Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lieberman is a Republican

"Lieberman, whom the Bush administration has praised repeatedly for his war stance, defended the president. "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more years," the senator said. 'We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril.'"

Evidently Lieberman doesn't mind ruining his own credibility, just his master's.

15 Thoughts:

Blogger pawlr said...

Not to say that Lierberman is necessarily pandering to Jewish voters, but he has in the past - if he's doing it this time, its even more ridiculous if you consider how the Iraq situation is actually hurting Israel since those benefitting the most from Bush's war are the primarily non-secular Shiites and Iranian mullahs. Fool.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:20:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

You are correct in your analysis. However, Lieberman isn't alone, Shumer and Clinton are also pandering to what they believe is a "pro-war Jewish lobby in the NYC area."

The sad truth is that neocons and likudniks both really thought the war in Iraq would help Israel. Whatever WMDs Sadam might have had would be far less of a threat to the mainland USA than to geographically close Israel.

The neocons had even higher expectations. They expected that it would improve our oil security, create stablity in the region, and turn a profit for the U.S. government.

These "red" dems need to look around the corner and understand where their constituents will be in a year's time. They have to realize that this war is over, and we need to pick up our peices and bring the boys home. We should never spill our blood so recklessly again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Truly a "failed policy wrapped in an illusion" as Murtha stated.

The naive hawkishness which created this fiasco is going to bite us all in the ass but good. The neocons failed to recognize that their best hope was actually in rehabilitation of the Baa'thists after Saddam, because at least they have a secular framework of belief, and are relatively modernist in their ideology and bureaucracy compared to the Shi'ites.

But - with characteristic clumsiness and lack of preparation, the Bush admin screwed themselves.

The whole me-too pro-war DLC is what makes the Democratic party losers year after year. We don't have an opposition party - we have a flopposition party. (you heard it here first)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Pawl,

Ditto on the importance of spine. However, don't be too hard on them, 60% of the House voted against the war and Dean and Co. are speaking the truth. It's just the pathetic would-be presidential candidates who are walking the line.

The triangulators should look to Murtha for an example of true leadership. The people really want to be told what the deal is with Iraq and they want a solution dictated to them by someone who has credibility and gravitas. Dean's line is perfect, everyone in the party should adopt it ASAP. Those who voted for the war need to admit that they were wrong and move on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

As you all know, I'm not a fan of Lieberman.

However, to show that Lieberman is pandering to Jewish votes (I assume in Connecticut), you'd have to show how much of the voting population of Connecticut is Jewish, how much of that population is pro-Iraq (and, further, how much of that population is pro-Iraq because of their religion or assoication with Israel), and compare those numbers as percentages to the rest of the state's support or lack of support for Lieberman on Iraq.

Ditto Clinton and Schumer. I'm sure this will be greeted with cries of indignation, but that's what's necessary to have a reality-based conversation.

I am not a fan of any of the three above, and a cursory perusal of what I wrote about the Chomsky-Dershowitz debate will show what I think about the entire issue.

When "pro-war Jewish lobby in the NYC area" is quoted, it's nice to have a source, by the way.

I think Lieberman himself is pro-war (obviously), and possibly for Zionist reasons (probably). That alone may cover it.

Or, what is posited here might be the case. I just don't know, but I'd like to know how you guys know.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's a start.


href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/04statab/pop.pdf">2004-2005 Statistical Abstract of the United States; PDF.
This is linked to at the US Census site here.

According to this document, Connecticut's population is projected to be 3.3% Jewish in 2002, or seventh out of the 50 states in population, behind New York, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Nevada. (See section 69)

In this document, you'll also find (in section 7, "Elections," nos. 389 and 408) that Lieberman won 63.2% of the vote in 2000 (the senatorial vote he never pulled out of despite being on the Gore ticket) in Connecticut.

However, according to the Reform-written but ecumenically sanctioned "Get Out the Vote 2004" document penned to get out the Jewish vote, you'll see under "Why Jews Should Vote":

"American Jews are concentrated in the most populous states and, when activated, can make a real difference in a national election. Ninety percent of the Jewish population resides in 13 states with substantial electoral college leverage: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. These states collectively have 280 electoral votes, more than the amount needed to elect a President. In the past, Jews have frequently been a 'swing vote' in deciding national, state and local elections.

"American Jews have traditionally voted in significantly higher proportions than the general public [later in the doc put at around 70%, down from 90%, of the voting age public (VAP)], both in presidential and off-year elections. This has contribguted to a strengthening of Jewish identity within the context of the American polity and citizenship. It has also assured cntinuity of the special relationship between the United States and AIsrael from every president since Harry Truman."

