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What’s With the Left’s Hate for Lieberman?

January 19th, 2011 at 5:29 pm | 41 Comments |

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Over at Slate, rx Emily Bazelon is listing the reasons she “hates” Joe Lieberman.  The reasons illuminate the mind of what Michael Barone calls “gentry liberalism.”  What makes Bazelon’s admission so revealing is that she dislikes Joe Lieberman for all of the bipartisan things he’s done over the years.  She hates that he constantly voted to prevent Saddam Hussein and later jihadis from killing Iraqis.  She hates that he voted in accord with his state’s largest industry (insurance).  She hates that he criticized Bill Clinton for sleeping with Monica Lewinsky and lying about it.  She hates that he refused to make Catholics kill other people’s unborn babies.  She hates that he did not beat Dick Cheney in the Vice-Presidential debate.  (Failing to note that Cheney always beats whoever is against him in a debate on national security).  Oh, and he voted for less restraints on the securities industry than Bazelon wants.

This is a perfect synopsis of why the gentry liberalism that Bazelon and Slate represent is both toxic and rarely successful outside its coastal enclaves.  Joe Lieberman protected the jobs of his constituents rather than march in lockstep to her ideology.  He voted against tyranny abroad whenever he could.  He always voted for abortion, public funding of abortion, and access to abortion.  His one transgression was he was not going to force people who did not want to aide taking a human life in any form to do so.  Joe Lieberman voted against every count of impeachment against Bill Clinton, he just pointed out that that was not behavior we expect of a President.  Bazelon sees this as a gift to Clinton’s enemies.  So a proper Democrat cannot even state that a President sexually exploiting a young intern and then lying about it under oath in a legal preceding is not party policy without bringing down the wrath of  Bazelon.

In full disclosure, Joe Lieberman is the last Democrat I voted for in a general election.  In 1988, I changed my registration from Democrat to Republican but voted for him over the liberal Lowell Weicker.  In 2006, most people I knew in Greenwich voted for the ur-gentry liberal, Ned Lamont.  Oh the joy at seeing that wealthy little scion of the smugocracy get crushed by a guy who voted to crush Saddam Hussein – all in liberal Connecticut!

Joe Lieberman is no conservative.  But for a quarter of a century he has voted for America’s security over the short-sighted dovishness of his party.  His deviations from liberal orthodoxy were few, and more rhetoric than reality. But that was enough to make him a hate figure on the Left.  According to Bazelon they have a joking game they play as to why they hate Joe Lieberman.  Even if she jests, it is significant that a writer for a liberal outlet feels free, a few weeks after the orgy of civility mongering from the Left, to joke about “hate” for a mild-mannered, sitting Senator from Connecticut.  Ezra Klein, of all people, has a balanced, civil, assessment of the Senator from a gentry liberal standpoint.  But the comments back up Bazelon.


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41 Comments so far ↓

  • Houndentenor

    Really? You don’t get it? Do you also not get the the right’s hate for the “RINOs”? Same thing, different party. What some on the left and on the right don’t seem to understand is that it’s not possible to maintain a majority full of people who will vote the party line 100% of the time.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Lieberman declined to run for reelection because he was going to get smoked. The left, right, and center all grew tired of him.

    It was not merely Lieberman’s support of the the catastrophic invasion of Iraq that drew liberals’ ire, it was his jingoist rhetoric. He argued that we “undermine presidential credibility at our own peril,” a profoundly undemocratic sentiment, which he happily forgot he believed once Pres. Obama was inaugurated. It was his wrongheadedness on the most important foreign policy decision of at least a generation, combined with his smug efforts to pollute the discourse, that earned himself the dislike of most Democrats and most Connecticuters.

    Also, because real life is not a comic book, people disagree with his pro-invasion stance and rhetoric not because they thought Saddam Hussein was good, but because actions have unintended consequences. (Conservatives once believed that, too). We’ve made more people hate us, lost thousands of lives, and unleashed chaos that has taken the lives of 100,000 to 1 million Iraqis.

    The US is not God nor Superman. We’re not omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent. If we were, you would hate yourself for constantly not acting to prevent SLORC from killing Burmese.

