Friday, July 14, 2006

President Clinton Defends Lieberman

Speaking at an Aspen Institute conference last Friday, former President Bill Clinton went out of his way to defend Joe Lieberman and in the process punctured several holes in the irrational campaign to purge Lieberman from the Democratic Party.

First, Clinton, who strongly backed the war in Iraq from the outset, called the efforts of some Democrats to punish other Democrats who supported the war "the nuttiest strategy I ever heard in my life." Second, he took Lieberman's side in opposing a fixed timetable for removing troops from Iraq, saying, "it’d be an error to say we’re going to leave by X date."

And third, in noting Lieberman's strong Democratic credentials, Clinton said, "you think of all the other issues – he got endorsed in Connecticut by labor, by the environmental groups, by the gay groups, by all these other groups – we’ve got a world of differences between ourselves and the Republicans. So, I think the Democrats are making a mistake to go after each other."

All of which raises some obvious questions. Does this make Bill Clinton, whose positions track pretty much across the board with Joe Lieberman, a shill for the President Bush and the Republicans? Are the angry Lieberman-haters now going to suggest Bill Clinton is a disloyal Democrat? If not, how can they justify this obvious double standard?

FYI, below is the full transcript of Clinton's comments and the question that preceded them:

SPEAKER: As you know, the area where Democrats have, for the last, say, two decades been bedeviled – and telling the story involves the whole realm of national security, international security. Of the three elements of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ – Iraq, Iran, and North Korea – on any two of them, what would be the line the Democrats should tell, or even three?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, let’s go through them. On Iraq, first of all I think that we oughta be whipped, we Democrats, if we allow our differences over what to do now in Iraq to divide us instead of focusing on replacing Republicans in the Congress; that’s the nuttiest strategy I ever heard in my life. I mean look, there are a few Democrats, and Senator Lieberman – my friend – is one, who genuinely believed what the President believed, and Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld believed, and apparently what Senator McCain believes, and a number of other people, which was “we should just get rid of Saddam whether he’s got any weapons or not, and it doesn’t matter if we let the U.N. inspectors finish.” That was also the position of every Israeli politician I knew, by the way. There were a lot of people who believed that; most Democrats didn’t.

But the question is, once you break the eggs, you have some responsibility to make an omelet, or as General Powell used to say: “If you take it you own it.” What? If you break it you own it, so we gotta make an omelet. So, the issue is, what should we do? I like what the Levin/Biden/Reid crowd that Hillary was involved in; I like that resolution. They said, “We don’t think it’s right to have a fixed timetable for withdrawal.” Why send a signal to the people that are trying to keep Iraq divided and tear it up when we’re gonna go? Would you make any political deals if you knew you could just hang around and maybe get what you want? On the other hand, I think staying forever in what is now a political as well as a military situation is an error. So, I think we oughta say what the Levin thing is, but I don’t think we ought to demonize the people that say we should set a fixed date for withdrawal.

And in a case of a guy like Lieberman, you know, you think of all the other issues – he got endorsed in Connecticut by labor, by the environmental groups, by the gay groups, by all these other groups – we’ve got a world of differences between ourselves and the Republicans. So, I think the Democrats are making a mistake to go after each other instead of…for a situation none of them created; it’s bewildering to me – we ought to be talking about our differences. But what I favor on Iraq, basically I think it’d be nice if we could draw down, it’d be nice if we had some more special forces to send there, it’d be nice if we could, you know, we can make this work. But, the main thing is they’ve got a new government; we’ve got to give them a chance to resolve the political situation, and I think my own view is it’d be an error to say we’re going to leave by X date.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: What you refer to as "an irrational purge" is called a Democratic primary here in America.

7/14/2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

The problem with Clinton's argument is that Lieberman is not really a Democrat. If Lieberman behaved like a Democrat his support would not have dried up. Hell, if Lieberman had even been to our state in the past six years he'd probably still have support here.

7/14/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Go Bill! A gradual drawing without a publicized end-date (which would inevitably lead to slaughter of troops and citizens) is the best way to hand-over the day to day ministrations of Iraq to its new government. Leaving to soon is going to just tip over the pot. An immediate pull-out is irrational and certainly not thought out well at all.

7/14/2006 10:27 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

LTE from Joe Lieberman's college roommate in today's LA Times:

I feel I have a special obligation to respond to your July 6 editorial, "Lieberman's run." I am a liberal activist. I was also Lieberman's roommate at Yale.

Lieberman is a good and decent man personally, but he has also become a cheerleader for George Bush's bloody, arrogant and disastrous war on Iraq.

As a friend, I wish for him the best. As a Democratic voter, if I lived in Connecticut, I would be voting for Ned Lamont.

