Joseph Lieberman on Principles & Values
Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
McCainworld's core conviction was that McCain's VP choice had to be a game change. If McCain's running mate selection didn't fundamentally alter the dynamics of the race, it would be lights out. Yet 3 of the 5 short-listers failed to meet its chief goal. Mitt Romney, Charlie Crist, and Tim Pawlenty all had their virtues, but game changers they were not. The 4rth, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, qualified for the label--but he also was a divorced, pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-gun, Jewish plutocrat who had switched his party affiliation. Not one of them generated much enthusiasm in McCainworld, or, more important, in McCain. But, for reasons both personal and political, the fifth man did: Lieberman.
The aide said Lieberman was not courted by anyone else in the race. �I think McCain is the only one who asked for the senator� endorsement,� he added.
In a pre-emptive comment against the questions that will inevitably come around the senator since his own contentious 2006 re-election, when he was knocked out of the Democratic primary by a political neophyte because of his pro-Iraq position, Lieberman is not switching parties. �This is in no way an endorsement of the (Republican) Party, just the man,� the aide said, adding that McCain did not ask Lieberman to join his ticket in the vice presidential slot.
LIEBERMAN: One of the major problems in Washington is too much partisanship. The best way to fix Washington is to elect people who will stand up & do what�s right regardless of the political consequences. Someone who will work across party lines to get things done for the people they serve. That�s what I�ve done for 18 years. Negativity and partisan game-playing couldn�t have accomplished anything.
LAMONT: I don�t think it�s bipartisan to rubber-stamp George Bush�s rush to war in Iraq. That�s a time we needed checks and balances, and tough questions asked. Every time someone says it�s time for a change, Sen. Lieberman suggests they�re too partisan, or too negative. We got ourselves into this mess not because we asked too many questions, but because we asked too few.
SCHLESINGER: The Senator likes to bring up partisanship all the time. Partisanship is not the problem in Iraq. Being a crutch to the Maliki government may be the problem.
When Bill was asked to respond to Lieberman's speech, he replied: "Basically I agree with what he said. I made a bad mistake. It was indefensible, and I'm very sorry about it."
I realized that apologies would never be enough for hardcore Republicans and might not be enough to avert a meltdown within the Democratic Party. Other Democratic leaders, including Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Patrick Moynihan of New York and Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, condemned the President's personal actions and said he should in some way be held accountable. None, however, advocated impeachment.
Joblessness, 3.5 million people have lost their jobs, 2.5 million have fallen out of the middle class into poverty, our schools have been underfunded. So many of our capable lower-income kids are going to have trouble going to college. Civil rights have been eroded. The environment has been plundered today. At home and abroad, America is weaker.
We need a fresh start. We need a president who will unite America around our shared values and restore security and prosperity to our country and fairness and integrity to the White House. With your help and God�s help, I intend to be that president.
LIEBERMAN: I�d like to come over there and strangle you, George.
You don�t have to be a screamer to be tough. When I was attorney general of Connecticut, I sued the insurance companies, one of the big interest groups in my state. As a US Senator, I�ve taken on some of the big interest groups. In my party, I am the only one on stage who has taken on Hollywood, the entertainment industry, for peddling sex and violence to our kids. I went to the floor of the US Senate and spoke out against a president to whom I was devoted because he did something that I thought was wrong. I supported the Gulf War. I supported the war against Saddam Hussein. My career shows that I am ready to do the right thing for our country. That�s what strength is all about.
The House proceedings [were] defined by bitter partisanship [and hence] exacerbated the divisions this matter has caused, and eroded the public�s trust in the fairness and legitimacy of this important process.
As the trial proceeds, we must remember that our goal is not and should not be to punish the President but to protect the nation. I am convinced that the only way to serve that compelling interest is to resolve this matter not as Republicans and Democrats but as Americans, bound by a common purpose and free of partisan prejudice. The public that we serve, already deeply skeptical of our motives, deserves no less.
After much reflection, my feelings of disappointment and anger have not dissipated, except now these feelings have gone beyond my personal dismay to a larger, graver sense of loss for our country, a reckoning of the damage that the president�s conduct has done to the proud legacy of his presidency and, ultimately, an accounting of the impact of his actions on our democracy and its moral foundations.
No matter how much the president or others may wish to compartmentalize the different spheres of his life, the inescapable truth is that the president�s private conduct can and often does have profound public consequences.
I have done so not for partisan reasons, but because I believe he was wrong. I�m a Democrat with a 35-year record of fighting for progressive causes, for the middle class, for civil rights, for women�s rights, for human rights and a lot more. I voted with my Senate Democratic colleagues 90% of the time. And when I have disagreed, I have had the courage of my convictions to say so. That�s who I am. That�s who I have been. And that�s what I offer Connecticut voters for the next six years -- experience, principles and results.
A: What a Democrat means to me is what it meant in 1960 when President Kennedy summoned my generation into public service. In our time, the Democratic Party has been the great hope of people rising in our country, and it remains that way.
