Canards: Joe Lieberman is "a good Democrat"

It has been clear, at the least since his traitorous run for Senate in the 2006 general election against his party's nominee, that letting Joe Lieberman pass as an independent "Democrat" is deeply corrupting of the party's integrity and reputation. Just how far the senator's values deviate from his nominal consort can be seen in the chronicle of important votes taken since the Democrats took over Congress. It does progressivism no favor to have it tarred by a legislative record that is reflective not of a Democratic majority but of conservative dominance. If John McCain taps Jiltin' Joe for veep, the Democrats will have invited the GOP to present itself as the party of unity and comity. There's no hope of dumping the Connecticut conman now, but after November he will no longer be needed to reserve the bigger offices and inflated staffs for Harry Reid and company. If he's not the Republican vice president by then, Lieberman should be blocked from playacting the role of Democrat when the Congress begins a new run in January.

Things that don't exist in Harry Reid's world

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon, 2008-05-06)

Harry Reid was on The Daily Show last night (to promote his book, ironically entitled The Good Fight) and said that Joe Lieberman "supports us on virtually everything except the war." This is exactly what Reid has said repeatedly about Lieberman ("Joe Lieberman is my friend, and he is a good Democrat, votes with us on everything, except the war. So Joe Lieberman is easy to work with"). Two weeks ago, a NYT article on Lieberman quoted Reid praising him and then immediately added:
A member of the Senate Democratic leadership, who insisted on not being identified, said: "The bloggers want us to get rid of him. It ain't happening." He added: "We need every vote. He's with us on everything but the war."
Leave aside the insulting absurdity of talking about "the war" as though it's just one garden-variety political issue out of many. And also leave aside that Lieberman happens also not to be "voting with the Democrats" on the small matter of the presidential election. Beyond that, this claim that Lieberman votes with Democrats "on everything but the war" -- made repeatedly by Reid [and two weeks ago in the NYT by "a member of the Senate Democratic leadership" too scared to be quoted (if it's not Reid)] -- is a total falsehood, but nonetheless quite revealing about how the Senate Democratic leadership thinks.

Here are some non-war votes from Lieberman since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006:

Bill to ban the CIA from using waterboarding:
Democrats -- 45-1
Republicans - 5-46
Lieberman- NAY

Cloture vote on bill to restore habeas corpus (which Lieberman voted to abolish in 2006):
Democrats - 50-0
Republicans - 5-42
Lieberman - NAY

Vote to strip retroactive amnesty for telecoms out of the FISA bill (h/t Matt Browner-Hamlin):
Democrats -- 31-16
Republicans - 0-48
Lieberman - NAY

Vote to specify that FISA is the "exclusive means" by which the President can spy on telephone and email communications:
Democrats -- 49-1
Republicans - 9-40
Lieberman - NAY

Confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General:
Democrats -- 6-40
Republicans - 47-0
Lieberman - YEA

Cloture vote to proceed to consideration of No-Confidence Resolution for Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General:
Democrats -- 47-0
Republicans - 6-37
Lieberman - NAY

Obviously, Reid's repeated claim that Lieberman "votes with us on everything, except the war" is demonstrably false. But when he repeatedly makes that claim, I don't think Reid is consciously lying. It's just that, in Harry Reid's world (and in the world of the Democratic leadership generally), things like warrantless eavesdropping, the abolition of habeas corpus, telecom amnesty, the corrupt politicization of the Justice Department, chronic lying under oath, and the legalization of torture just don't exist. They don't matter. They're non-issues. And that is precisely why those radical, destructive measures are continuously permitted -- approved and endorsed -- by the Reid-led, Democratic-controlled Senate.

UPDATE: Several commenters and emailers, including Paul Dirks, argue that Reid views all of the above-listed issues as being part of "the war," broadly defined. Maybe. But if Reid and his comrades actually embrace the rhetorical deceit that things like the abolition of habeas corpus, warrantless eavesdropping, telecom amnesty, torture and Alberto Gonzales' behavior are all part of "the war" -- whatever that might mean -- then (a) that's even worse than the explanations I offered and (b) it makes the statement that Lieberman "votes with us on everything, except the war" all the more misleading and/or meaningless, since "the war" defined that way encompasses most matters of significance. -- Glenn Greenwald
See also: Harry Reid Still Providing Cover for Joe Lieberman by Jane Hamsher (Firedoglake). In a recent interview, the Senate Majority Leader white-washes Joe Lieberman's voting record. The rest of the story.

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