I don’t like Daily Kos, but Dodd is right: O’Reilly makes the anti-Kos position seem cartoonish and ridiculous. Oh, and O’Reilly did in fact say what Dodd claimed he said.
From the good senator’s interview with Hugh Hewitt:
HH: Would you accept a place on a Giuliani, a Romney or a Thompson ticket if offered to you?
JL: No, I think I got that bug out of my system. ButÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the national bug, I mean. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice of you to ask, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think any one of them in their right mind would ask me, but my wife will appreciate that you asked.
HH: Is that an unequivocal no, Senator?
JL: Yeah, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unequivocal. Actually, my wife probably would not appreciate that.
Of course, Hewitt only asked about “a Giuliani, a Romney or a Thompson ticket” — in other words, a Republican ticket. He didn’t ask about an independent McCain-Lieberman ticket, which would be the most obvious possibility, IMHO. (Though, as I mentioned previously, such a ticket presumably couldn’t win in the current political climate vis a vis Iraq, and would just serve to throw the election to the Democrats.)
P.S. Speaking of Lieberman… Sean Paul Kelley at The Agnoist thinks Lieberman’s “Sense of the Senate” resolution (PDF here) wagging the Senate’s collective finger at Iran — approved by a vote of 97-0 — opens the door for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force down the road. The amendment, as characterized by Kelley, basically says (not in so many words), “It is the sense of the senate that Iran is participating in acts of war against the United States.” Which seems to lend itself rather nicely to a rather powerful pro-war argument down the road: “How could you not support military action against a country committing acts of war against the United States?” (Hat tip: My Left Nutmeg.)
Personally, I doubt this vote will have any real effect on later debates. If going “on record” in such a way had the kind of rhetorical power envisioned by Kelley, nobody would be able to gripe about “Bush’s” rejection of the Kyoto Accords (which were rejected in principle on a 95-0 “Sense of the Senate” vote in 1997), nor about “Bush’s” decision to pursue regime change in Iraq (a policy explicitly endorsed in 1998 by a vote of 360-38 in the House and by unanimous consent in the Senate). Yet nobody seems to feel shamed by those votes, so I doubt they’ll feel shamed by this one. If war in Iran comes up for a vote, Democratic senators aren’t going to feel obligated to authorize it just because they voted for this unanimously approved legislative nullity.
Still, it’s an interesting development nonetheless. The storm clouds continue to gather, I fear.
Why is Joe Lieberman again making headlines for stating the obvious?
“I’m going to chose whichever candidate that I think will do the best job for our country, regardless of the party affiliation of that candidate,” the Connecticut senator told reporters in the state capital Hartford.
First of all, Lieberman already said this, back in January. Why is it “news” that he said it again? Can we expect the wire services to publish a new “Lieberman may back Republican” story every few months between now and the conventions?
Secondly, as I said back then, there’s nothing remotely objectionable about his statement, especially if “do the best job for our country” is defined broadly. Some would say that the party can trump the person in certain cases, but Lieberman’s statement doesn’t deny that possibility — he’s not saying the candidate’s party won’t be a factor in his decision, just that it won’t be the only factor. I’m confident that, as between two candidates whose stances on the war against terrorism are equally acceptable to him, Lieberman would choose the Democrat. But he’s not going to support someone with an unacceptable stance just because he (or she) has a “D” next to his (or her) name. In that regard, Lieberman is firmly ensconced in the majority, not to mention common sense. Whatever one’s ideology, party affiliation, or opinion about any particular issue, surely we can all agree that ultimately, country is more important than party.
The more intriguing bit is the second part of his statement:
“I’m not going to get involved until after both parties have their presumptive nominees and, frankly, to see if there is a strong independent candidate,” he said.
