Why Joe Lieberman should lose

Joe Lieberman, Democratic Senator from Connecticut and Al Gore's running mate in 2000 is in the political fight of his life right now to retain his Senate seat in the Democratic primary in Connecticut.  A lot of the media coverage has done a disservice to those who oppose him (including me) by pretending that it is simply the fact that he supports President Bush and the Iraq War that has led to the intense opposition and strong challenge from Ned Lamont.  Yesterday's New York Time's editorial nailed it just right– Lieberman is an enabler.  Some of the key quotes:

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine
restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances,
international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation?s
longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any
questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the
terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced
Democrats who were ?more focused on how President Bush took America
into the war in Iraq? than on supporting the war?s progress.

At this moment, with a Republican president intent on drastically
expanding his powers with the support of the Republican House and
Senate, it is critical that the minority party serve as a responsible,
but vigorous, watchdog. That does not require shrillness or absolutism.
But this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman?s ability to command
Republicans? attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as
the president?s defender.

Mr. Lieberman prides himself on being a legal thinker and a champion of
civil liberties. But he appointed himself defender of Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales and the administration?s policy of holding hundreds of
foreign citizens in prison without any due process. He seconded Mr.
Gonzales?s sneering reference to the ?quaint? provisions of the Geneva
Conventions. He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican
friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation
about Iraq?s weapons. There is no use having a senator famous for
getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of
profound importance.

If you've been reading this blog, you know how I feel about issues of presidential power, which is why I really loved this editorial. 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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