  • nuser

    Lieberman just lost his way for a while.

  • nuser

    elvis
    Remember Carter and the hostages? Well at the time I thought it was a good idea, only very badly executed. When Saddam kept coming, then again I thought , do like Carter only better.Would (maybe)
    save some lives. Crazy , huh.

  • Rabiner

    John Vecchione:

    Beyond using a new adjective for liberals ‘gentry’, you seem to spin every position into something it wasn’t.

    “What makes Bazelon’s admission so revealing is that she dislikes Joe Lieberman for all of the bipartisan things he’s done over the years. She hates that he constantly voted to prevent Saddam Hussein and later jihadis from killing Iraqis. She hates that he voted in accord with his state’s largest industry (insurance). She hates that he criticized Bill Clinton for sleeping with Monica Lewinsky and lying about it. She hates that he refused to make Catholics kill other people’s unborn babies. She hates that he did not beat Dick Cheney in the Vice-Presidential debate. (Failing to note that Cheney always beats whoever is against him in a debate on national security). Oh, and he voted for less restraints on the securities industry than Bazelon wants.”

    Lets break this paragraph down sentence by sentence:

    “She hates that he constantly voted to prevent Saddam Hussein and later jihadis from killing Iraqis”

    You mean he supported the war in Iraq. I didn’t support the war in Iraq and many Democrats did not based on it being a preemptive war (not to mention the lack of evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction).

    “She hates that he voted in accord with his state’s largest industry (insurance)”

    Considering he killed the Public Option in the HCR debate, its understandable that she wouldn’t like him for this act. The public option was expected to save money and provide competition and choice into the market (both conservative concepts) but he demanded it removed.

    “She hates that he refused to make Catholics kill other people’s unborn babies”

    If the only hospital in your area is a Catholic one then it really doesn’t matter if abortion is legal since you can’t get access to it anyways. Can you accept that abortion as a procedure is legal? I can since it actually is.

    “Oh, and he voted for less restraints on the securities industry than Bazelon wants”

    Making the financial regulation have less teeth isn’t something I’d support and a lack of regulation is one of the reasons for the collapse of 2008.

    “This is a perfect synopsis of why the gentry liberalism that Bazelon and Slate represent is both toxic and rarely successful outside its coastal enclaves. Joe Lieberman protected the jobs of his constituents rather than march in lockstep to her ideology.”

    Those coastal enclaves that comprise at least 35% of the Nation’s population (probably more) you mean? And protecting his constituents jobs rather than passing good policy is the same sort of thing you demonize Union leaders for doing: protecting their member’s jobs over the sake of the nation. Some hypocrite you are.

    “He voted against tyranny abroad whenever he could.”

    I wonder why we haven’t invaded any other countries with people like Lieberman in office then….

    And please for the love of all, what in the hell do you mean by ‘gentry’ liberal? Is this your new slur?

  • Nanotek

    (1) “The reasons illuminate the mind of what Michael Barone calls “gentry liberalism.”
    (2) “This is a perfect synopsis of why the gentry liberalism”
    (3) “of the Senator from a gentry liberal standpoint”

    “No Labels” … got it

  • armstp

    What would people on the right do if someone of the stature of oh say VP Candidate Sarah Palin spoke at the next Democratic convention and supported the Democratic presidential candidate over the Republican?

  • armstp

    Top Ten Horrible Things done to Us by Outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman

    10. Undermined Jeffersonian ideals by joining with George W. Bush to throw government money to religious organizations.

    9. Revived, with Lynn Cheney, McCarthyite techniques in order to harass and intimidate university professors who dared attempt to explain the historical and political context for the rise of al-Qaeda and its attacks on the United States. He even put out a blacklist of 40 university professors and administrators, including the President of Wesleyan University.

    8. In 2004, revived the war-mongering, militarizing, anti-progressive ‘Committee on the Present Danger‘ to fight the anti-war movement and keep the US in Iraq, as well as to promote war on Iran.

    7. Deprived Democrats of the votes to pass a single-payer option universal health care law, acting as client of big Medicine instead of looking out for ordinary people.