David Wyles
Playa del Rey

Joe Lieberman's problem is not that Democrats dislike him personally. Joe's problem is that he has repeatedly taken positions that are unpopular with Democrats, and have undermined them. This is why we have primaries - to hold elected leaders to account for their positions and decisions.

7/14/2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Kos Krew watch said...

Notice how the delusional kooks at Kos & Krew don't mention Clinton's suportive statements!

Can't confuse them with facts...

7/14/2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. Lieberman must really have the goods on Clinton. It seems like that's the only explanation that makes sense for Clinton still supporting Joe Lieberman after the backstabbing he did on the Monika Lewinsky thing.

And that raises another question. In the Joe Lieberman world of "principles", why is it a censurable offense to lie about a blowjob, but OK to lie to start a war?

7/14/2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...

I gather you mean this "backstabbing":

And I believe that talk of impeachment and resignation now is unwise because it ignores the reality that while the independent counsel proceeds with his investigation, the president is still our nation's leader, our commander-in-chief. Economic uncertainty and other problems here at home, as well as the physical and political crises in Russia and Asia and the growing threats posed by Iraq, North Korea and worldwide terrorism all demand the president's focused leadership. For that reason, while the legal process move forward, I believe it is important that we provide the president with the time and space and support he needs to carry out his most important duties and protect our national interest and security.

That time and space may also give the president additional opportunities to accept personal responsibility, to rebuild public trust in his leadership, to really commit himself to the values of opportunity, responsibility and community that brought him to office, and to act to heal the wounds in our national character.

In the meantime, as the debate on this matter proceeds and as the investigation goes forward, we would be advised, I would respectfully suggest, to heed the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln's second annual address to Congress in 1862.

With the nation at war with itself, President Lincoln warned, and I quote, "If there ever could be a time for mere catch arguments, that time is surely not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity."

7/14/2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger ReflectionEphemeral said...

If Democrats were as prone to hero-worship with Clinton as, say, Repubs are with Reagan, then this kind of statement would give people pause.

But all of this from Clinton says nothing about Lieberman's votes on Bush's SC nominees, his "undermine presidential credibility at our own peril" comment, his bizarre, defensive, ineffective campaign in this primary, his refusal to take a stand against the president's Social Security defunding plan until after it was already buried, etc.

I agree that setting a widely publicized timetable for Iraq withdrawal would not be a great strategy.

7/14/2006 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, does anyone here have any ideas about why Joe Lieberman has suddenly become such a national laughingstock?

It doesn't seem unfair, but it certainly is an interesting dynamic. Kind of like a car crash in slow motion.

7/14/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger Sundog said...

Here's the thing about Lieberman supporters, including present company:

They can't lay off the ad-hominems. They're ADDICTED to them, much like their close spiritual brothers, the Republicans.

It is important to these people that Lamont supporters be labeled as wild, insane, irrational, etc. It's the only way they know to play the game.

Sounds like a Republican to me.

They won't TOUCH the most damning charge of all: Lieberman has disrespected every Democrat in Connecticut with his independent bid. It will all come back to him.

7/14/2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Professor Doctor said...

"I think the Democrats are making a mistake to go after each other."

With this single line, President Clinton sums up the impetus behind opposition to Joe Lieberman. Nobody has gone after Democratic partisans like Lieberman has. As I'll repeat until I'm blue in the face, the reason I don't support Joe Lieberman is because, based on his on-air rhetoric, he seems to think my personal beliefs are more of a threat to American democracy than the religious right.

7/14/2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of people think Lord Lieberman is making a mistake by doing his "cut and run" from the Democratic party. Take General Wesley Clark, for example:

"I am a proud member of the Democratic Party, and I believe it is our party's responsibility to support the will of the Democratic primary voters in Connecticut. I personally look forward to supporting the candidate CT voters elect as the Democratic nominee. Though, as an aside, I must say I find it ironic that Senator Lieberman is now planning a potential run as an independent after he continually questioned my loyalty to the Democratic Party during the 2004 presidential primary."

Lieberman is a traitor and a sellout. He has betrayed the Democratic party and the United States of America by enabling the Bush war crimes agenda.

7/14/2006 4:57 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Sundog -
Ad hominem? That shows either a lack of honesty or a lack of understanding of what you're talking about. An ad hominem is attacking the messenger rather than the issues. That ENTIRE post was about Clinton's support for Lieberman BASED ON THE ISSUES and then asking Lieberman detractors how they square that with their claim that Lieberman is a GOP shill.

That whole post was about the issues, and wasn't even close to being an ad hominem. So your response only shows you to be dishonest or too lazy to actually respond to the post.

Ozaksut (and others) -
If you insist so much that it's terrible to tear down other Democrats, then why do you insist on doing it? I was the ONLY person to post on Ford for Senate when it was posted two days ago, while you have been busy tearing down Lieberman and the Democrats who support him.

