On Sunday, Joe Lieberman was asked about Brave New Films' Lieberman Must Go campaign when he appeared on Connecticut talk show "Beyond the Headlines," which airs on a local FOX affiliate. After Lieberman first attempted to deflect host Sherry Sindland's question with a trademark shrug and an awkward joke ("I'm definitely not going to sign that petition"), he accused Brave New Films of partisan politics. Meanwhile, he maintained that his unconditional support for John McCain is somehow "non-partisan."
Just to be clear, this is the same Lieberman who has publicly endorsed McCain and has traveled all over the country and the world on his behalf. The same Lieberman who has been pushing his hawkish support for Bush-McCain's deeply unpopular war in Iraq. The same Lieberman who has viciously attacked Barack Obama time and time again. And yet he is lecturing us about partisan politics?
Still, the very fact that Lieberman must now answer a question like this highlights the mounting tension around our call for the Democratic Steering Committee to strip Lieberman of his rank within the Senate. Last week's petition delivery, with all 43,000 signatures, commanded a slew of media coverage. It pressured Steering Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to comment on MSNBC. And it was mentioned again on the front page of yesterday's New York Times, in an article about how Lieberman has alienated his former friends and allies in the Democratic party.
In fact, Bob Novak reports that Lieberman will be booted from the party's caucus if he addresses the Republican National Convention as planned. And still, Lieberman won't heed warnings from his own party, just as he won't listen to polls in his home state of Connecticut, where his approval rating has dropped below 50 percent while he has been out campaigning with McCain.
Lieberman Must Go, partly because of his loyalty to McCain, partly because he has said he would consider speaking at the Republican convention, and partly because of his hawkish warmongering. Just watch part two of this interview, in which Lieberman again praises Bush-McCain's plan in Iraq. Then, when Sindland tosses Lieberman a softball on whether he perceives Iran's testing of short-range missiles as a direct threat to Israel, Lieberman confuses Iran and Iraq:
"Yeah, I see it as a direct threat to Israel and our Arab allies in the Middle East. I mean, I can tell you from conversations I have with our Arab allies that frankly they're just concerned about Iraq becoming -- excuse me, Iran becoming -- a nuclear power and now having these ballistic missiles as the Israelis are.
I half-expected McCain to pop into the frame and whisper a correction into Lieberman's ear, in much the same way Lieberman corrected McCain about Sunni and Shiite extremists last spring. Lieberman goes on to assert that Iran is the greatest threat our country faces; he even tries to claim he didn't advocate a military strike in Iran before Sindland points out that he did.
This is fear- and warmongering at its ugliest, and we shouldn't stand for it from the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sign Lieberman Must Go today.