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Friday, July 28, 2006

Lieberman avoids the subject...is the press catching on?

Is the media finally getting the message and pointing out the obvious...Joe Lieberman's distancing himself from the issues that he had no problem discussing prior to the primary. Maybe the press has finally had enough of Lieberman's refusal to answer questions he doesn't like while happily misleading reporters over Ned Lamont's record.

...or maybe they're reading the blogs.
When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was speaking to a joint session of Congress this week, was Joe Lieberman trying to change the subject?

As al-Maliki was about halfway through his speech, Lieberman's staff sent out a press release trumpeting how the Connecticut Democrat had vigorously opposed legislation - in a debate that ended 16 hours earlier - making it harder for pregnant girls to cross state lines to obtain an abortion without parental consent.

Back in the House chamber, Lieberman applauded much of the prime minister's address. But when al-Maliki was finished, and dozens of lawmakers spilled into the halls to talk to the media, Lieberman was nowhere to be seen.
Is this the same senator who had no problem writing an op-ed criticizing Democrats who opposed the President over the management of the war? Why hasn't the senator jump in front of a camera and praise the President's forgein policy now?

Why is he avoiding the subject?

Two words: Ned Lamont.

The Courant accurately documents Lieberman's past statements and easily connects the dots.
Since January, when it became apparent that Lieberman was likely to face a primary challenge over his support for the war in Iraq, the senator has mentioned Iraq in 11 press releases, op-ed articles or other public statements archived by his office. About half of them expressed support for or confidence in the war effort or the troops.

In the same period of 2005, his office put out 26 statements mentioning Iraq; again, about half supported the war or the troops.

When he has spoken about Iraq this year, his statements have tended to be more measured and reserved than they were last year.

After President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address, for instance, Lieberman spent most of his time criticizing Bush's tax and energy policies.

Though Bush discussed Iraq, Lieberman would not join the chorus of Republican praise for the administration strategy. "We remain a nation at war - at war in Iraq and also at war with Islamist terrorism around the world, and it was important for the president to discuss it with the nation tonight," the senator said.

That was an emphasis quite different from the one Lieberman used in 2005. After that year's address, the senator got quickly to his point: "The president spoke about the importance of completing our mission in Iraq, and I couldn't agree more."

And, Lieberman said, "We're on the road to peace and democracy in Iraq, and we'll reach our goal if we stick to it."

He was similarly enthusiastic last year when he called the Iraqi elections "a new dawn for democracy in Iraq."

"We have reached an important milestone and achieved a new momentum in reaching a goal all Americans should embrace - building a secure, peaceful, democratic Iraq that is no longer a threat to the United States or the international community," he said.

By contrast, the statement his office put out after al-Maliki spoke Wednesday seemed almost downbeat.

"I hope that the Prime Minister takes away from his visit here that the U.S. will continue to back him in his fight to build a stable, secure, democratic and independent Iraq," he said, "but that success in that quest will not depend on us, but on the Iraqis themselves, and he must match his words today with decisive actions when he returns to Iraq."
Facing a primary challenge, Lieberman sheepishly runs away from the issues that he had no problem commenting on (to the anger of his fellow Democrats) last year. What's more obvious is Lieberman's desperation as he begs for support from the same Democrats he disagreed with in the previous years.
Gonzales was being subjected to blistering criticism from Democrats for saying in 2002 that some rights of prisoners of war spelled out in the Geneva Conventions were "quaint."

Lieberman noted how Gonzales' opinion "has been quoted with great derision, laughter, as if it was over the edge." Lieberman was on Gonzales' side. "I think Judge Gonzales was being restrained and diplomatic in using the word `quaint' [for a captor] to offer these benefits," the senator said, referring to things such as the ability of a prisoner to receive musical instruments and access to a canteen to buy soap, tobacco and food.

The senator also angered many in his party by appearing too cozy with the administration over its plans to reform Social Security. Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada was eager to have all 44 Senate Democrats united against privatization.

Lieberman met with Treasury Secretary John Snow for 45 minutes and hosted administration officials at meetings of the bipartisan Senate Centrist Coalition. Leadership staff quietly made calls to Lieberman's staff urging him to stick with the party, and Lieberman soon signed a letter with other Democrats opposing privatization.
And who can forget the ultimate slap in the face to the Democratic Party as a whole...
In December, Reid and Lieberman were at odds again. Lieberman had angered many Democrats with a Nov. 29 Wall Street Journal article.

"I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago," Lieberman wrote, "and Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead."
Lieberman has been able to avoid talking about the issues that got him into this primary challenge choosing instead to change the subject and misleading the press. Hopefully this article is a sign that the press is catching on to Lieberman's tricks and has had enough of his games. One thing is for sure, as long as Americans are dying and the middle east going down the tube, the voters of Connecticut aren't going to be fooled by the senator who last year was the biggest cheerleader for the Bush administration (thus the term, George Bush's favorite Democrat).
"This isn't unique to Joe Lieberman," said Amy Isaacs, national director of Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal advocacy group. "But voters are smart, and usually what ends up happening when you play this game is you energize your enemies and alienate your friends."
If you see Lieberman during his tour of the state, make sure to hold him accountable for the statements that he currently refuses to comment on.