Even given the fact that this is a get-out-the-vote action document that will put every positive spin on electoral power and potential, and which gives no evidence for Jewish "swing-vote" power, it's important that the community as a whole views itself this way.

Being in favor of abolishing the electoral college ASAP, I'm also thus in favor of abolishing whatever validity the claim has.

However, this quote and source does nothing to connect Lieberman's call for a executive-legislative war council, and his ridiculous claim that criticizing Bush hurts America, to "pandering to Jewish voters." Do you mean, Lieberman is planning to run in 2008 for president, when he'll be 66? Or that he's pandering to Connecticut's Jewish voters for 2006?

If so, even if 70% of Jewish VAPs vote in CT (the national number given in the Reform-penned doc above), then that's 70% of whatever portion of 3.3% is VAP that would vote for Lieberman based on pro-Bush Iraq policies.

So, what percentage of 70% of 3.3% is Lieberman playing to? Can't be a huge percentage of the 62.5% that he garnered in 2000 in the Senate race.

More likely, if Lieberman is pandering at all, it's to the percentage of VAPs who actually vote out of the 96.7% of CT residents who are not Jews who support the Iraq war.

A better hypothesis might be that Lieberman is playing to wealthy pro-Bush contributors, regardless of religion, although they may break down in that way.

The chapter on Lieberman in The Buying of the President: 2004 by Charles Lewis and the Center for Public Integrity (2004), pages 412-439 details who Lieberman's fat-cats are (see page 438).

More relevantly, Lieberman was a very strong supporter of the first Gulf War in 1991, well ahead of most other Democrats. He favored the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. The former would be tough to link to Israel or Judaism, I should think. He strikes me as a hawkish Democrat.

He was also well out in front of the pack in criticizing Clinton over the Lewinsky non-issue.

He even teamed up with Bill Bennett against "filth merchants" in the media.

Lieberman has also been pro-V-chip, pro-partial privatization of Social Security, a critic of affirmative action, and a proponent of school vouchers. Lieberman changed his tune on these issues to gel with Gore in 2000: "Since his near loss in the 2000 election, he has returned to his New Democrat [i.e., DLC] roots."

Despite setting up a 527 (New Democrat Network), he sponsored an amendment to a defnese bill requiring disclosure of donors to 527s. You can see the top ten donors to NDN (nonfederal) on page 423.

He of course continued to raise soft money, even though he voted for McCain-Feingold in 2002, which after all allows for the 527 looophole. (If not, you could kiss ACT and moveon's PAC goodbye, which would be fine with me if all the rightwing 527s died, too.)

Being a Connecticut senator, he's been a big supporter of insurance companies, Hartford being "the insurance capitol of the world."

He's a big supporter of hydrogen fuel cells; and United Technologies, a CT company, is heavily invested in that research. Typical way things get done.

Lieberman is a harsh critic of Bush's tax cuts for the rich, but is a fan of targeted tax cuts for high-tech industries, many of which are located in Connecticut (in part). He's also strongly pro-stem-cell research and supports pharmaceutical an biotech firms in general; he gets a lot of money from them, of course. He's also strongly pro-Internet and the digital economy. He's a big supporter of biomass energy; he's strong on environmental legislation in general.

(All this comes from the book mentioned above.)

So, lots of data, but none that I see that can tie this conservative Democrat (or liberal Republican) to some kind of Zionist or Jewish vote of any consequence in Connecticut.

It is more likely that he has always been pro-defense (CT is a big defense-contracting state, of course), and that the scuttlebutt on him is true: he has more than the average Senator's integrity. That doesn't mean he's right, of course. As the article says, he's taking a pretty unpopular stand, even in the craven Democratic party, but it's not one inconsistent with his past stands.

Yes, I think he's totally wrong. And, to come back 'round to the title of this post, I think he'd do well as a liberal Republican, so he might as well switch (he'll be 64 in February, and is probably too old and did too poorly in 2004 to run for prez again). Might help out that party, but for every Lieberman, there's a Hagel, luckily.

New York is nearly 9% Jewish, by the way (same source as above). That's a more important component, given a higher actual-voting percentage among VAPs in that segment. Whether or not that colors Clinton or Schumer's votes or positions, I don't know, but I think a stronger case could be made.

