But in truth, Joe Lieberman abandoned the Democratic Party and Democratic principals long ago. For years he has disparaged fellow Democrats and, time and again, provided a bi-partisan shield for Republicans' harsh right-wing policies. It is time for Connecticut Democrats to tell Joe Lieberman that he no longer represents us. It is time for us to vote for a true Democrat who's not afraid to stand up to Republican extremism. It is time to vote for Ned Lamont. And that is why I endorsed Ned Lamont and stood for election as a delegate to the Connecticut state party convention from Greenwich.
Eight years ago, Joe Lieberman led the effort to censure Democratic President Bill Clinton for nothing more serious than his dalliance with a young woman. Yet faced with Republican President George Bush's admitted criminal violations of the FISA law regulating spying on American citizens, Joe Lieberman can't be bothered even to consider censure. Lieberman says that he "isn't inclined simply to scold the president."
Joe Lieberman has long served as George Bush's leading Democratic supporter of the fiasco that is the Iraq War. Not only did Joe Lieberman vote for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, he introduced the measure on the Senate floor. Most Democrats now understand that the Bush Administration deliberately deceived the American people with distorted and falsified intelligence. Joe Lieberman, however, even though he knows that there were no WMD's and that al Qaeda had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11, continues to back the war and resolutely supports the man responsible for those deceptions- George Bush.
Joe Lieberman refuses to see or admit the truth that we are fighting a domestic Sunni insurgency in Iraq, and that the country is descending into sectarian civil war. Following a press luncheon in November of last year in Baghdad attended by Lieberman, Time Magazine's Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware reported, "Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot, or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to. And yet, he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting."
Those who pushed us into this mistaken war in Iraq, including Chris Shays and Joe Lieberman, must be held accountable for the disaster they've helped create and for the sacrifice of nearly twenty thousand brave young Americans who have been killed and wounded needlessly. We must also acknowledge that those, including Chris Shays and Joe Lieberman, who continue to support the open-ended occupation of Iraq, against all evidence that occupation is destabilizing the country and inflaming the insurgency, are incapable of helping bring this conflict to an end. Joe Lieberman and Chris Shays' policy of "more-of-the-same" in Iraq is wrong.
Yet more reprehensible is Joe Lieberman's impugning the motives and patriotism of those who rightly oppose Bush's war. Joe Lieberman was wrong when he asserted that, "In matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." He was wrong to criticize Democratic opponents of the Iraq War by saying he is "disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead." It is the patriotic duty of Americans to stand up against our president's policies when we see that they are wrong. It is right to oppose this senseless war that every day kills or wounds nearly twenty Americans and that has drained our country of nearly a third of a trillion dollars of its wealth.
For years, Joe Lieberman has repeatedly abandoned his fellow Democrats and espoused right-wing policies antithetical to Democratic values. Commenting on Lieberman's positions during his 2004 presidential bid, conservative columnist Byron York wrote in the National Review that, "the truth is, a number of Lieberman's statements could have been written by the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign."
Joe Lieberman was the first Democrat to support George Bush's drive to privatize Social Security, telling The Hartford Courant in January last year, ''If we can figure out a way to help people through private accounts or something else, great.'' He also assisted Bush's privatization drive by repeating the falsehood that ''waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security.'' Paul Krugman wrote that, "At a time when the Democrats can say, without exaggeration, that their opponents are making a dishonest case for policies that will increase the risks facing families, Mr. Lieberman gave the administration cover by endorsing its fake numbers." Faced with outrage from Democrats, Lieberman later flip-flopped on the issue. But does anyone believe that, if reelected, he will not once again come to the support of George Bush's privatization scheme?
Joe Lieberman helped insure that the Republicans' draconian bankruptcy bill passed the Senate last year, a bill, backed by the credit card industry, that makes it far more difficult for average Americans to get out from under crushing debt. In doing so, Lieberman ignored the fact that over half of all Americans who file for personal bankruptcy do so because they are overwhelmed by medical expenses related to serious illness. While Joe Lieberman voted against the final bill, he made sure that it passed by refusing to support a Democratic filibuster effort. Paul Krugman wrote, "(Lieberman's) vote against the bill was an empty gesture. On the only vote that opponents of the bill had a chance of winning -- a motion to cut off further discussion -- he sided with the credit card companies."
Lieberman did the same when it came to the Bush Administration's judicial and other executive branch nominations, including that of extreme conservative Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. While he voted against Alito's confirmation, Lieberman assured Alito's ascension to the high court by once again voting against a Democratic filibuster attempt. He also voted to confirm Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, even though Gonzales had referred to the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and had helped formulate legal justifications for the use of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
Joe Lieberman thumbed his nose at his fellow Senate Democrats as the only Democratic Senator to agree to join the Republican-dominated committee that whitewashed George Bush's incompetent handling of the Hurricane Katrina response. And, proving that he will almost never criticize any action taken by George Bush, Joe Lieberman this month refused to distance himself from the administration's bizarre decision to approve the acquisition of port handling facilities in the United States by a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates without vetting by Congress.
As one whose mother suffered for years with Alzheimer's before finally succumbing to that disease, I found Joe Lieberman's support for the right wing's attempt to intervene in the Terry Schiavo controversy particularly galling. It is wrong for the government to insinuate its authority into painful and intensely private end-of-life decisions that should of right be left to family members and doctors.
But perhaps Joe Lieberman himself expressed his problem with Democratic voters when he asked recently, "do we want a politics that's so us and them, Democrats against Republicans, that we forget what's in the national interest?" It appears that Lieberman has moved so close to the Republicans that he can't understand that we Democrats believe that it is most assuredly in the national interest to stand up against the disastrous policies that the Republicans are inflicting on this country.
In Ned Lamont, Connecticut voters have a man who will never be called "the Republicans' favorite Democrat." Ned Lamont is standing up for our national interest by opposing Republican policies that are bankrupting our country, ruining our moral standing in the world, and neglecting the needs of Americans here at home. Ned Lamont stands for Democratic values: for better public schools, not vouchers; for protection of Social Security, not a high-risk investment scheme; for a national health care system, not the broken structure that leaves 45 million Americans uninsured and strains our businesses to the breaking point; and for an end to the Iraq War, not an open-ended continuation of George Bush's failed strategy.
I am proud to support Ned Lamont's candidacy for the United States Senate. and I am proud to have been elected as a delegate to the Connecticut Democratic convention pledged to vote for Ned Lamont.
(NB 16 of the 22 delegates to the convention from Greenwich, Connecticut pledged to support Lamont; not one endorsed Lieberman for reelection.)
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