    6. Called Israeli’s pre-planned assault on defenseless little Gaza in 2008-2009 “self defense” on Israel’s part.

    5. Intimidated Amazon into ceasing to allow Wikileaks to be hosted on its servers, even though Wikileaks is not proven to have done anything illegal. Urged that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be prosecuted for espionage.

    4. Urged prosecution of the New York Times for publishing US State Department cables given to the NYT by Wikileaks, despite the precedent of the Pentagon Papers.

    3. Joined, in 2002, the Neoconservative ‘Committee for the Liberation of Iraq’ to get up a war of aggression on that country on false pretenses. His war killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and over 4000 US troops, threw Iraq into long-term instability, and made Iran a regional superpower.

    2. Repeatedly called from 2006 for aggression against Iran by the US Air Force.

    1. Defected to the Republicans in 2008 and tried to make Sarah Palin Vice President of the United States, saying ‘everyone should listen to Sarah Palin.’

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/top-ten-horrible-things-done-to-us-by-outgoing-sen-joe-lieberman.html

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Houndentenor, yeah, Lieberman campaigned for and spoke at the convention of John McCain and yet he lost not a single spot on any of his committees. Imagine if a Republican (actually, worse, someone who was an independent who caucused with the Republicans) did the same thing, he would have been stripped of everything. Reid and the Democrats did not punish him at all. Now as to the voters, JJV is upset for Democrats in CT. planning on doing precisely the same thing Republicans did in Utah, etc. replace him, in this case with a true Democrat (ie. one who doesn’t campaign for Republicans for President).

    As to his retirement, he doubtless read the polls and figured the hell with it. No one is entitled to a lifetime seat. He can’t run as a Republican, he can’t run as a Democrat and this time has no chance as an independent. If anyone has any problems with that, blame it on the voters of CT. but Bazelon? Take your internet pissing matches elsewhere.

    Now as to what some Slate writer writes, who cares? I am glad Reid did what he did, Lieberman voted for Obamacare and for the repeal of DADT (in fact, he led the charge). For me, for those two things all was forgiven, but I am not a CT voter.

  • armstp

    lessadoabouteverything,

    He did not lose his spots on committees because the Democrats needed his 60th vote. It is as simple as that.

  • LauraNo

    She hates that he constantly voted to prevent Saddam Hussein and later jihadis from killing Iraqis…

    What a bunch of biased B.S. You should be writing over at RedState or World Net Daily. Sheesh.

  • Saladdin

    Ummm, how about the fact that he really considered being McCain’s VP.

  • talkradiosucks.com

    “Ummm, how about the fact that he really considered being McCain’s VP.”

    So?

    If McCain had chosen Lieberman as VP I would have considered voting for him. Of course, McCain didn’t choose him because he didn’t have the balls to act like a leader, and that’s all tied in with why he lost.

    Look, I too thought Lieberman was “disloyal” and deserved to be “punished” somehow. But as Noah Kristula-Green pointed out in a piece here earlier, that’s a misguided and short-sighted approach to politics, and the very sort of attitude that cost the GOP control of the senate in 2010.

    People always claim that they value independent thinkers, but you can’t say that and also try to “punish” people who stray from the pack.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    armstp, but at the time there was no 60th vote, he was the 58th. Remember that Franken was in the midst of a contentious recount and Specter was still a Republican. Now if you are claiming that Reid was prescient, fine, but I doubt it. I do agree that they had no reason to alienate him and drive him to the Republican party, but that is what politics is all about.

  • Houndentenor

    Since Lieberman just recently pulled off the repeal of DADT, I’m in a rather forgiving mood. (I feel the same way about Ted Olson for his arguments for overturning Prop 8.)

    Yes, Lieberman did plenty I didn’t like. And it’s hard to forgive those who led us into the Iraq war, not because I thought they were wrong but because of the lengths they went to in demonizing anyone who dared asked the important questions in what passed for a debate in 2002 and 2003. I remember it well. It’s also why I wouldn’t support Clinton for President in 2008. Supporting the rush into Iraq was in my opinion a demonstration of lack of judgment (and maybe even character). Others are free to disagree but that’s how I view that in 2011.

  • pnumi2

    Elvis Elvisberg

    “Lieberman declined to run for reelection because he was going to get smoked. The left, right, and center all grew tired of him.”