Anyway, a few factors play into "the Jewish vote's" disproportionate influence. First, a higher percentage are registered and actually vote than in other ethnic groups. So be it. Second, Jewish boomers, now aging, tend, in my anecdotal experience, to have major blinders re: Israel/Palestine for reasons related to my long post below (Holocaust, 1967, etc.). (Interestingly, that doesn't translate cleanly into being pro-Iraq war. One has to actually also believe that the war is helping Israel; that most definitely does not seem to be the case, as Iran is definitely the bigger potential threat, and was in 2002. Even Zionists in the US, Jewish or not, can realize this fact.) Third, Jews tend to have higher incomes, and thus more disposable income to donate to campaigns. They are also very well organized, from the wacko-right to AIPAC (not too far from the wacko right, of course) to Tikkun, and so on, and that means cash, too. Fourth, there is still a cold-war hangover of supporting Israel on the neocon side, Jewish or not. Israel as the (white) democratic outpost among the (nonwhite) Arabs, the state owed the Jews after the world turned its back on them during the Holocaust -- this subconscious or conscious belief plays very strongly in the non-Jewish population in this country, especially the chunk that votes. Add to that the fundy Christian types, who love Israel because Armageddon is a-comin' (sing cuckoo, literally), and you have a very strong pro-Israel political psychology, which, as I and others argue, is hurting not only the US but also Israel itself, as Paul points out.

I hope that's clear. Of course, if anyone can disprove any part of what I said (well, "disprove" is strong, but you know, give me data that conflicts), I'd be happy to hear it, but the knee-jerk reaction to tie Lieberman's announcement to pandering for Jewish votes -- which may actually be true, let me be clear -- actually needs to be shown, not stated as a given due to...what exactly?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 2:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's that first link that I botched: Stat Abst.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 2:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

By the way, on the comments, I completely agree that taking the Edwards line ("I was wrong") and moving on, while fighting this fiction that the Senators had the same intel as the WH (but not without still apologizing for being wrong, and for giving the Bush admin the benefit of the doubt) is the way forward. More Dems will see that, hopefully, by 2006, and, I hope, 2008.

I'm amazed that the Dems who voted for this in 2002 aren't saying, "Look, we fucked up. We trusted an admin who lied to us. They lied to you, too. We apologize for getting herded into voting for force in the aftermath of 9/11." That would give a lot of Americans cover for changing their minds, too. No one likes to be a dupe, but it happens, and it's best to get the apology over with and direct the ire where it belongs: on the Bush admin.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Doug,

Keep your pants on. Nobody said that CN had a large Jewish population, and nobody said that Jews seek to dominate the world by following the Protocols of Zion.

However, 1/3 of American Jews live in the tri-state area, and they are (like yourself) politically active. More importantly, they give $$$$$, a fact that isn't lost on any of the regional Senators. Check out Leiberman's contributions sometime, he get's lots of large "small contributions." I am sure he doesn't want to give those up.

As for the Israel/Iraq link, check out this very informative article posted by ex-CIA experts at

Counterpunch.

Notice also that they feel this issue can't be discussed rationally by those of us on the left because of unfair claims of "anti-semitism."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 5:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Demo:

My pants are on.

I didn't say anyone said CT had a large Jewish population. What was said was that Lieberman was (pawlr) possibly (you) or definitely ("You are correct in your analysis.") "pandering to Jewish voters" in this instance. I simply questioned that assumption.

I didn't mention anything about anti-Semitism.

Yes, I am politically active, and, no, I haven't given a cent to Lieberman, and wouldn't (though I obviously would have financially supported Gore-Lieberman in 2000, had I given money).

So, we're left with:

"More importantly, they give $$$$$, a fact that isn't lost on any of the regional Senators. Check out Leiberman's contributions sometime, he get's lots of large "small contributions." I am sure he doesn't want to give those up."

I'll look it up, but you're assuming that, by last-name analysis I guess, that these Jews are giving money to Lieberman specifically and primarily because they believe in the Iraq war as a safeguard for Israel's security, and not to keep out a Republican, or because they balance his war stance with other issues, or any of a number of other reasons.

How do you know this?

Even were this true, and it's not demonstrated by any fact you've ever posted, this number (sum of Jewish contributions, all of which have been shown to be primarily due to Lieberman's support of Iraq on behalf of Israel) would have to be compared to the amount of non-Jewish personal financial contributions, and also to some reasonable opportunity cost of taking an increasingly unpopular position in Connecticut.

I might point out that West Hartford, as a town, is very Democratic (check me out), and is about (or at least was about) one-third Jewish. There has been an anti-war demo in West Hartford Center (which I've seen myself) on weekends since the war began. I do not know what proportion of the demonstrators are Jewish, of course.

Offhand, do you happen to know how many Jews voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004, or how that broke down by state? I had heard a total number of 25%, but I never saw any data, and I don't know the state-by-state breakdown. Of course, given voting machines, you'd have to compare exit poll data to recorded votes!

On the Counterpunch article, which I read, yes, I agree, and have stated repeatedly that some (probably all) Jewish neocons have supported the Iraq invasion on behalf of what they think (and some, probably all, in Likud thought/think) would be in the best interests of Israel. That's one reason among many, and one interest, among many.

