Since becoming an independent in 2006 to retain his Senate seat, Joe Lieberman has made a difficult bedfellow for many Democrats. His decision to caucus with the Democrats allowed Democrats to set the agenda and to place their own members as chairs of Senate committees. However, Lieberman has continued to be an outspoken supporter of President Bush’s war policies and has also endorsed Sen. McCain. The “Joe Lieberman Must Go!” campaign, started by Brave New Films, calls for Democrats to kick Lieberman out of the caucus, which would leave the Democrats in the minority.
MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: A new campaign has been launched, called Joe Lieberman Must Go, calling for Senator Lieberman to be removed from the Democratic caucus and stripped off his chairmanship. The campaign is accompanied by a video produced by Brave New Films, which documents Lieberman’s support of President Bush and of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
NEWS SHOW HOST: —political love affair blossoming in Washington came at the beginning of this year, when the president bestowed a little smooch. Last week, it seemed no one at the White House could stop talking about the object of their affections:
JAMES TARANTO, THE WALL STREET JOUNAL: Joe Lieberman is the most steadfast supporter of the Iraq War among the Democrats, and one of the most steadfast on either party.
JOE LIEBERMAN, SENATOR (ID-CT): We can’t leave it at that. I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians.
NEWS SHOW GUEST: Senator Lieberman every day is calling for a war against Iran and probably Syria.
ANN COULTER, PUNDIT: I think he should just come all the way and become a Republican.
The campaign also includes a petition, which reads:
TEXT ON SCREEN: We cannot tolerate a leader of the Senate Democratic caucus who supports George Bush and McCain’s war in Iraq. We cannot tolerate a Democratic chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee who endorses and stumps for McCain. We call on the Senate Democratic Steering Committee to strip Joe Lieberman of his chairmanship and his leadership role.
PALEVSKY: I’m joined now by Sam Greenfield, the radio talk show host from WVNJ in the New York area. So, Sam, is this outrage justified?
SAM GREENFIELD, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, 1160 WVNJ: Well, the outrage is justified, because Joe Lieberman has turned out to be a self-serving turncoat. But it’s really not practical to remove him now. It’s really not practical to anger him now. I know this sounds funny (it’s like saying except for the Holocaust, he didn’t have a problem with Nazi Germany), but except for the war on Iraq, he caucuses to the Democrats. They [inaudible] his vote. They have a razor-thin majority in the Senate, and Bush has six months to go. And if they lose that majority, they also lose the chairmanship; they lose the right to stifle debate; they lose the right to end filibusters. They cannot [inaudible] Joe Lieberman. Even though he has in fact jumped sides, they can’t have him out of the caucus. They can’t. What they should do is wait until the elections come and go. Presumably there will be a larger Senate majority of Democrats. Then they can do what they want. But right now, showing the anger, that’s fine; showing the disapproval, that’s fine. He deserves it. But you can’t remove him now. It’s just not worth it.
PALEVSKY: So really the Democrats should be thankful that, since he’s an independent, he’s caucusing with them and giving—you know, he’s given Senator Reed his job, basically, hasn’t he?
GREENFIELD: Well, yes, but having said that, I don’t trust Joe Lieberman. I think Joe Lieberman is a completely amoral character. And I’ll tell you what, it goes back years. When Bill Clinton was having his Monica Lewinsky imbroglio, Joe Lieberman went on the floor of the Senate to condemn this, and he said, “I do this as a friend.” If you had a friend who’s committing adultery, would you hold a press conference to condemn him? Would you make it public that you were condemning him? No. You would take him aside in private and say, “What are you doing?” But you wouldn’t go on the floor of the Senate for public record to condemn it. He is a self-serving demagogue. All that this is about is Israel. It’s about Joe Lieberman thinking—wrongly—that a war in the Middle East helps Israel, when nothing could be further from the truth. So it’s not only that he’s wrong; he’s not that bright.
PALEVSKY: So this campaign might be an effort to goad him into keeping quiet and stay hushed during the campaign, rather than get him out of the Democratic caucus.
GREENFIELD: The only way you’re going to get Joe Lieberman to hush is to go to Home Depot and buy duct tape and put it on his mouth.
PALEVSKY: Will the Republicans bring him into the fold after this next election if he’s not needed by the Democrats anymore?
GREENFIELD: Here’s what I would do if I was the Democrats. If Obama gets elected and the Democrats pick up five or six more seats, making them filibuster-proof, I would put Joe Lieberman on the subcommittee to study seagull poop. That’s where I would put him. I’d give him a microscope and a couple of rubber gloves and have him investigate guano. That’s what I would do.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.