It shows what a hypocrite you are that you have spent so much time tearing down a Democrat who has spent 20+ years fighting for civil rights, environmental protection, equal educational access, and ending our dependence on foreign oil, but SAID NOTHING THE ONE TIME YOU HAD A CHANCE ON THIS BLOG TO SUPPORT A DEMOCRAT WHO WAS RUNNING AGAINST AN ACTUAL REPUBLICAN.

Just face it. You're more interested in tearing down other Democrats than you are in taking back Washington from the Republicans. No point denying it. You've already proved it.

7/14/2006 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - the Lieberdems sound pretty shrill today. Are things not going too well now that someone with some balls is in this race (Lamont)?

7/14/2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

The Jewish Journal on why Lieberman Faces a Lose-Lose Proposition in CT-Sen Race:

If Lieberman were the centrist he claims to be, Connecticut would almost certainly vote for him. Unfortunately for Lieberman, Lamont is the moderate in this race.

7/14/2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

I think Bill CLinton coming out against the ProExpletive Left is wonderful--great news for Joe.

Gee, I don't think it will work out good for Ned and his Nutty Nutmeggers--wait, is that Nutty Ned and his Nutmeggers, or Ned and his Nutty Nutbloggers?


7/14/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My, aren't you clever?

7/14/2006 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was Lieberman when Clinton was in trouble?

Stabbing Clinton in the back, that's where

Joe Lieberman would rather have a smooch with Dubya than caucus with Barbara Boxer and the Democrats.

7/14/2006 7:56 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

1) It's hardly "stabbing someone in the back" to criticize them for genuinely unethical behavior. Adultery and perjury are wrong. Clinton was a good president, as Lieberman has said repeatedly, but when your friend does something wrong, it's hardly backstabbing to say so.

2) The video of Bush "kissing" Lieberman conveniently obscures both of their faces. Some clever blogger with video editing software released a sped-up version of the video that made it look like Bush was kissing his cheek rather than saying something in his ear, which seems more likely than the decidedly homophobic Bush kissing him. But in any case, Lieberman obviously never said he "enjoyed" it. On the contrary - he said he was "surprised" that Bush approached him so closely.

3) Lieberman does caucus with the Democrats. And he apparently enjoys that so much that he will continue to do it even if a few thousand Democrats vote against him on primary day, and he wins the election as an independent.

4) Barbara Boxer wouldn't have endorsed and campaigned for him if that were true.

7/14/2006 8:29 PM  
Blogger Politicgeek Pro said...

As for the "facts" to which someone referred to up-thread, to which kossacks supposedly does not refer: Bill Clinton's support is not a "fact", it is an _opinion_.

Bill Clinton explicitly supports the Levin plan for Iraq, which Lieberman both voted against and called "cut and run" on the Senate floor. All rethoric removed, The Big Dog only says the there are worse people out there to fight than Lieberman, namely the republicans, and that the energy should be directed there. As if there the were a zero-sum game of political energy out there. (He knows better, of course.)

He also avoids any talk of what happens after August 8th, where I am convinced he will support the democratic nominee, whomever that is. (Just like his wife.) This statement sets him up perfectly to support Lamont, should he win the primary. Actually, these days any news item of Bill Clinton taking the same position as his wife is extremely un-newsworthy these days.

Last point: Bill Clinton needs to read up on his own book, on what happened in 1970 Connecticut, and why he played a role in it.

7/15/2006 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"centristdem": The Kiss is what it is. There is clear photographic and video evidence of what happened, aired unadulterated this past week on the Colbert report. Why try to blame it on "bloggers" or Ned Lamont's mother? It is what it is. Why lie about it? Do you think people are completely stupid?

The lying problem is what has put Joe Lieberman in such a terrible position in this primary. The problem starts right at the top with Joe Lieberman himself:

1. Joe Lieberman consistently flings BS at us about Iraq. Just last year he gushed that people in Iraq were using cell phones and DirecTV. Woohoo. Nevermind that US soldiers and Iraqis were being killed by the score every month.

2. When Senate Democrats stood up to fire Rumsfeld for the incredible incompetence he's demonstrated in running the Iraq war, Lieberman was right there to defend him:

These three things are just the tip of the iceberg. In a very REPUBLICAN way, Lieberman feels the need to try to "create his own reality".

How stupid does Lieberworld think we are? Don't you understand that you have this track record, and that human beings can remember the lies and misdeeds?

7/15/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Nazgul35 said...

I have to say...this is the best parody site on Lieberman's supporters out there!

Does someone from the onion have anything to do with this?

It's priceless!!!

7/15/2006 9:28 AM  

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