Hmm. Could Lieberman be angling for another vice presidential nod — on an independent ticket? Especially in light of his recent praise for John McCain, coupled with the Arizona senator’s growling struggles in the race for the Republican nomination, it’s enough to make one wonder if the concept of a John & Joe ticket could make a comeback. (Of course, in light of the current political climate vis a vis Iraq, a ticket of two pro-war mavericks almost certainly wouldn’t carry the day in ‘08, no matter how much I might like it to.* In all likelihood, such an independent candidacy would just split the dwindling conservative/hawkish vote and guarantee a Democratic landslide. In which case, shouldn’t all you Lieberman-haters be rooting for it to happen? :)
*I mean it when I say “might.” It’s not a foregone conclusion that I would vote for such a ticket. I have plenty of misgivings about McCain — and a few about Lieberman, even! Though I’d take him over most alternatives. But anyway, a Brendan Loy vote for McCain-Lieberman would not be pre-ordained. I’d love to have the option, though.
P.S. About that other potential third-party candidate, Nanny Bloomberg, Wonkette looks at the polls and concludes: “So if Bloomberg jumps in, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have another tie decided by the Supreme Court, and then Scooter Libby becomes President of Earth.” Sounds right.
Joe Lieberman says that we need to “be prepared” to hit back at Iran for killing our troops in Iraq, “and to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.”
I think such a strike would probably be unwise, all things considered, but it would certainly be justified if such a base does indeed exist — and I definitely think we should “be prepared” to do it, and should actively consider it as an option (even if it’s ultimately rejected). A strike on Iran isn’t exactly a good option, but neither is standing around idly while they attack our troops with impunity. If we can achieve what we want through negotiation, great — but what if we can’t? Advocates of diplomacy need to remember that it’s a means to an end, not an end in itself.
At Daily Kos, of course, this story is fodder for a fresh round of Lieberman-bashing. Writes the poster: “If Lieberman really wanted to stop what he believes are Iranian-sponsored attacks on our troops, well, then, he should be demanding that we bring our troops home.” Ah yes, because abject surrender isn’t just one possible option, it’s the only option.
(Note: I’m not saying that “bringing our troops home” can’t be justified on grounds that would prevent it from being an “abject surrender.” I’m saying that if the stated justification is “we’re bringing our troops home to stop Iranian attacks against them,” then that would be abject surrender. To Iran. Which I tend to think is a bad thing. In other words, that’s the worst argument for troop withdrawal I’ve ever heard.)
(Second note: Nor am I presuming that “abject surrender” might not be the right course of action. Maybe it is! But one should be honest if that’s what one is advocating, and one must grapple with the adverse consequences if so. Surrender, like “peace,” is not costless.)
Far be it from me ever to think of politically Annoying any denizens of this here blog (which surely would constitute Unsportsmanlike conduct on the Non Sports Page :) but it’s worth noting that the saintly Senator, a Democrat from Connecticut ;}, today delivers his Party’s response to the Republican President’s weekly radio broadcast. Here’s the text, the subject being the scandalous situation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A good speech ~ sufficiently so for me to grant Rebbe Joe absolution :> for his invocation of the Gnostic First Commandment, i.e., “…together, we must prevent this from ever happening again.” (Said standard Perfectionist locution being Obligatory in such circumstances nowadays, the sin may be deemed Venial & the rhetoric freely-translated as, “These are very crappy practices and conditions which we shall work to Discourage and Deter in the future.” ;)
I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, “Enough.” And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war’s conduct.
But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake–assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger–forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill–probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.
I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.
Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.
We are at a critical moment in Iraq–at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America’s cause–the cause of freedom–which we abandon at our peril.
A plea to Lieberman-haters: Read the whole thing with an open mind, without automatically assuming the worst possible connotation or implication of every word. Give it a few moments of serious thought, without regard to the identity of the speaker. And then tell us why Lieberman is a dishonest warmongering chickenhawk neocon scumbag. That’s all I ask.
I have a hard time understanding what anyone could possibly find objectionable about this statement:
I’m going to do what most independents and a lot of Democrats and Republicans in America do, which is to take a look at all the candidates and then in the end, regardless of party, decide who I think will be best for the future of our country.
But I guess some people think party should come before country. I believe there’s a word for such people: unpatriotic.
Drudge has President Bush’s speech to the nation, a few minutes early.