    I would also include to your list of left, right, and center, the unborn and the recently departed.

  • greg_barton

    What’s with the right’s hate for Arlen Specter?

  • greg_barton

    This is such a weak offering by John Vecchione that I think Frum should bust him down to the minor leagues for a while, you know, so he can work on his basic skills. May I suggest:

    1) High school debate clubs, so he can get p0wned by some fifteen year olds.
    2) Toastmasters!
    3) Any college Philosophy 101 class where at least half of the students are stoned.

    If he survives, then maybe he can go to the next level: senior citizen Stephen King book clubs!

  • politicalfan

    greg_barton- stole my line. lol.

  • pnumi2

    ” how about the fact that he really considered being McCain’s VP.”

    Does anybody know if he was offered the spot and turned it down? Or dismissed it in the press before it was offered?

    Because if it were offered and he accepted, it would have guaranteed him a place in the history books till the end of time. To have been a Vice Presidential candidate twice in eight years for the two different parties is the stuff of the Guiness Book of Records. Not to mention being the first Jew to be so honored.

    I don’t think he was offered it. If he had been, he would have taken the offer just for the place in our history. And then no one would know who Sarah Palin is. Imagine that.

  • jakester

    Gentry liberalism, is that like limo liberalism? Or is it the opposite of SUV conservatism with guns in the gun rack and a plastic Jesus on the dash conservatism?

    Like all fence straddlers, he is going to have a raft of enemies on both ends.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    I clearly remember Lieberman’s criticism of President Clinton’s behavior. Has Bazelon forgotten that, short of Lieberman’s critical remarks, Clinton might not have survived a conviction vote in the senate? There was a gaggle of moderate-to-conservative Democratic Senators (even Clinton’s fellow Arkanasan, Dale Bumpers) who were straddling the fence until Lieberman denounced Clinton; he probably saved his presidency.

    “Gentry liberalism, is that like limo liberalism”: probably, Jakester. Ned Lamont is nothing if not a limousine liberal. His defeat by Lieberman comprises probably at least half of the left’s contempt for the senator. If Ned Lamont were a union boss or a some sort of obscure Wellstonian college professor, Markos Moulitsos and Co. would still hate Lieberman, but not nearly as much they do now. Liberals revere wealth way more than they’ll publicly admit. (Also: witness the way liberals in Fairfield County nearly cost Dan Malloy the governor’s race last November by their lack of enthusiasm, due of course to Malloy’s defeat of Lamont in the primary. Malloy got just enough of the hard core liberal vote to pull out the slimmest of victories over Tom Foley, which is really too bad as I wanted Foley to win.)

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    It seems like Vecchione and I rarely agree on anything, but we’re apparently on common ground when it comes to Ned “Jimmy Neutron” Lamont.

    As I said on a different thread yesterday, Joe Lieberman’s defeat of Ned Lamont in the 2006 general election was probably the biggest blow ever struck against the sentimentality and snobbery of Limousine Liberalism.

    I remember the debate in New Haven in which Lamont’s cult worshippers unceasingly heckled Lieberman and tried to shut him down. At one point, Lamont interrupted the moderator to tell his young totalitarian darlings to zip their lips. When they persisted in their obnoxiousness, Lieberman hollered, “Your candidate, NED LAMONT, has asked you to be quiet!” Priceless, really. That line alone probably won Lieberman the debate, as well as the election.

  • SkepticalIdealist

    Lieberman actually said he opposed the public option solely on the grounds that progressives were for it. Reason enough to hate him. If there weren’t a million more, that is.

  • smilner

    If you actually read the Emily Brazelon article, you will find that except for her descriptions of her feelings of loathing for Lieberman, the entire article discusses his record, without distortion, and gives clear reasons why a progressive Democrat in Connecticut would have good reasons to loathe him. That’s well within the bounds of civility.

  • balconesfault

    Look – Lieberman won re-election in 2006 in no small part because he lied to voters – he told them that they should elect him so he could go to Washington and help elect a Democrat to be President in 2008.

    Whereupon he went to Washington and spent 2008 campaigning to defeat the Democratic Nominee.