[My opponent] is running a single issue campaign. He is a single issue candidate who is applying a litmus test to me. It�s not good enough to be 90% voting with my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus. He wants 100%. And when a party does that, it�s the beginning of the defeat of that party. I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008. This man and his supporters will frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that.
ANNOUNCER: How do we defeat George Bush�s extreme agenda? It�ll take more than extreme anger. Joe Lieberman has spent 30 years rejecting the extremes of both parties. Fighting against discrimination. Taking on corporate polluters. Helping protect children from trash culture. Standing strong against terrorism. Championing tax cuts for the middle class. Joe Lieberman: the integrity to fight for what�s right.
ANALYSIS: This is an anti-Howard Dean ad that doesn�t mention Dean�s name. Lieberman acknowledged this, and his media advisor says �everyone is quite clear what we�re talking about.� The Connecticut senator is seizing on a recent spate of stories about Dean�s temperament-and trying to position himself as the moderate alternative to the more liberal Dean-without risking a backlash by suggesting the party�s front-runner is extreme as well as angry.
A: It is because I am the most independent minded center out candidate in the Democratic field -- which is to say that I am the most like Bill Clinton was in 1992. That means that I can take Bush on where he is supposed to be strong but really isn�t -- defense, security and values. I can defeat him where he is weak on his failed economic policies and his right wing social agenda. Years ago someone told me that you can�t help the people unless you get elected, and that is important to voters who want to deny Bush a second term to remember. We have to run a candidate who can hold Democrats together, appeal to moderate Republicans and win among independents, and I believe I am that candidate.
A: The fact is that I am very different from the Republican I am running against which is George Bush. I have a very strong support on social justice and social progress. My positions on civil rights, environmental protection, education, health care, women�s right to choose, consumer protection, worker protection, are like day to George Bush�s night. I resent it when some people say just because I am strong on defense and am willing to talk about values in public life that somehow I am not a good Democrat. To me being strong on defense and talking about values is all about being a good Democrat in the tradition of Kennedy and Clinton and Gore.
A: First, I am impressed that you knew I was active in the Kennedy campaign in 1968. Second, my campaign for president is all about making sure that the Democratic party is true to the ideals of Bobby Kennedy. That means fighting for social justice and social progress, being able to unite Americans across possible dividing lines like race and nationality and to unite us around the values that we share and the dreams for a better, safer life we all have. That particularly includes making improvements to our public schools and our healthcare system.
Lieberman�s views are completely in tune with the vice president�s on abortion, the environment, gun control, gay rights and the death penalty. He has usually supported the Clinton administration on foreign policy issues, and in 1991, Lieberman and Gore, who was then a senator, were among only 10 Democratic senators who voted to give President George Bush the authority to use military force in the Persian Gulf. When he has opposed the Clinton administration, Lieberman has invariably taken a more conservative stance, often the one held by Republicans.
Q: Have you ever doubted yourself in fighting this fight after the election?
A: I honestly have not. If we come to that moment, we will know it. But this is not about fighting on regardless. Ever since Election night and the next day, all that we have asked is that every vote that was cast be counted. And that�s a simple and profound American proposition. It�s not only important to the people who voted, but it�s important to the next president so he takes office without that cloud over his head. When you�re treated unfairly by the government in America, what do you do? You go to the courts. And that�s what we�re doing. And we�re not going to carry this on to a point where it will hurt this country.
Q: Do you feel that if every vote in Florida was counted, you would win this election?
A: I believe we would. That�s part of why Al Gore and I are asking for this hand recount. Remember, we won the popular vote. We�re just three electoral votes short of victory.
In thousands of hours of work by hundreds of citizens of Florida, Republicans and Democrats and independents alike are being ignored. What is at issue here is nothing less than every American�s simple, sacred right to vote. How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?
�My own point of view, if I was there, I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel, generally,� Lieberman said on NBC�s �Meet the Press.� Of the local canvassing boards, he said, �If they have the capacity, I�d urge them to go back and take another look, because again, Al Gore and I don�t want to ever be part of anything that would put an extra burden on the military personnel abroad.�
�Without the connection to a higher law,� he said, �it becomes more and more difficult for people to answer the important day- to-day questions that test us: Why is it wrong to lie or cheat or steal? Why is it wrong to settle conflicts with violence? Why is it wrong to be unfaithful to one�s spouse, or to exploit children, or to despoil the environment, or defraud a customer, or demean an employee?� Lieberman said that religion provides a common ground for values - nonviolence, respect for others - that few would find objectionable
Many Christians came to Lieberman�s defense, saying they had been advocating the same things for years and had been vilified. But Lieberman�s message is substantially different from that of the Christian conservatives. As a Jew, without a sectarian mandate to proselytize, Lieberman bears none of the baggage of the religious salesman, and thus is more palatable to a wider public than evangelical Christians.
