Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Al Gore’s vice-presidential candidate in 2000 who subsequently broke away from the Democratic Party and won reelection as an independent in 2006, has announced that he will not seek reelection when his fourth term expires next year.
Lieberman’s departure will not make much difference to the political scene in Washington as his influence has been on the wane for years. It is nevertheless moderately good news because his hypocrisy, bad judgment and malevolence are impressive even by the standards of the best Congress money can buy.
Lieberman took pride of his well publicized pontifications on issues of “values” and “morality,” notably in 1998 when he described President Clinton’s conduct in the Lewinsky scandal as “disgraceful,” drawing praise from members of both parties for his supposedly principled stand. At the same time he has supported a host of bad causes and continues to support them.
In 1999 Lieberman co-sponsored the “Hate Crimes Bill” (S.622) that had sought to criminalize any statement critical of militant homosexuals’ objectives, practices and “lifestyle.” He was outspoken in his advocacy in giving homosexuals and lesbians the same rights as heterosexuals to adopt children. He has been a vocal supporter of the repeal of don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy: “The late Senator Barry Goldwater once said, ‘It’s not important if you are straight, just that you can shoot straight.’ I agree, and believe our current policy should be changed.” When it was changed last month he hailed the decision as a personal triumph.
An advocate of open borders, in January 2004 Lieberman supported “one-time earned legalization” for illegal immigrants. Four months earlier he accused President George W. Bush of using 9/11 as an excuse to avoid immigration reform. In June 2007 he voted against declaring English as the official language of the U.S. government and supported blanket amnesty for the illegals (“Comprehensive Immigration Reform”). In March 2008 he voted to support continuing federal funds for declared “sanctuary cities” which violated federal immigration laws. He was rated 0% by USBC.
Lieberman’s pro-abortion stand and his voting record on abortion are incompatible with Orthodox Judaism which he claims to profess: “Al Gore and I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose and our opponents will not. We know that this is a difficult, personal, moral, medical issue. But that is exactly why it ought to be left, under our law, to a woman, her doctor and her god.” He has regularly scored 100% in voting record surveys by NARAL and other pro-abortion groups.
A life-long global interventionist, Lieberman has been a consistent supporter of NATO expansion and an enthusiast for the Iraq war, “a heroic struggle against enemies of civilization” (September 2003). He took pride in not having “an inch of difference” from George W. Bush on the issue, declaring that “overthrowing Saddam was right,” and—somewhat oddly—that the victory in Iraq would open door to Israeli-Palestinian peace (January 2004)
The darkest side of Senator Joseph Lieberman’s record has to do with his stand of Kosovo. Well before the KLA escalated its terrorist campaign in early 1998, instigating the crisis that culminated in the bombing campaign a year later, Albanian separatists were active purchasing political influence in Washington. Their key backer was Bob Dole, but Lieberman soon became a major asset and was given money by Albanian lobbyists. This champion of campaign finance reform performed on cue: as early as in October 1998, way ahead of the rest of the pack, he went on television to advocate war against Serbia. It was not only a matter of U.S./NATO “credibility,” said he, but also of morality, “a question of acting early to stop a broader war in the Balkans… a question of acting out of our humanitarian values.” In April 1999 he declared that “the United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles ... Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
Once he did get that longed-for bombing, Lieberman urged an unlimited escalation of the war with ground troops, and actively advocated war crimes against Serb civilians. He expressed hope that the air campaign, “even if it does not convince Milosevic to order his troops out of Kosovo, will so devastate his economy, which it’s doing now, so ruin the lives of his people, that they will rise up and throw him out.”
On May 23, 1999, Lieberman repeated this call for indiscriminate terrorist bombing of civilian targets in Serbia on Fox News. When the presenter said, “But wait, I thought we weren’t trying to make life miserable for regular, every day Serbs,” Lieberman’s answer was unambiguous:
Oh, we are. I mean that’s what we’ve been doing for the last couple of months. We’re not only hitting military targets, otherwise why would we be cutting off the water supply and knocking out the power stations—turning the lights out. We’re trying through the air campaign to break the will of the Serbian people so they will force their leader to break his will to then order the troops out of Kosovo.
A paragon of moral virtue was actively advocating war crimes against innocent (“regular”) civilians. Lieberman additionally repaid his Albanian benefactors by sponsoring the infamous “Kosovo Self-Defense Act” that would have provided $25 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money to equip 10,000 KLA “fighters” with arms and anti-tank weapons. In the event Lieberman’s KLA friends did not need additional arms: they were given a free hand to kill and expel non-Albanians from Kosovo under the benevolent gaze of NATO occupiers. He remaind mute following last month’s revelations that his KLA protégés were involved in organ harvesting and heroin trafficking on a grand scale.
Joseph Lieberman has been described as “the conscience of the U.S. Senate.” Indeed, just as Luca Brasi was the conscience of the Corleone family.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.