    Someone who flat out lies to his constituency to that degree should never presume to run for office again. Lieberman was lucky by the end of 2008 that Connecticut didn’t have a recall provision.

    Had Lieberman announced in 2006 his intention to spend 2008 campaigning for the GOP if McCain was nominated, he’d have been dead in the water even in the General Election.

  • rubbernecker

    Ned Lamont is nothing if not a limousine liberal. His defeat by Lieberman comprises probably at least half of the left’s contempt for the senator. If Ned Lamont were a union boss or a some sort of obscure Wellstonian college professor, Markos Moulitsos and Co. would still hate Lieberman, but not nearly as much they do now. Liberals revere wealth way more than they’ll publicly admit.

    Are you kidding me? Lamont was the anti-war candidate. CT Democrats strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq and so rejected the hawkish Lieberman. Not to mention Lieberman’s slights against Obama during the campaign and at Lieberman’s jawdropping appearance at the Republican National Convention in support of McCain/Palin:

    “When others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, which would’ve been a disaster for the U.S.A. — when colleagues like Barack Obama were voting to cut off funding for our American troops on the battlefield — John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion…”

    This is not about money-worship.

  • mickster99

    Always with the broad and unsubstantiated broadly drawn generalizations about strawmen and their imagined hatefulness. As a leftist that’s why I hate JOHN VECCHIONE. But it must sell lots of Reagan/Bush 84 t-shirts and cool FrumForum coffee mugs.

  • Candy83

    The title of Mr. Vecchione’s article has me thinking he has a wicked sense of humor.

  • jquintana

    The left hates Lieberman because he’s a liberal with a brain. Liberals usually don’t use their brains, they only ‘feel’ their way through life. Joe doesn’t fit the profile, and that’s why liberals hate him so much—they never stop to think about any of the rational reasons for his stand on certain issues (the operative word in that sentence is ‘think’).

    Just like the old joke:

    An elderly man suffered a massive heart attack. The family drove wildly to get him to the emergency room. After what seemed like a very long wait, the ER doctor appeared wearing his scrubs and a long face. Sadly, he said, “I’m afraid Grandpa is brain-dead, but his heart is still beating.”

    “Oh, Dear God,” cried his wife, her hands clasped against her cheeks with shock. “We’ve never had a Democrat in the family before!”

  • Houndentenor

    About the VP “offer”… according to the book Game Change McCain wanted Lieberman for VP but party bigwigs said no. I don’t think Lieberman was ever officially offered the job. There were also rumors that Charlie Crist was being considered (which is hilarious). Palin was a hasty choice and one we all still suffer from.

  • sinz54

    Joe Lieberman may be the last of the liberal Democratic hawks. There used to be many: Scoop Jackson, Stennis, Sam Nunn. All gone.

    Many liberals forget (or try to suppress) the fact that in 1960, JFK ran to VP Nixon’s right on the Cold War, insisting that the Eisenhower Administration had created a “missile gap” with the Russians’ superior ballistic missiles and aggressive space program. Can you imagine something like that today?

    Starting in 1970, when young New Left radicals became ensconced on the Democratic National Committee for the first time, the Dem Party started to become the party of dovish antiwar protest. But there still used to be enough hawkish Democrats to keep it from going all the way over. These Democrats did not support the peacenik platforms of the party’s own nominees, McGovern and Carter.

    But now they’re gone, and we’ve now got a Black McGovern as President, the dream of the antiwar left for 30 years. He is desperately looking for a way to sell an American defeat in Afghanistan as somehow something good for the American people, so he can get the hell out of there. (How many wars can a superpower lose before it stops being a superpower?)

    Too bad for him, Obama’s hawkish words on Afghanistan are all on YouTube.

    YouTube, not WikiLeaks, is the biggest adversary of political duplicity we have today.

  • rubbernecker

    But now they’re gone, and we’ve now got a Black McGovern as President, the dream of the antiwar left for 30 years.

    Huh? Obama’s hawkishness on Afghanistan was part of his stump speech. I’m not sure how you get from there to “we’ve now got a Black McGovern as President”.

