Wednesday, January 07, 2004

TNR Chooses Lieberman

The New Republic has endorsed Joe Lieberman. It's not surprising and probably won't have much of an effect b/c poor Joe is too tough on terrorists to win in the Dem primaries. He was the greatest defender of the Iraq war (of the Dem presidential candidates), but he nitpicked when things didn't seem to be going as well. He did, however, vote for the $87 billion.

But on the issues of taxes, the editors totally blow their analysis by portraying Lieberman as a middle-class tax cutter. The editors claim Lieberman's desire to repeal the upper-income portions of President Bush's tax cuts is "a position consistent with his long-standing belief that the Democratic Party should cut taxes for the middle class." What puzzles me is that they cite Lieberman's vote for the 1993 Clinton budget and votes against both Bush tax cuts as proof of Lieberman's consistency. This is ass-backwards! The 1993 Clinton budget raised taxes on the middle class, despite Clinton's campaign promise of a middle-class tax cut, and both Bush tax cuts, actually cut taxes on the middle-class. While Lieberman is not as far left as Howard Dean (who wants to repeal all the Bush tax cuts, in effect, a tax increase for everyone), or even Wesley Clark (who not only wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts, but raise taxes to even higher levels), his position, or at least TNR's impression of his position on the tax issue is not consistent with his actions.

The second problem with the TNR reasoning is they laud Lieberman as a moral leader in the immoral Democratic party. The editors say this: "[M]any liberals mocked Lieberman as self-righteous for denouncing Clinton on the Senate floor at the height of the Lewinsky affair. But, given the then-pervasive fear in the Democratic Party about crossing the Clintons, Lieberman's speech took courage." Perhaps it did take some courage to stand up and talk tough, but did Lieberman back up his indignation with action? No. He voted against removing Clinton. Its probably some Democrat thing to talk tough and pretend that you've actually accomplished something.

Lastly, the TNR editors overlook Lieberman's about face on affirmative action and school choice, performed to secure Gore's VP spot in the 2000 presidential campaign. They gloss over his cowtowing the Maxine Waters and the CBC at the LA convention. Where was Lieberman's courage then? He lost credibility on his previous non-Democratic stances on school choice, etc.

Though, I do give TNR credit for endorsing Lieberman. He is the most viable candidate that the Dems could run against Bush. He wouldn't get skewered on foreign policy like the other candidates would and he is a prettly likable guy. He doesn't come off as an arrogant putz like Dean or a phony like Kerry or Clark, do. Plus a lot of people would remember him from 2000. But in the end it wouldn't be enough, and anyway, the Dems won't nominate him. He supported the war, he supports Israel, and isn't a hard-line leftwinger, who the party faithful seem hellbent on nominating.