May 21st, 2008
11:10 AM ET
7 years ago

Lieberman: Obama not willing to 'stand up to the left wing'

 Sen Lieberman has traveled with McCain on the campaign trail.
Sen Lieberman has traveled with McCain on the campaign trail.

(CNN) - Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, took his criticism of Barack Obama to a new level Wednesday, writing in an op-ed that Republican John McCain’s “political courage” stands in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s – and that his former party had moved “further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.”

"When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves, Lieberman said in the Wall Street Journal piece, adapted from a weekend speech. “By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

“Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign,” said Lieberman, who has endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid.

"In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it. John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies,” wrote the Connecticut senator.

Lieberman added that there were occasions when the tough diplomacy advocated by Obama might be called for, but that he believed the Illinois senator was advocating “a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

"Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot."

Two months ago, Lieberman compared to Democratic icon John F. Kennedy.

“I'm a Democrat who came to the party in the era of President John F. Kennedy,” Lieberman told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week. ”It's a strange turn of the road when I find among the candidates running this year that the one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.”

“…The Democratic Party today was not the party it was in 2000. It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically… very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me,” he said.

Earlier this month, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t question Obama’s commitment when it comes to the Middle East, but said the Illinois senator's failure to set pre-conditions on the meeting shows inexperience, and “not only gives prestige [to Ahmedinajad], but threatens our allies in the region.”

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Comedy Central

    Wait a minute...isn't Obama the far-left wing of the Democratic party? I am missing something here.

    May 21, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Proud Republican

    John McCain does not speak for me, or my beliefs. I'm voting Democrat this year to send a message to the Republican Party that they need to shape out or lose my vote forever.

    May 21, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Dee, McCain drags Lieberman around so he can keep McCain out of trouble when he 'forgets' or 'misspeaks'.

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Ben (New York)

    HILLARY 08

    If the most experienced nominee Hillary Clinton does not win the nomination we are doomed for another 4 years of Republican madness.

    She has the over-whelming popular vote. She has the States that wins elections, she is a proven winner, not a media created fast talker with big promises and no real plans.

    Obama would even lose if his running mate were JFK.

    People stay away from the hype, and the first black thing and look at the candidate for what he is. A nice talking man with no solutions and who cannot fess up to who his Pastor was and is.

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Go Michelle

    Michelle looked great last night. I hope she gets a former White House Social Secretary to help her before she moves in the WH. She needs to look like she looked last night at ALL times. It can't be easy while on the campaign trail, and raising two kids.

    Remember Cindy McCain is bringing her A game, but she has had the money, and time (over 20 years) to get ready. I want the same for Michelle–our next first lady.

    Michelle Obama–08

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Maggie VT

    Please take this man away somewhere, anywhere. Take Hillary with you, please!!!!!! I heard the speech she gave in FL today, My, it sounds like we are going for round 2 in FL with the votes. She is insisting she get all the popular votes and delegates in FL and MI. Sounds like Bush to me!!!!

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Concerned American

    traitor and an idiot who listens to such a loser...

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Yeah, Lieberman? And YOU'RE afraid to stand up to the Bush right wing, who have all but destroyed our standing and credibility with the rest of the world! You've got it all wrong, pal: The Democrats haven't moved further to the left over the past 20 years-YOU and the GOP have moved so far right you're way off the chart now! Why don't you just switch parties and get it over with? I will be contributing heavily to your opponent next time you're up for election!
    OBAMA '08 AND '12!

    May 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. ok

    If Lieberman was that good, why did the Democratic Party lose in 2000? Why did Lieberman lose in the Last Democratic nomination in his state? Lieberman, you have no face to say and do what you are doing. You have no values either, so you fit with the Republicans so well. You are one of them.

    May 21, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. GRNew York

    Lieberman has a lot of credibility. He is an Independent because the Democratic Party turned it's back on him for his dissent. That is just what this party needs, censure of their more experienced members. Lieberman demonstrated his courage under fire form his own party. L

    Obama is obviously a brilliant man, but, POLITICALLY- what has he done? What bills did he sponsor; what committees did he lead; what political breakthroughs is he responsible for? Anyone can make promises, few can deliver.

    McCain 08

    May 21, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. New Day

    W. – oh yeah!!!!! if you look at him that way he does remind me of JFK!!! good call

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Can any dems answer this question?

    What got America out of the great depression?

    Pls respond!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. ProudOfObama

    come doggy doggy follow me

    brown nose traitor to your party, dems don´t need this rat

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. AC

    2012 – Next presidential election and Hillary's senate term is up.
    Which does she abandon?

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Proud American

    Mildly put Joe Lieberman is a self-serving idiot. America has never been his priority. He was the main reason we lost in 2000.

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Ron, LV

    Why don't the people of Connecticut have a recall vote on Lieberman? I do not see where he has the interest of the American People or the people of Connecticut as his first priority. I also do not see how he can call himself and independent. He looks more like McCain's lapdog.

    May 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Ebony and Ivory

    It pains me he said. Lieberman has abandoned his party. He had always been a wolf in sheeps clothing anyway. His foreign policy, if it is not about twisting other nations' arms for Isreal Lieberman is against it. Period.

    May 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. James B.

    Reading some of these postings makes me want to laugh and scream all at the same time. Evidently, some of you don't realize that Lieberman was re-elected by people in his own state. The chosen DNC candidate lost. And some of you seem to think that if you don't drop to your knees at the mention of Obama's name, that makes you a Neo-Con. Please. Get a life. Do you think your vitriol adds to the political discourse in this country? Do you really? Some of us would prefer an INDEPENDENT candidate, because neither Obama or McCain or the parties they represent are the answer. They are THE PROBLEM. Democrats, that includes you as well...

    May 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Mike in Indiana

    David Smith writes, "Obama is a coalition builder."

    He is? Judging from the state of the Democratic primary process, I beg to differ. The only 'coalition' he's managed to build is between African-Americans and leftist-minded elitists. Meanwhile a good 1/3 or more of the Clinton voters are saying point-blank they'll never vote for the guy (either choosing to stay home or vote McCain).

    That's a lousy coalition – even if you're willing to call it a coalition. Obama's gonna get his backside handed to him this fall.

    May 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Scott

    You disagree with McCain's economic policies, and that's the most important issue to Americans. They are to much to the left, old minds think the same. It is time for change, the old school is done

    Obama

    May 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. gary

    AMERICA IS BIAS AGAINST A WOMAN PRESIDENT. THEIR GOOD ENOUGH TO COOK FOR A MAN,SUPPORT A MAN,GIVE THE MAN THE PLEASURES THEY WANT,BABY THEM WHEN THEIR SICK,GIVE THEM KIDS ,BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO BE A LEADER. THEY RATHER HAVE A AFRICAN AMERICAN THATS HAS NO QUALIFICATIOS, TRACK RECORD OF DOING ANYTHING FOR US AND THIS COUNTRY. HRC HAS BEEN THERE TIME AFTER TIME FOR US.OBAMA IS JUST A SLICK CON MAN ,THATS WHY HE RAISES SO MUCH MONEY FROM THE YOUNG. HE CAN HUSTLE THE LOST MINDED YOUTH ,BUT NOT THE WISE ADULTS. THIS RACE HAS BEEN FIXED FROM THE BEGINING. WITHOUT HRC ,O.B. HASN'T GOT A CHANCE IN NOV. US UNEDUCATED AND OTHER CHOICE WORDS FROM THE CLINTON HATERS(O.B. SUPPORTERSWILL HAVE A RUDE AWAKINIG. YOU THE MEDIA, PRESS AND DNC HAS DONE NOTHING BUT TRASH THE CLINTONS, AND HER SUPPORTERS. WE WILL GET THE LAST LAUGH IN NOV. MC CAIN IS LOOKIG BETTER EVERYDAY.

    May 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Concerned citizen

    I used to have a respect for Lieberman, but now see only idiocy in this man. Besides him, McCain and Clinton behave so childishly - how come Clinton make us rules that work for her? Anyhow, I am not sure if this nation has a bright future, if these people are "experienced" enough for the presidency...

    May 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. yns

    At least Lieberman and McCain stand up to defend their convicitions. I want a President who can do that, not one that has a record of voting for nothing and the only stance he has taken is "present." Be it right or wrong, agreeable or disagreeable, at least Lieberman, McCain and Hillary have all defended their convictions because they have them. They don't need a 24 to 48 hour time frame to have their writers create a speech. Speeches are not the answers and I hope the American People will WAKE UP and see that!

    May 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Mike

    He spoke the truth and after reading all these responses, the old saying is true...THE TRUTH HURTS! Way to go Leiberman.

    May 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Steven

    I just can't vote for McCain – if Hillary supporters like him so much, there must be something wrong with him.

    I'm voting Obama.

    May 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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