“The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me. ”
UPDATE: Did he have to mention Lieberman? Oy veh!
In the wake of Joe Lieberman’s hiring the Bull Moose as his communications director, The American Prospect’s Mark Schmitt foresees a McCain-Lieberman independent run in 2008. He’s less than enthusiastic about the idea. I think it’d be freakin’ awesome. But I seriously doubt it will happen. (Hat tip: Wonkette.)
Back on November 8, I wrote:
LiebermanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s margin of 114,773 votes over Lamont is 10.15% of the total number cast Ã¢â‚¬â€ which, in the BrendanLoy.com Senate contest Ã¢â‚¬Å“second tiebreaker,Ã¢â‚¬? is closer to Patrick CullenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prediction of a 12% margin than to Greg RauenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prediction of an 8% margin. However, because 10.15% is so close to the midway point between those predictions (10%)…it will probably be impossible to definitively declare a winner until…the Connecticut Secretary of the StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office completes the official canvass in late November.
Well, I’m not sure if this is the final, official canvass, but I just looked up the official results as of November 15:
Lieberman (CFL) 564,086
Lamont (D) 450,837
Schlesinger (R) 109,196
Ferrucci (G) 5,922
Knibbs (CC) 4,638
Vassar (write-in) 80
Joy (write-in) 3
That’s a total of 1,134,762 votes cast… and a Lieberman margin of 113,249, which translates to a percentage margin of 9.97997818%. That would mean Rauen wins the BrendanLoy.com Senate Contest!
If the total number of votes cast is correct, a Lieberman margin of 113,477 or more would mean a Cullen victory; a margin of 113,476 or less would mean a Rauen victory. So just 228 votes separate the current situation from a Cullen win.
Like I said, though, I’m not certain if that’s the official final canvass. I may have to call the Secretary of the State’s office to find out, or ask my dad to look into it. :) So I’m not declaring a winner yet. But I do know the above-linked results are more up-to-date than the CNN results I linked to previously, because the Newington tabulation error is corrected in them. (My dad actually e-mail the Newington town clerk’s office to tell them about that error.)
In the BrendanLoy.com House Contest, meanwhile, Cullen is still poised to win, with four races still undecided. A Nun Mouse was eliminated when the Dems clinched GA-12, but Tony Badger still has a chance to win if any of the four undecided races — all currently led by the Republicans — go Democratic. What’s happening in those races?
• In OH-15, where the vote-counting was delayed by the Ohio State-Michigan game, the Republican led by 3,717 votes as of Tuesday, with 19,000 provisional ballots still to be counted. Results are expected next week.
• In NC-8, a machine recount cut the Republican’s lead from around 450 votes to 329 votes, and now the provisional ballot count has reportedly reduced it further, to 179 votes. The Republican is urging his challenger to concede; the Democrat wants a manual recount. According to UPI: “Johnnie McLean, the chief deputy director of North Carolina’s board of elections, said ballots in 3 percent of the precincts will be inspected by elections officials Nov. 29 and Nov. 30. A district-wide manual recount will be ordered if the sampling reveals a statistical inconsistency, McLean said.”
• In FL-13, the counting and recounting is over, and the Republican has been declared the winner by 369 votes — but the Democrat is challenging the result in court beacuse of that massive undervote in one county, which may have been caused by machine error, and may have cost the Democrat the elction.
• Last but not least, in TX-23, there will be a December 12 runoff between the incumbent Republican and the highest-vote-getting Democrat in what was a crowded field of challengers.
So, we won’t know the winner of the BrendanLoy.com House Contest until December 12 at the earliest — unless one of the other apparent Republican victories is overturned in favor of the Democrat before then. Badger only needs one of the above four races to go Democratic. Cullen needs all four to stay Republican in order to maintin his edge.
“Wittmann’s whole theme on Bull Moose has been on the need to strengthen the nation’s center,” according to the Moderate Voice. Sounds like he’s a perfect fit for Senator Joe. (Hat tip: InstaPundit, who says of Lieberman, “Hmm, does this mean he’s running in 2008?” I wish!)
