It started with Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake. The headline, Lieberman to Campaign With Republicans Today. It was quickly picked up by Chris Bowers over at MyDD, this time titled The Last Straw: Lieberman Campaigns For Republicans In Connecticut. Chris wrote "Joe Lieberman is now actively supporting Republicans for important seats in Congress." The story was next picked up at DailyKos, the most popular political blog.
The problem is that it's not actually true. Lieberman was with two Republicans, Governor M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep Rob Simmons at a celebration of their successful campaign a year ago to keep the New London Submarine Base open. Democrat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is endorsing Ned Lamont, was also there.
It can be argued that any time a politician appears in public they are "campaigning". But that's misleading. Yes, they were all there together and they all worked to save the base and they all hope to reap political rewards from that. But when we're told "Lieberman is campaigning with Republicans" (FDL) one envisions an event with no other purpose except that the politicians praise and endorse one another, the kind of "campaigning" that happens all the time. And showing up at a politically opportune event is not at all the same as "campaigning for Republicans" (MyDD).
It reminds me of when I was in Israel and one of the Israeli commanders was asked about civilian casualties in Bint Jbail. "Our soldiers who are killed in Bint Jbail are also civilians," he replied. It's a nice piece of rhetorical gymnastics but it's not actually true. After all if soldiers are also civilians then the civilian distinction becomes irrelevant. Similarly, if every time a politician speaks at an event it is automatically a campaign event then there's no point in making the distinction.
There are very good reasons to be against Joe Lieberman and the best one is the continually deteriorating situation in Iraq. Joe has been the most hawkish Democrat on Iraq. He still has not admitted his vote authorizing force was a mistake. He recently said, "I believe we did the right thing in overthrowing Saddam Hussein." On a recent radio appearance Lieberman stated: "Iraq has now become what everyone thinks it was before, another battlefield in this war with Islamic terrorists, and we've got to end it with a victory." But what would victory in Iraq look like? It would probably look like Iraq under Saddam, a secular institution at odds with Iran and al-Qaeda, contained and weak and not a threat to American interests.
We've spent 300 Billion dollars destroying Iraq and turning Iran into the major power in Middle Eastern politics. Imagine what that kind of effort could have produced if focused on energy independence. The war in Iraq is a profound disaster with repercussions still to come. The American public was sold the war on the basis of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't exist. To paraphrase the Downing Street Memo, the intelligence was fixed. We were told we would be greeted as liberators. Now both Bush and Lieberman are making the argument that it could be worse. But they've squandered our resources and their own credibility.
Kos, Chris, and Jane are fine Democrats at the forefront of an important movement and it's important they not squander their credibility this way. I waited a day to write this, hoping to see a retraction, clarification, or apology. But there isn't one. At this point we should all know the danger of intentionally spreading misinformation.
Update: At this point I am convinced that Kos, Chris, and Jane were probably not "intentionally" spreading misinformation. It's an important point because I think all three are great patriots. I stand by the rest of the post. Also, I applaud Chris Bowers.