Lieberman Makes His Case
As tomorrow's CT-Dem primary approaches, Senator Joe Lieberman spoke out strongly and directly at his critics at an event in Easthaven, CT. The NYT has a report as well as the text of the speech. Calling it his "closing argument", Lieberman outlined his position on the Iraq war and also mentioned many issues on which he has differed with the president's policies.
After that litany Lieberman commented "Now with all that said, I will never hesitate to work across party lines when it helps me get something done for the people of Connecticut. ... That’s something that separates me from my opponent – I don’t hate Republicans. I know that some times the best way to get things done in the Senate for my constituents is through bipartisan cooperation. That doesn’t make me a bad Democrat. It makes me a better Senator."
On the war, Lieberman said that he feels a "heavy responsibility to try to end it as quickly and successfully as possible. ... I want to get our troops home as fast as anyone, probably more than most, and as I have repeatedly said, I am against an open-ended commitment. But if we simply give up and pull out now, like my opponent wants to do, then it would be a disaster to Iraq and to us. We would run a high risk of allowing Iraq to become like Afghanistan when the Taliban were in charge, and Al Qaeda had safe haven from which to strike us. It’s precisely because of the horrible cost of the war, and the impact that has had on public support for our mission in Iraq, that I have tried to present an honest, non-partisan, balanced picture of what’s happening on the ground there. I have been encouraged by the formation of the Iraqi unity government. But like a lot of Americans, both supporters and of opponents of the war, I am increasingly troubled by the sectarian violence in Iraq."
The difference between him and Lamont, Lieberman said, "is that I believe in solving problems. That you can remain true to Democratic ideals and find common ground to get things done for your constituents. That you can be compassionate in domestic policy and tough in foreign policy. That you can stand up for progressive values and still work with the other side to help people make a better life for themselves."
Lieberman's in the fight of his political life, and he knows it. If he loses tomorrow, an independent bid will be costly both financially and politically. I've said it before, and I'll say it again now - I disagree with Senator Lieberman sometimes, but his centrist credentials speak for themselves. The people of Connecticut, the US Senate, the Democratic Party, and the centrist movement in general would be ill-served by a Lieberman loss, in my view. Others will disagree, and they have every right in the world to do so. Whatever happens tomorrow is going to be an important moment in American politics, with major implications for not only this fall's elections, but also the upcoming presidential contest.