The New York Times profiles the enigmatic Mr. Wittmann, and it’s not an especially flattering profile: “To say that Mr. Wittmann defies classification is like saying Paris Hilton defies modesty.” More:
Mr. Wittmann…is a Trotskyite turned Zionist turned Reaganite turned bipartisan irritant turned pretty much everything in between Ã¢â‚¬â€ including chief lobbyist for the Christian Coalition, the only Jew who has ever held that position. …
There are of course plenty of political people who have undergone philosophical evolutions over the years. But Mr. Wittmann, 53, has zigzagged in the extreme, from stints in left-leaning unions to right-wing policy shops. He describes his career as Ã¢â‚¬Å“eclectic,Ã¢â‚¬? saying he has always been drawn to independent thinkers. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The good lord has made me a contrarian,Ã¢â‚¬? Mr. Wittmann said.
The good lord has also blessed him with the gift of speaking in punchy and irresistible sound bites. …
[Recently,] Mr. Wittmann soared into the blogosphere. He immersed himself in his popular online diary, Bull Moose, named for the party of his political hero, Teddy Roosevelt. It became a virtual megaphone through which Mr. Wittmann could ridicule both the Bush administration and the liberal bloggers, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“netrootsÃ¢â‚¬? (or, in Mr. WittmannÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“nutrootsÃ¢â‚¬?) that attacked Mr. Lieberman relentlessly during his re-election campaign. …
In announcing Mr. WittmannÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appointment, Mr. Lieberman hailed his Ã¢â‚¬Å“independent and diverse backgroundÃ¢â‚¬? in a statement (or understatement).
Incidentally, about the whole “ID-CT” thing… that’s Lieberman’s official party designation in the Senate now: Independent Democrat. I just think it’s funny that the abbreviated version looks like he can’t decide whether he’s the senator from Idaho or from Connecticut. :)
Lieberman (CFL) 562,850 (49.77%)
Lamont (D) 448,077 (39.62%)
Schlesinger (R) 109,329 (9.67%)
Ferrucci (G) 5,923 (0.52%)
Knibbs (CC) 4,638 (0.41%)
Lieberman’s margin of 114,773 votes over Lamont is 10.15% of the total number cast — which, in the BrendanLoy.com Senate contest “second tiebreaker,” is closer to Patrick Cullen’s prediction of a 12% margin than to Greg Rauen’s prediction of an 8% margin. However, because 10.15% is so close to the midway point between those predictions (10%), and because the Lieberman-margin tiebreaker will be decisive if the Democrats ultimately win Virginia, it will probably be impossible to definitively declare a winner until
the official statement of vote from the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office is released in December the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office completes the official canvass in late November.
As an example of the potential volatility of the 10.15% margin, if a vote tabulation error in Newington is fixed before the statement of vote is released, it would increase Lieberman’s margin by 875 votes, to 10.22%. (It would also increase Lieberman’s statewide percentage total to 49.81%.) That would help Cullen, but similar small errors in the initial, unofficial tally could potentially help either candidate, making it impossible to be certain that Lieberman’s margin will remain above the 10 percent mark.
Personally, I think the CT Secretary of the State’s office should conduct a statewide recount to determine the outcome of the BrendanLoy.com Senate Contest. :) But I guess we’ll just have to rely on the first and only count, once that count becomes official and not just media-based. So in other words, stay tuned.
Incidentally, with Montana being called for the Democrat, there are only three contestants still alive to win the Senate Contest: Rauen, Cullen and me. I win the contest if George Allen (R) wins Virginia. If Jim Webb (D) wins, then the Lieberman tiebreaker decides the contest.
UPDATE: As long as we’re on the topic of Joe, the NYT Empire Zone Blog reports:
Despite the predictions of his netroots critics, Senator Joe Lieberman was not offered Donald RumsfeldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job as defense secretary.