Many religious scholars say that Lieberman recalls an older, non-sectarian spiritual underpinning to government. Lieberman instead advocates what has been called �civil religion,� the ties that bind America�s majority of believers, of whatever faith. The term encompasses the basic beliefs that led the Founders to proclaim that the Creator had endowed man with certain �inalienable rights.�
�Let us reach out to those who may neither believe nor observe, and reassure them that we share with them the core values of America, that our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom, and that our mission is not one of intolerance, but of love. We know that the Constitution wisely separates church from state. But remember, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Not freedom from religion. So let us break through some of the inhibitions that have existed to talk together across the flimsy line of separation of faith: to talk together, to study together, and to pray together.�
�I think the vice president made an excellent choice,� the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who is supporting Gov. George W. Bush, said in an interview yesterday. �It is a public acknowledgment that his candidacy has two great needs. One is credibility, which Mr. Lieberman brings to anything he touches. The second is an everlasting divorce from Bill Clinton, and this is that.�
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).
Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person�s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There�s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.
As New Democrats, we believe in a Third Way that rejects the old left-right debate and affirms America�s basic bargain: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and community of all.
America and the world have changed dramatically in the closing decades of the 20th century. The industrial order of the 20th century is rapidly yielding to the networked �New Economy� of the 21st century. Our political and governing systems, however, have lagged behind the rest of society in adapting to these seismic shifts. They remain stuck in the left-right debates and the top-down bureaucracies of the industrial past.
The Democratic Leadership Council, and its affiliated think tank the Progressive Policy Institute, have been catalysts for modernizing politics and government. The core principles and ideas of this �Third Way� movement [began with] Bill Clinton�s Presidential campaign in 1992, Tony Blair�s Labour Party in Britain in 1997, and Gerhard Shroeder�s Social Democrats in Germany in 1998.
When one reads accounts of Jews in American politics, the common theme is that Jews have achieved prominence in art, literature, academia, certain businesses, and entertainment, but not in politics or government. The Jewish politician was the exception, not the rule.
In the last third of the 20th century, however, that pattern changed. By 2000, Jews had become as prominent in the political realm as they have been in other aspects of American life. And Jewish participation is accepted for the contributions these activists make, not because of their Jewishness. Nothing could symbolize this trend more cogently than the nomination of Joseph Lieberman for vice president in 2000 and the national reaction to his candidacy. [Lieberman says]:
Although politics was not exactly a Jewish profession, individual Jews did throw themsleves into the democratic process. Some were traditional politicians; others machine politicians. Many more, such as Emma Goldman and the radicals of the early 20th century, were inspired by the ideal that they had a duty to repair the world�Tikkun Olam.[This book] provides brief biographical sketches for more than 400 Jews who have played prominent roles in American political life. The roster provides much of the basic information that we felt was previously lacking in one place.
Many reasons account for the broader representation of Jews in American civic life today. The forces of antisemitism have been relegated to the extreme margins of society, the principle of meritocracy has increasingly opened the doors of opportunity. Moreover, the idealism and purpose that were spawned by the movements for civil rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam, environmentalism, and other causes drew many Jewish Americans into the political arena. Jews are admonished tp help perfect the world by the ancient wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon, who tells us, �You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdaw from it.�
The Senate New Democrat Coalition (SNDC) [is analogous to] the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) in the House. Members of both groups are moderate Democrats who advocate a new centrist, progressive approach to governing and who often reach across party lines to get things done.
Established in 1997, the House New Democrat Coalition (NDC) grew to 64 members between 1998 and 2000, making it the largest caucus in the House. With the success of NDN�s top House candidates on Election Day, the NDC has grown to 72 members in the 107th Congress. The Senate New Democrat Coalition (SNDC), established in 2000, is already 20 members.
In announcing the establishment of the SNDC in February 2000, Sen. Landrieu stated, �The American people are tired of the same old proposals and are demanding that we work together in a more creative way on the many problems facing our nation. Too often here in Washington, the loudest voices are the ones on the far left and far right. That is why this group was formed, to give voice to those in the sensible center.� The SNDC has already made its voice heard on critical issues ranging from education to trade to health care and, with the Senate evenly divided, the Senate New Dems are increasingly determining the balance of power.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.
Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.
Since its inception, the DLC has championed policies from spurring private sector economic growth, fiscal discipline and community policing to work based welfare reform, expanded international trade, and national service. Throughout the 90�s, innovative, New Democrat policies implemented by former DLC Chairman President Bill Clinton have helped produce the longest period of sustained economic growth in our history, the lowest unemployment in a generation, 22 million new jobs, cut the welfare rolls in half, reduced the crime rate for seven straight years, balanced the budget and streamlined the federal bureaucracy to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.
Now, the DLC is promoting new ideas -- such as a second generation of environmental protection and new economy and technology development strategies -- that is distinctly different from traditional liberalism and conservatism to build the next generation of America�s leaders.
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