(NOTE: THIS IS AN ORIGINAL POST with BAR comments)
Why did Barack Obama save Joe Lieberman from being stripped of his top committee chairmanship? The short answer is, the two men “are equally cynical.” The most rightwing Democrat in the Senate actively campaigned for McCain/Palin, “believes in America’s war of terror, and in the ‘special relationship’ with Israel.” But Lieberman, with his vast financial connections, early on helped Obama “amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time.” Maybe Lieberman “wanted to make sure that the confident black man didn’t forget who was boss.”
“McCain considered choosing Lieberman as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin.”
Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman is an unrepentant proponent of United States government terror. He was enthusiastically in favor of the occupation of Iraq, advocating for war even before George W. Bush became president. Lieberman is the most vocal cheer leader for war against Iran, telling shameful lies about that nation in hopes of seeing the United States and Israel carry out a military attack. He is openly contemptuous of the rest of the Democratic Party, literally kissing Bush on the lips at the 2006 State of the Union address.
Whatever else may be said about him, Lieberman is not stupid. When he embarked on his plan to endorse John McCain, and disparage Barack Obama, his party’s nominee, he did so believing that he would not pay a price for his actions. So great was Lieberman’s confidence in his untouchability, that McCain considered choosing him as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin.
Despite giving aid and comfort to the Republican party, Lieberman will remain a member of the Democrat Senate caucus that doesn’t even need his votes any more. There will be at least 57 Democratic Senators, more than enough to move any agenda that its members are willing to support. Barack Obama, now de facto party chief, gave the signal that Lieberman be spared the punishment he deserves.
Not only would Democrats be right to toss Lieberman out of their caucus, but his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security committee should also come to an end. The neo-con Democrat hung on to his seat in 2006 after losing a primary and running as an independent. He emerged victorious only because he lied to Connecticut’s voters. He lied about wanting to end the Iraq occupation and he lied when he said he would investigate Bush administration handling of the response to hurricane Katrina.
Lieberman wasted no time in returning to form after he won re-election. He declared that investigating Katrina would be “a waste of Congress’ time.” When even Republicans ran from openly pro-war stances, Lieberman insisted that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. Like any wrong doer who goes unpunished, Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time. He endorsed John McCain and spoke on his behalf at the republican convention.
“Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time.”
Obama’s victory should have been the nail in Lieberman’s coffin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the authority to immediately strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Instead of doing what he has the power to do on his own, he told an outright lie, “Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase, Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.” After saying those words with a straight face, he punted to the rest of the Democrats in the Senate.
A secret ballot vote will determine Lieberman’s fate as the Homeland Security Chairman. Only two Democrats, Vermonters Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, have publicly stated that they will vote to oust Lieberman. The few who will speak publicly are all suffering from weak spine disease. They concede that Joe did the party wrong, but are unwilling to act against him. If Reid will not do the right thing, his colleagues are unlikely to as well.
It is amusing to watch “progressives” express shock and horror at the sight of Lieberman’s victory over Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats. They rant and rail against the perfidy of their leaders and wonder why Obama lets Lieberman off the hook so easily.
As always, the explanation for seemingly irrational behavior is quite obvious. Lieberman’s supporters have the deepest pockets of all Democratic party supporters. Simply put, there is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.
Barack Obama knows this better than anyone. When he entered the Senate as a freshman in 2005 he chose Joseph Lieberman as his mentor. The following year Obama endorsed Lieberman when he faced his primary challenge. It seemed incongruous for a politician thought of as a progressive to support the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.
“There is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.”
How better to make the case with wealthy Democratic neo-cons than to cozy up to Holy Joe? Anyone serious about becoming president must have their support and the Lieberman stamp of approval surely gave Obama entre to sources of funding he would not have had otherwise.
The two men are equally cynical. Obama got over any hurt feelings he may have had when he remembered how Lieberman helped him amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time. If he acts against him now, he risks the wrath of the same check bundlers he, Reid and the rest of the party still need.
Lieberman’s motives are simple. He believes in America’s war of terror, and in the “special relationship” with Israel. He wanted to make sure that the confident black man didn’t forget who was boss. If McCain won, Lieberman would be in the catbird seat. If McCain lost, he was still in the catbird seat with the full knowledge that the Democrats would be afraid to touch him.
