The Hill interviewed Senator Joe Lieberman about his unique position in the upper chamber, and how he sees the debate on Iraq and Iran. Lieberman castigated his former colleagues in the Democratic caucus as excessively partisan and unwilling to meet the threats posed by America’s enemies:
Lieberman, the Democrats’ 2000 vice presidential nominee, insists he is not actively considering joining the Republican Party. But he is keeping that possibility wide open as his disenchantment grows with Democratic leaders. The main sticking points are their attempts to end the war in Iraq and their hesitation to take a harder line against Iran.
“I think either [Democrats] are, in my opinion, respectfully, naïve in thinking we can somehow defeat this enemy with talk, or they’re simply hesitant to use American power, including military power,” Lieberman said in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill.
“There is a very strong group within the party that I think doesn’t take the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously enough.” …
As Lieberman sees it, however, the Democratic Party has slipped away from its “most important and successful times” of the middle of last century, where it was tough on Communism and progressive on domestic policy.
Lieberman may see himself as the last of the Scoop Jackson Democrats. He would probably find more company with the Blue Dog Democrats in the House, but for now he has to settle for the company of Republicans. He has increased his attacks on Democratic insistence on retreat and appeasement, almost defying them to cast him out of the caucus and potentially unsettle the leadership composition of the Senate.
They have started to do so, in small measures. While Lieberman opposes the caucus on Iraq and Iran, he works with the Democrats on domestic policy, and he serves as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. When Harry Reid celebrated a legislative victory on a new Homeland Security bill, Lieberman didn’t get an invite to the press conference, which mystified Lieberman, given his efforts for that win.
Lieberman knows he could lose that chair if the Democrats expand their majority in the 2008 election, a good possibility given the imbalance in Republican seats at risk. He has already endorsed one Republican for re-election in defiance of Chuck Schumer’s DSCC, Susan Collins. He will likely endorse the Republican candidate for President, since none of the Democrats in this cycle’s crop of contenders will demonstrate any kind of strength or tenacity on Iraq or Iran. Nevertheless, he won’t switch parties; he wants to remain an independent.
I think that’s wise. As such, Lieberman has the most potential to assist in keeping the Senate from declaring a surrender on the Beltway beachhead. We can expect Lieberman to get even more vocal when Petraeus reports in September, especially if the surge keeps producing more success.