The Republicanification of Joe Lieberman

It’s funny, in a way. Every time Joe Lieberman gets more comfortable in the role of Republican attack dog, I think, “Well, now he’s done it. Lieberman couldn’t possibly get any worse.” And yet, the guy keeps finding new sharks to jump over.

It’s not that Lieberman has changed, necessarily, but rather it’s that his hackery has become more intense and bellicose. He’s gone from being a largely incoherent neocon to being a largely incoherent belligerent neocon.

Lieberman touches all the far-right bases in a spectacularly inane op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose? […]

The reversal began, like so much else in our time, on September 11, 2001. The attack on America by Islamist terrorists shook President Bush from the foreign policy course he was on. He saw September 11 for what it was: a direct ideological and military attack on us and our way of life. If the Democratic Party had stayed where it was in 2000, America could have confronted the terrorists with unity and strength in the years after 9/11.

Instead a debate soon began within the Democratic Party about how to respond to Mr. Bush. I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made. 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. 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.
It’s as if Lieberman is living in some kind of Twilight Zone. After the attacks of 9/11, Democrats were on board with a unified, global counter-terrorism strategy. The problem came when the Bush gang — cheered on by McCain, Lieberman, and Bill Kristol — decided that the strategy needed to change, and it was time to go after Iraq.

The result is the Democratic Party further to the American mainstream on foreign policy and national security than at any point since the end of the Cold War.

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