No need to ask why Lieberman is still sitting pretty. If Obama won’t touch him, and Reid won’t touch him, then his gambit will likely pay off. Their mutual cynicism got both men what they wanted. They will now live happily ever after.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.
written by jack tobin, November 19, 2008
i think obama supported lieberman’s retaining his chairmanship more because of his ties to israel than his access to money (unless we want to realize they are the same thing). this support clearly fits with the rest of obama’s choices to date, virtually all of whom have strong ties to israel. with each choice, the sickening feeling in my stomach gets worse.
Obama Is A Made Man
written by Marc G , November 19, 2008
Barack Obama is predictably being surrounded by hardcore pro-war Zionists. Who is surprised by this? Lieberman’s mentorship of Obama isn’t a new revelation. The idea, however, that Obama chose Lieberman, is a bit naive. Obama, I believe we agree, didn’t rise through the ranks as a grassroots candidate. He was chosen by the elite. Obama was placed in the Senate. Obama was placed in front of America to give the 2004 DNC keynote address. Obama was then placed in the White House. This chain of events and the impetus behind them seems to be something even the most ardent detractors of Obama refuse to fathom. That in a mere five years Obama went from thinking about running for Senate to being President-elect of the entire country.
This was all planned and funded by the business interests Lieberman and other political elites exist to represent. Obama exists because of them. So don’t be surprised when he scratches their back. From the lowly Illinois general assembly to the White House in less time than it takes to pay off a 60 month car loan. Even if you were ahead on the payments. Obama is a made man.
This Lieberman thing is just the beginning.
Jack and Marc nail it: The Zionists & Neocons are on the move
written by Lou, November 19, 2008
Jack, the sickening feeling in my stomach worsens too. In a politically neutral universe one could argue that his decisions are strategic and shrewd, but we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where money and power are worshiped more than Jesus, and no one has more of it than the Zionists (as distinguished from Jews).
What the American People must learn is to DECOUPLE the President-elect’s Foreign Policy from his Domestic Policy to appreciate the dangerous waters we are treading into. The even greater “con” is that a “anti-war Candidate” has surrounded himself with Neo-Cons, there’s no other way to describe Rahmn, Lieberman, and yes, even Hillary Clinton, apparent SOS nominee. Remember it was Clinton on the campaign trail talking about obliterating Iran, PREEMPTIVELY no less. Clinton’s campaign strategy was to come off more hawkish than Obama and to depict him as weak in military/foreign policy affairs. And let’s not forget Bill actually started the Iraq War, he bombed the hell out of it softening it up for Bush’s illegal invasion which the Democrats have co-signed.
One would like to think that the world wide economic crisis, the precarious financial situation here in the States where it’s becoming increasingly evident the $800B TARP wasn’t thought out and is not working, that an attack on Iran is off the table given the impact on oil prices. But when you see the Neocons, like Duberstein and Eagleburger, who yesterday said Obama doesn’t know shit about foreign policy while giving is blessing to Hillary…well…. go figure.
Sadly, a weakened Olmbert is talking land for peace but instead of seizing an opening the only thing the President-elect, Dems, and their supporters can dwell on is popping the bubbly on Jan. 20 while the Palestinians are literally starved to death. What a sad ass country we live in.
@ Marc G
written by false1, November 19, 2008
Your comments are enlightening, I hadn’t thought of it like that before. It’s obvious that big money got behind Obama and they don’t just give away money without expecting a return.
Running the black guy is a brilliant strategy to make the public think they’re voting for change and keep the third parties at bay. I look forward to seeing them run a female, a homosexual, and a handicapped person in the upcoming years.
written by cripes, November 19, 2008
I live in Illinois and knew that Obama had gained state senate and US senate offices, first, by challenging his opponent’s ballots, then by running basically uncontested for the US senate seat. His only contested run he lost badly to Bobby Rush.
Anyway, when I saw the 2004 keynote speech I knew then this character was marked by the powers for a presidential run.
The whole thing feels highly manipulated. So, he is beholden to them and will do as he’s told.