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Lieberman's Betrayal

POSTED: September 04, 2008, 12:00 am

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Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman’s address before the Republican Party should be, if not anything else, the proverbial last straw and prompt the Senate Democratic leadership to banish the party’s 2004 vice presidential candidate to the wilderness of congressional politics. It is one thing to take exception to your party’s agenda, and perfectly legitimate to do so. It is quite another to accept your party’s support when it is politically convenient for you to do so, seek others support, and then bite the hands that fed you when your personal preferences are not accommodated.

Lieberman deserves no further consideration from his Democratic colleagues in the Senate. Up until now the party has treated him with kid gloves, tolerating his romance with the opposition party and leaving the door open for his return to the Democratic Caucus. The senator’s speech in St. Paul was nothing short of treasonous; an act dripping with disdain for the party that made him. His direct appeal to rank and file Democrats to switch over and cast their votes for Senator John McCain should be viewed as an insult by Democrats who voted for Senator Lieberman and wrote checks for his campaigns in the past.

Apparently Senator Lieberman’s primary motivation for turning his back on his party is the Democrats’ opposition to the war in Iraq. From the outset Lieberman showed more concern over the potential impact to Israel, a country for which he has been a staunch advocate, than on the long term consequences to our national security and the welfare of our young men and women who have been called into combat in a senseless war. His sense of entitlement on the question of the Middle East trumped any concern over the larger issues facing the nation and the domestic priorities of Democratic voters. His betrayal of his former party carries with it racial overtones, as much has been made of the historical Black-Jewish progressive alliance, of which Lieberman exploited for his own good in 2000, but quickly dismissed when it was no longer in his personal interest to advocate such a partnership.

“Had a Black Democratic elected official “crossed over” that person would have faced immediate retribution from the party with no chance for redemption.”

Now eight years after he appeared as a Democrat on the ballot in a presidential election, Lieberman has opted to become a hand puppet for a conservative Republican presidential candidate. And he has chosen to do so in a very public way to apparently embarrass his former party and ridicule their choice for president; who just happens to be Black American. The Democratic Party needs to return the favor. And not in some milquetoast sort of way that the party is prone to do. The payback must be swift and the punishment exact. Lieberman should be stripped of any of his committee assignments, lose seniority and be faced with a strong challenger, well supported by the Democratic Party, if he dares to seek reelection.

Some may view this position as harsh, extreme or simply unfair. Of course, I could not disagree more. The magnitude of Senator Lieberman’s betrayal cannot be overlooked or understated. Had a Black Democratic elected official “crossed over” that person would have faced immediate retribution from the party with no chance for redemption. Lieberman’s dalliance with the GOP is selfish and shortsighted, and needs to be viewed as such. To let him escape this convention unscathed would be a failure on our part.

In classic fashion, the mainstream media has given Lieberman a pass and has painted him as some sort of conscientious maverick. The truth of the matter is that his stance on the war is wrong and his decision to buck the party is driven by selfishness and ego and nothing more. Lieberman’s position on Iraq defies common sense and the reality of a war that has been wage on lies and false pretense. There is nothing principled about his support of Senator McCain and his position is contrary to the national interest. Black Democrats should be particularly incensed and those living in the state of Connecticut, in population centers such as New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport, should send a message to Lieberman that his services are no longer needed.

In other words, throw this bum out!

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