At his post-election victory news conference at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, Mr. Lieberman said he did receive a congratulatory call from the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid, who also assured him he would retain his seniority Ã¢â‚¬â€ which could include the Democratic chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee.
There were no calls from the White House, he said, and no offers from the G.O.P. to lure him away. And he hastened to add that he would not accept such offers anyway.
East Haven and Trumbull have finally reported their results, and as expected, they were a shot in the arm for Lieberman: 59% to 31% and 58% to 31%, respectively. Waterford also went for Joe, 52% to 38%.
However, it wasn’t enough to push Lieberman’s statewide percentage over 50%. His percentage is up from 49.55% to 49.75% (49.79% if the Newington tabulation error is corrected), but it seems unlikely to increase much more, since the remaining outstanding towns (Simsbury, Wallingford and 13% of New Haven) aren’t likely to vote heavily for Lieberman like East Haven, Trumbull and Waterford did.
So it looks like Joe won’t get an absolute majority… unless the Newington tabulation error was replicated in various other towns (which seems entirely possible, given Lieberman’s unusual ballot placement; in transferring results from one record to another, officials may have simply forgotten about Lieberman) and is eventually corrected before the final, official statement of vote is released.
However, although the results from East Haven, Trumbull and Waterford weren’t enough to push Lieberman’s statewide percentage over 50%, they were enough to push his statewide margin over 10%, from 9.74% to 10.14% (or 10.21% if you correct the Newington error). That means Patrick Cullen is now in the driver’s seat in the BrendanLoy.com Senate contest. (As explained here, if the Dems win both VA and MT, Cullen wins the contest if LiebermanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final margin is greater than 10%; Greg Rauen wins if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s between 7.5% and 10%.)
UPDATE, 11:43 AM: Wallingford just reported. Lieberman won, 55% to 35%. His statewide margin is now 10.28% (10.35% if the Newington error is corrected). His statewide percentage is now 49.83% (49.87% if the Newington error is corrected). He’s getting close to 50%! But Simsbury is Lamont country, and it still hasn’t reported yet… nor has 13% of New Haven, where Lamont is winning 56% to 39% so far.
Both of these questions won’t be definitively decided until the official, final statement of vote from the Secretary of the State’s office — as opposed to unofficial media returns — is released.
I’ve updated the title of this post accordingly.
Damn straight I'm gloating. Fight on for Joementum! :) P.S. This is a new USC sweatshirt, by the way. Becky gave it to me for my birthday. It's awesome!
…Joe Lieberman will be the deciding vote in the Senate.
That would be Joe Lieberman, the independent senator, “beholden to no political group, but only to the people of Connecticut and to [his] conscience.”
Joe Lieberman, who survived his trial by fire, and who now knows who his real friends are. (Chris Dodd, don’t expect a Hanukkah gift this year.)
Joe Lieberman, who won a decisive victory — with, if not an absolute majority, pretty damn close to one — on the basis of truly bipartisan (or rather, tripartisan) support: according to my analysis of the exit polls, roughly 25% of Joe’s votes came from Democrats, 37% came from Republicans and 38% came from independents/unaffiliateds.
All of which adds up to: Joe Lieberman, a man with nothing to lose, a man who owes nobody nothin’, a thoroughly vindicated soldier of conscience who returns to the Senate with a mandate to keep the Democrats honest. And he’ll be the 51st vote.
The Democrats, who three months ago summarily cast Lieberman aside like so much unwanted baggage, will now need him to keep their majority. Oh, sweet irony.
Still want to strip his seniority, bizzatches? I’d like to see you try.
P.S. Of course, in theory, every Democratic senator is individually “the deciding vote in the Senate” in a 51-49 split. But given Lieberman’s unique situation, I think it’s fair to say that the label fits him better than just about anyone else.
P.P.S. Remember what Lieberman said when I interviewed him: “I’m going to try my best to make sure that the Democratic Party, particularly if it comes into the majority in the Senate, doesn’t fall back in the partisan ways, and tries to change not just the partisan atmosphere but the way we behave. … I’ll go back feeling really empowered as an independent…to do everything I can to build bridges.”