Two Degrees of Joe Lieberman

Last week I began a series called Get To Know a Neoconservative, based on the life, votes and organizations of one Joe Lieberman. This week, I decided to further analyze his claim that he's a good Democrat, because he casts some high-profile votes now and then that are seemingly progressive, all the while selling out his party in word and deed. In actuality, if you take a look the associations with which JoeWarrior is most comfortable, it usually doesn't take more than two degrees to get from Joe to the craziest send-someone-else's-kids-to-fight-an-unnecessary-war lunatics in all the land.

For example, Joe is currently emulating his old Hollywood-hating dance partner, neocon-nutjob Bill Bennett, by handing out flyers that play the race-card in his desperate bid for reelection. You may remember that part-time sociologist Bennett, when not tearing his rotator cuff pulling the grandma-slots at The Luxor in an oxygen-engorged private room, is busy offering helpful advice on how to reduce crime in this country--namely by aborting more African-American babies.

In August of 2000, accompanied by three-card Bennett, Holy Joe attended a confab to an audience consisting of members of (who else?) The Heritage Foundation and Progressive Foundation (we'll discuss them in second) glitterati. You can really feel the love for Democratic party here:

...Lieberman criticized his own party as much as Republicans...

He got his biggest applause -- and laughter -- when he called himself a Democrat "who is not ashamed to embrace a purportedly Republican idea like cutting the capital gains tax to spur economic growth -- and I'm not hesitant to say we shouldn't spend the peace dividend on new social programs."...

After the cheers, Lieberman paused. "That doesn't happen when I use that line on a Democratic audience," he said. (Hartford Courant, August 9, 2000)

Isn't that cute?

Now I don't think I have to explain the agenda of The Heritage Foundation, whose New-Right-Neanderthal policy prescriptions have been mucking up our country since 1973. But the Progressive Foundation, well that sounds pretty good, right? Until you pull the curtain, and find that it has now become the Third Way Foundation. And who has funded the Third Way Foundation? Why the same progressive forces who fund Heritage, The American Enterprise Institute and the rest of the Give War A Chance brigade: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Smith Richardson Foundation and The John M. Olin Foundation. Good Democrats, all.

So who else does Lieberman choose to hang out with in his spare time? And what does that tell us about him? Well, Joe once famously said he wasn't a neoconservative, "but some of my best friends are neocons." While the former is demonstrably false, he certainly got the latter part right.

Lieberman who probably could have sat on the boards of most any organization and consorted with, I don't know, let's call them progressives or Democrats, has chosen to spend the vast majority of his time breaking bread with virulent extremists from the wingnut-ward. Because time precludes me from going into all the right-wing groups Joe has seen fit to "advise," such as Brent Bozell's anti-nipple Parents Television Council and Lynne Cheney's pre-Horowtizian American Council of Trustees and Alumni , how about just his projects to propagandize this country into an unnecessary war that has weakened the national defense.

Starting in 2002, Holy Joe lent his name and time to an organization run by the "crazies," as Paul Krugman reminded us they were called during the Reagan and Bush I Administrations. At this time he began serving as an honorary Co-Chair on the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), with that other right-winger who prances around pretending to be a moderate, John McCain. The CLI was an offshoot of the infamous Project for the New American Century (PNAC), specifically set up in late 2002 to convince the Congress and public to support war with Iraq (at the behest of the Bushies, who were of course, as they claimed, still practicing diplomacy in Iraq).

While Democratic former-Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska sadly lent his name to this front-group, it was dominated by the silliest of the silly neoconservatives, including Jeane Kirkpatrick, Robert Kagan, Newt Gingrich Richard Perle, Bill Kristol and James Woolsey.

The kinds of folk who must have applauded Lieberman's statement long before 9/11 that "we missed important opportunities to topple Saddam Hussein in those important days after the cease-fire in the gulf war,"(Hartford Courant, August 4, 1992), and again only two months after the twin towers fell that "we must be unflinching in our determination to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Saddam Hussein meets every definition of a terrorist" (Connecticut Post, November 16, 2001).

That would be every definition, accept to the one, according to Richard Clarke, where someone had actually tried to commit an act of terror against the United States in almost a decade.

So JoeMania chose to hang during his free time with such voices of reason as Newt Gingrich, who has now said we are in World War III, because what's a little apocalypse between friends if it helps rally the Republican base during the midterms, and Richard Perle, who while mixing his business interests and foreign policy advocacy wrote a book saying we should preemptively attack: North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and presumably Mars. Woolsey also throws in an attack on Egypt for good measure. So there you have it, if you want to know whose interests are Joe's interests. As much as you hear him talk about his pro-environment voting record, you don't see Joe out during his spare time forming environmental advocacy groups, do you? Or abortion-rights? Or gay rights?

But as Holy Joe himself has said, "Some of this was because I followed Lowell Weicker and he was outspoken on those issues...You can't lead on everything" (Hartford Courant, October 7, 1994).

Nope, apparently only on issues that start misguided and region-destabilizing wars.