This has me wondering why is Harry Reid praising Joe Lieberman? On Sunday's CNN’s Late Edition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he recognizes what Joe Lieberman said and did during the campaign was “wrong” and “improper,” telling host John King, “if we weren’t on television, I’d use a stronger word of describing what he did.” But he added, “Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase, Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.”
Despite his strong endorsement of Senator John McCain’s right-wing policy platform in the 2008 presidential election, a number of prominent Democratic senators are now defending Joe Lieberman and his position of leadership in the Democratic caucus, arguing that he is a key ally in furthering the progressive agenda.
As I pointed out above Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has argued that “Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.” We have also seen Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana saying, “I think we had to just let bygones be bygones. We’re going to need him on healthcare and energy independence and education and a whole lot of other things.”
Even President-elect Barack Obama has informed party officials that he wants Joe Lieberman to continue caucusing with the Democrats in the 111th Congress, though he says nothing about Lieberman maintaining his chair of the Homeland Security and Government Reform committee. I do think this at least should be the price of Joe's back-stabbing. Let Lieberman remain within the caucus if he wants, but he should lose all leadership responsibility.
Lieberman has insisted that he will split from the Democrats if his homeland security position is stripped, and I say fine, then it is his decision. It is unclear whether Obama would be comfortable with Lieberman maintaining his current committee post.
While Lieberman has supported progressive policies in the past, including advocating on behalf of the environment and civil rights, his recent record demonstrates that he’s no longer a progressive.
In a new report, ThinkProgress documents Lieberman’s significant shift to the right in both foreign and domestic policy. Some examples from the report:
– Said Investigating Response To Katrina Would Be Playing ‘Gotcha’: Lieberman said he was not interested in “looking back, and assigning blame would be a waste of Congress’ time.” Lieberman said he was reluctant to mount an investigation of the failures of the initial response, saying “We don’t want to play ‘gotcha’ anymore.” [Chicago Tribune, 1/20/07]
– Claimed That A Progressive Economic Stimulus Would Lead To A Depression: Speaking at Dartmouth University, “Lieberman compared Democratic presidential
candidate Senator Barack Obama’s economic plan to former president Herbert Hoover’s approach, which he said ‘turned a recession into a depression.’” [The Dartmouth, 10/24/08]
– Supported Attorney General Alberto Gonzales To The Bitter End: Reacting to Gonzales’s resignation, Lieberman commented, “The Attorney General’s resignation
removes a distraction from the important work of the Department of Justice,” but added, “As he leaves public service, the Attorney General deserves our appreciation for his work for our nation.” [Senate Website, 8/27/07]
– Suggested That Obama Could Be A Marxist: When asked if Obama is “a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case,” Lieberman replied, “Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question.” [Fox News, 5/14/08]
Jane Hamsher has more in a blog post titled "The Case Against Lieberman."