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July 21, 2006
Bill Clinton Has Lieberman's Back

No one should experience any shock over Bill Clinton's efforts to bolster the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist caucus in the party, nor his campaigning for one of its founders. Yesterday's announcement that Bill Clinton would publicly support Joe Lieberman should have been a foregone conclusion:

Former President Bill Clinton is slated to campaign on behalf of the three-term incumbent Monday in Waterbury, Lieberman's campaign spokeswoman said today. ...

Clinton and Lieberman have known each other since Clinton worked on Lieberman's first campaign for state Senate in 1970, when Clinton attended Yale University in New Haven ...

Clinton, in a recent speech at the Aspen Institute conference, defended Lieberman and his staunch support for the war in Iraq. He questioned why antiwar Democrats are seeking to oust a fellow Democrat, saying that instead of seeking to retire Republicans they were pursuing "the nuttiest strategy I ever heard in my life."

Bill Clinton has tried to steer a moderate course for Democrats for the past fifteen years, and this effort to rescue Lieberman from the netroots fits into his philosophy. Clinton won office on the strength of that strategy, and he wants to keep the Democrats from veering so far to the left that they will guarantee themselves a minority position for the next generation. They won't have George Bush to run against after this election cycle, and that will leave them with a mighty thin constituency until they learn big-tent tactics and strategy.

It's no surprise that Clinton has offered Lieberman his support. However, it does highlight the craven attitude of Al Gore, whom Lieberman supported to the detriment of his last presidential campaign, in his silence on behalf of his former running mate.

UPDATE: The New York Sun's excellent blog, It Shines For All, reminds us that not all Clintons appear united on supporting Lieberman:

[Hillary will] oppose the reelection of her long-time friend, Senator Lieberman, if he fails to win an August 8 Democratic primary against an anti-war opponent. She dropped him faster than her husband dropped his friend Lani Guinier. Mrs. Clinton could easily have sidestepped this question, as have Senator Schumer and the Senate majority leader, Harold Reid. Or she could have stood by Mr. Lieberman, who stuck his own neck out for her, most notably by campaigning vigorously for her among Jewish New Yorkers to help get her elected to the Senate in 2000.

Can we say "triangulation"? I knew we could!

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 21, 2006 7:50 AM

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» Top 9 Things Joe Liebermann Finds Preferrable To Bill Clinton's Campaign Support from Political Satire Fake News - The Nose On Your Face
Judging by Bill Clinton's recent track record of endorsing candidates, we had a hunch that Senator Joe Liebermann might have been a bit nervous upon learning that he was going to receive support from the former President. After discovering that [Read More]

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» One Clinton For Lieberman from It Shines For All
"Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is rolling out the big gun in his increasingly close primary battle with Greenwich Democrat Ned Lamont," the Journal Inquirer notes. Former President Bill Clinton is slated to campaign on behalf of the three-term incumbent Mon... [Read More]

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