Lieberman's Uphill Battle for the Democratic Nomination

I’m not going to stand back and let this party be taken over by people who would bring us to the political wilderness again.

–Sen. Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.)
National Press Club
August 4, 2003

Sen. Lieberman recently has shown why it is that he won’t get the Democratic nomination for president: he is not nearly shrill and strident enough.

Lieberman, whom a former colleague was fond of describing as “the man who frequently wrestles with his conscience and wins every time,” has been everything the other eight Democratic candidates have not – tempered and reasonable. Contrasted to the rest of the Ringwraiths, Lieberman sounds almost conservative. This is precisely why he could be dangerous and why the GOP should be thankful that the radical Leftist core of the Democratic Party is receiving most of the attention and is the group likely to nominate the next Democratic candidate.

Were the Democrats a thinking bunch this year instead of a mad group of Bush-haters, they would realize the best way to take back the White House would be to put up someone like Joe Lieberman, a liberal in centrist’s clothing. He’s a man many voters tend to like personally and whose stated political views may not move them but at least do not outrightly offend them. But, again, the core of the Democratic Party is far too concerned with despising George W. Bush to realize that they are pushing themselves out of contention for 2004.

Here are some recent Lieberman quotes from the AFL-CIO debate in Chicago last week and his appearance on Fox News Sunday last weekend demonstrating why it is that he will not be nominated by the highly agitated Left and why the GOP should be breathing a sigh of relief that the Bush-haters, blind with rage, are leading the Democratic Party.

  • “. . . let’s remember with all respect that support of free trade and fair trade was a basic part of the Clinton-Gore economic record. And why? President Clinton always had a very simple answer. We only have 4 percent of the people on Earth here in America. We can only make so much and sell so much to one another. If we want our economy to grow, we’ve got to break down trade barriers across the world so we can sell things we make here in America to the 96 percent of the other people in the world.” (AFL-CIO debate)
  • “We’ve got to pick [universal health care] off step-by-step. If we try to do it all at once, as some have proposed, we’re going to spend this country as much into debt as we say George Bush’s tax cuts will take us.” (AFL-CIO debate)
  • “. . . I have said I am not going to close any door that might lead to helping us better educate all of America’s children. We know that today we’re not accomplishing our goals, particularly for our lowest income children. And so I have said let’s try competition in the public schools. Let’s even try the so-called voucher program on an experimental basis just to see if we learn anything from it.” (AFL-CIO debate)
  • “We’re not going to win by being opposed to all tax cuts, which would raise taxes on middle-class Americans. We’re not going to earn the trust of the American people by being weak or ambivalent on defense.” (AFL-CIO debate)
  • “. . . the Democratic Party, as I see it, certainly post-Clinton-Gore, is a party that believes in fiscal responsibility, knows how to make the economy grow, believes in tax cuts, doesn’t think that big spending, big government programs answer every problem, and is willing to invest — committed to investing in a strong defense and using it when necessary.” (Fox News Sunday)
  • “. . . the support of big government, big spending programs, would take us back to the same argument that we had before Bill Clinton won the nomination in ’92” (Fox News Sunday)
  • “If we’re for middle-class tax increases, if we send a message of weakness and ambivalence on defense, if we go back to big government spending when we’re already so deeply in debt because of the Bush fiscal irresponsibility, if we’re against trade for protectionism, which never created a job, we don’t deserve to govern the country.” (Fox News Sunday)
  • “. . . you put the finger on a big part of the Bush record, which is that there’s been no spending restraint. It’s why we are going to face a $400-billion-plus deficit, which is going to cost every American family thousands of dollars in the year ahead to pay back the Bush deficit.” (Fox News Sunday)
  • “I believe very strongly that beginning the war, initiating a war to get rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, that the world is safer, America is safer. Certainly the Iraqi people have a better future to look forward to with Saddam gone.” (Fox News Sunday)