    UPDATE: Never mind. I see you have already decided that Obama lost Afghanistan.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    The left hates Lieberman because he’s a liberal with a brain. Liberals usually don’t use their brains, they only ‘feel’ their way through life.

    jquintana, you are truly jackass. I never say Conservatives usually don’t use their brains…because it would be an idiotic thing to say, unnecessarily belittling. The same is certainly true about Liberals.
    I know absolutely that I am far more intelligent than you are. I would crush you in any series of exams because I know how to use my brain. You are simply a reactionary little malicious troll who has not once exhibited any originality here at all.

    The simple fact is that the greatest minds throughout history have been free thinking Liberals willing to challenge Conservative thought. Your being completely oblivious to history though makes me unsurprised at your general stupidity, you will doubtless pick your nose and snort…”libruls dey be dum…heh heh heh”

  • lessadoabouteverything

    By the way on the other thread this is something jquintana posted with regard to Obama’s birth certificate:

    If this is truly an issue for Obama, then why not go through the same process, produce it, post it online, and tell all the birthers to shut the hell up?

    Being that it had been posted online well before the Presidential election and anyone with less than half a brain would have been aware of it it leads me to the inescapable conclusion that jquintana is either a total dipshit or has spent the better part of the past few years sitting in a cave somewhere, with both hands over her ears, with her eyes closed. Being I doubt the latter I must come to the conclusion it is the former; that she really is a stupid woman.

    You think you can blithely insult over half of America without a response? Hell I have defecated things that have more intelligence than you.

    Notice that there is no unwarranted accusations of racism. I am simply presenting the basic fact that anyone so stupid as to not know, while commenting on a political blog about the very topic, that Obama has posted his signed and sealed Birth certificate is a freaking idiot.

  • pnumi2

    Houndentenor

    The party big wigs saying ‘no’ sounds exactly right to me.

  • Houndentenor

    @pnumi2

    To be fair, most nominees for president get stuck with a veep they didn’t really want. Kerry wanted Gephardt not Edwards. I don’t think Reagan really wanted Bush. Etc etc. It’s usually a compromise to appease the runner-up faction of the party. I think Bush II chose Cheney as a first choice but that’s an exception.

    @others
    As for Obama being the “black McGovern”, if Obama were really that dovish wouldn’t the troops have already been pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanimo closed? Once again the right’s charges against Obama have nothing to do with reality.

  • pnumi2

    @Houndentenor

    I can be very unreasonable on the subject of George W. Bust and have opinions that will get me thrown out of polite company.

    I believe that George W.’s first term was really his father’s second term. I believe that Bush pere picked Cheney. I believe that Bush fils’ first order was a scrambled, dedicated cell phone which only called and received from the one his father had..

    I believe that Bush pere, former director of the CIA arranged, the whole charade about WMD and left Bush fils out of the loop.

    In a way wasn’t the hunting and capture of Saddam a sequel to the Noriega movie? And that episode was Bush pere’s baby.

    If watching legislation is like watching sausages being made, watching Real Politik is like watching someone drawn and quartered.

  • Rockerbabe

    Dems and other lefties do not hate Lieberman. He lacks dependability when it comes to the issues at hand. One never knows what he is going to do and who he will be stabbing in the back next.

    He is a lot like Georgia’s former governmor Zell Miller. Miller really was a republican in Dem’s clothing. He couldn’t get elected to anything as a republican in Georgia, so he lied about who and what he was and got himself elected in Georgia {I did not vote for the rat}. He then gets up on national TV at the republican conventions and endorses republicans over the Dems. He should have just been quiet or at the very least, changed his voting registeration to republican, but he didn’t. It was very sad and disheartening to see him do this; we were embarrassed for him; he really “shot himself in the foot” with that prank. He is not a welcome guest anywhere in GA where Dems are concerned. We are not disrespectful of him; he is just irrelevant to our concerns and deliberations. Lieberman is no better – he is a mercernary or a gun for hire. I am so glad he will not be around much longer.

  • Slide

    jquintana is either a total dipshit or has spent the better part of the past few years sitting in a cave somewhere, with both hands over her ears, with her eyes closed.

    I vote for dipshit

  • nuser

    Balcone
    It is called two-faced. In the Democratic Party, it might even be called treason