionals, including teachers, healthcare, higher
education, and public employees, has endorsed Ned
Lamont for U.S. Senate in Connecticut) have endorsed
Support for Several of the Claims Made Above:
1. Support for Social Security-Related Claims:
See also exchange between Paul Krugman and Lieberman at
2. To find support for claims regarding Lieberman's votes on the Alito nomination and the Bankruptcy Bill, see:
3. Information about Lieberman's role in the Schiavo drama:
(Kennedy's Statement on the Schiavo controversy)
(Lieberman's statement on Schiavo)
4. Link to National Jornal Report which demonstrates that Lieberman is more Conservative than 84% of his Democratic colleagues:
5. Cites that Relate to Lieberman's Walmart Connection:
6. Support for the Statement that Ned Lamont has not received a penny in
contributions from Walmart, directly or indirectly.
7. Discussion of Lieberman's spurious attacks on Ned Lamont:
8. Joe Conason Article on Lieberman-Lamont primary:
9. Information about Some of the Organizations that Have Endorsed Ned Lamont: