May 21st, 2008
11:10 AM ET
12 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. Rick in Florida

    Lieberman............part of the OLD SCHOOL in Washington, and is a Republican in all but name only. "Independent"??? Sure, yeah right.

    The Dems cast him out of their party so BIG SURPRISE that he has now hooked his wagon to the GOP train. But then again, if it weren't for Lieberman whispering in McCain's ear, correcting his gaffes (or is it early onset of Alzheimer's) then how could McCain find his way around the issues??

    May 21, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Anna

    Democracy now.

    No to the neocons.

    No to Lieberman.

    No more war for Israel.

    May 21, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Carlos

    Per Lyndon Johnson,

    The real threat to our nation and to our World is the American Political
    Right Wing, also known as the Military Industrial Establishment. The
    left is not comprised of pro-abortion/gay/migrant/environmental mal

    They simply are as compelled about thier own individual freedoms
    as the Bible thumping right wing conservatives are, just not as hypocritical.

    May 21, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. RR

    Lieberman.....You have lost your "marbles" also!

    May 21, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Veterans for Clinton

    Its not only true but it will also be the downfall of the Democratic Party. McCain will be our next president if Obama is the nominee.

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Chad

    oops sorry for the spelling tail

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Samantha

    Barack Obama needs to stand up to the racists who support him. That will be many indeed, I'm afraid. Racism is not one color. Voters need to have bettter criteria than that for choosing their candidate. Qualifications and experience are at the top of that list. On the other hand, I don't see how Obama can stand up to the left of the Party. He is the left of the Party.

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. tony richards

    Joe, you are the reason we got Bush II. Shut up and stop trying to be McGramps running mate. You spend more time with him then Cindy

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Vig

    Obama can't stand up to anyone – he can't stand on his own two feet. He has to have promotionals pushing his candidacy such as the "Oprah Effect"; he suddenly wears a flag pin when it benefits him to do so; his wife has a life-long disrespect for this country and only feels proud of it now that her husband has become a celebrity candidate – hypocrites. Obama is as superficial as they come.

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Bitter Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    Yeah, and guess who's not willing to stand up to the right wing. I'll give you a hint: his name starts with an M, ends with an n, and has "cCai" in the middle.

    May 21, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Peace at any price sounds a lot better to me than war for the price of 4,000+ dead Americans, countless dead Iraqis, and billions of dollars while the poor in this country fall deeper into the abyss.

    Their blood is on your hands, Sen. Lieberman.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. from CT

    I am so pissed off we voted this guy back in as an independent. I can't believe what a fast one he pulled on the state of CT joining the republicans when he said he would sit with the democrats even though he was an independent. I feel so betrayed, I cannot WAIT until we vote him out of there!

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. nerakami

    First of all, it is extremely difficult to discern where McFlipFlop truly stands on any issue as many have changed to the complete opposite since 2000. That alone makes him untrustworthy as it appears his agenda is connected to political expediency.

    Secondly, the notion that any politician should have to denounce and reject others' viewpoints is beyond me. Let the politician speak HIS truths and his only... that way we can focus on who he is and what he is about... he/she does not have to murky the water with others' viewpoints.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Stephina

    Leiberman – Thank you for the Straight Talk.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Dr. Prickman

    Lieberman needs to stop following John McCain around like a puppy,
    and face up to the fact that he is a traitor of the democratic party. It will
    be a trip when McCain doesn't choose him as vice president.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Anna, SW Missouri

    Sorry, Senator Lieberman, but, as a Republican, I have to stand with Senator Hagel on this one. Americans do know who our enemies are, and we also know that the neocons have taken over John McCain's campaign. History has proven over and over that it is in our best interest to engage our enemies with diplomacy. That is not apeasement. Obama and Hagel are correct.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Liberman is too old to be so wreckless.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Old Women from Minnesota for Barack

    Liebermann and Geraldine Ferraro '08

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Crush Rush

    Looks like McCain got his voice box back.The Jerusalem Post today said that Bush plans to attack Iran before his term is up.

    May 21, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Independent for Obama never Lieberman

    I hope he does get McCain's Vice President slot.

    Then he will be a 2 time loser.

    He will loose his next election bid.

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Yeap, two granpas yelling at the clouds. Did the clouds yell back oldies?

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Mr. McGoo and Co.

    I literaly want to throw up when either one of these men speak.

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Doug R.

    Oh, looked who reared his ugly head...Joe LIEberman. Another tough guy who wants to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Are you two old fools going to start whispering things into each other ears??

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Alisa--GA

    Anytime he wants to stop looking a sore loser that would be fine.

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Ron L

    Lieberman and many off the people of his age (generation) DO NOT GET IT..

    Lets look at Cuba..for 50 years we have refused to REALLY talk with their leaders. WHY?? Because they are Communist?? EXCUSE ME...I do believe China is communist as well.

    If you try something for 50 YEARS and nothing changes...IT AIN'T WORKING!!!

    To TALK with OTHER LEADERS without Preconditions has up till now been called NEGOTIATIONS!!! President Bush, Sen. Lieberman, and McCain want to make just MEETING with the President a REWARD. This is PURE EGO RUNNING WILD!!! and it will never work!!!

    This situation with Cuba has gone on too darn long.....We need to fix it and the only way to fix it will be to change the tactics in which it is addressed.

    May 21, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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