You'll need more than a list of individual contributors to Lieberman to connect that cabal's policy to some group of Jewish voters. You need to find the group, within reason. I'm not saying it doesn't exist; I'm just wondering how big and influential it is.

Now, if you were talking AIPAC, sure. But this post was about "pandering to Jewish voters," and I took the time to show all the assumptions in order to...well, show all the assumptions.

So, by all means, if you can back up the assumptions, back them up. I haven't ruled them out a priori, but we are a reality-based blog, are we not?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Doug - when I wrote "pandering to Jewish voters" I was inexact.. more specifically I meant "pandering to Jewish interest groups that support the overall hard-line position that defending Israel's security means aggressively toppling regimes that threaten them."

I actually tried to post this yesterday after your first comment, as well as some conditions that would meet Doug's critera yesterday but the post didn't go through, not sure why.

Anyway so to prove this revised statement, I would propose that we look for:

- Lieberman appearances before rightist-Jewish interest groups
- contributions specifically from same.
- specific quotes from Lieberman in front of general Jewish audiences that appeal to his 'strong' stance on the defense of Israel.

I think these are the big indicators of whether my revision of what I meant to say could be proved or not. What do you think?

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, that'd go a ways, for sure, pawlr. Sorry I missed you in NYC...

Dug

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Now I'm posting some of these articles raw because I want everyone to draw their own conclusions. It appears to me that Joe's position, like many Dems, are compromised by pandering to far-right lobbies that don't have America's best interests at heart. Also not all the material is sourced to "major" media, but its worth knowing how certain organizations manipulate at least the appearance of Lieberman support.

Lieberman at AIPAC conference in 2004 primary season

More from "Forward"

ZOA is pissed that Joe reverses himself on an earlier commitment to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

A boilerplate quote from AIPAC's site:

"...America has remained Israel's most steadfast friend and ally. In turn, Israel has become America's most steadfast friend and ally in the Middle East. And since its founding in 1954, AIPAC has embodied and strengthened that relationship."
-Senator Joseph Lieberman

And there's this, in defense of Joe's independence:

"In fact, Senator Lieberman’s position on Middle East questions has been as disturbing to many Zionist groups as to some Arab Americans. He signed a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Barak protesting Israel’s plans to sell China sophisticated early-warning aircraft. He visits Arab countries regularly on trips to the Middle East and in 1991 spent a week in Riyadh, where the Saudi royal family fixed kosher meals for him. During the Bush administration, he favored the sale of F-15 warplanes to Saudi Arabia. In 1992 Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, told Lieberman that aides were refusing to let Arab Americans work on the Clinton presidential campaign. Lieberman phoned George Stephanopolous: “This is an Orthodox Jewish senator calling a Greek-American communications director and saying that I want these Arab Americans in this campaign to elect a Southern Baptist president, and I want it done now!” After that, they were welcomed into the campaign.

While many in the organized American Jewish community have urged the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Lieberman signed a 1999 letter urging President Bill Clinton not to pardon Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for passing classified American documents to Israel. In July, Rabbi Mordechai Friedman, president of the American Board of Rabbis, a small Orthodox rabbinical organization, condemned Lieberman on his television show and called him “evil and a traitor” and said there is cause to assassinate him. Federal authorities and New Haven, Connecticut police have launched an investigation. Larry Dub, an Israel-based attorney for Pollard, said: “We do not count on Joe Lieberman to be a friend of ours.”

Hard-line supporters of Israel have been expressing their dismay with Lieberman. New York Post columnist Sidney Zion, for example, wrote: “Don’t let his yarmulke fool you, Joe Lieberman is no great backer of Israel…Lieberman was all for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem—until Al Gore gave him the nod. Today, Joe shakes off the yarmulke and agrees that now is not the time. He boasts about his friendship with Yasser Arafat, whom he used to regularly condemn."

Don't let that 'yalmuke' fool you. How ridiculous. One thing I get from a lot of these far-right Jewish orgs is that they actually LIKE it when people conflate their position with that of the Jewish community in general. They clearly want to be the "spokespeople" for all Jews, and its important not to be drawn into that assumption.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Kind of drifting away from Joe here, but this is interesting:

"Whatever inanities may be voiced by certain "experts", there never was any widespread Muslim anti-Semitism, such as existed in Christian Europe. In the course of his fight for power, the prophet Muhammad fought against neighboring Jewish tribes, and therefore there are some negative passages about the Jews in the Kor'an. But they cannot be compared to the anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament story about the crucifixion of Christ that have poisoned the Christian world and caused endless suffering. Muslim Spain was a paradise for the Jews, and there has never been a Jewish Holocaust in the Muslim world. Even pogroms were extremely rare."

Saturday, December 10, 2005 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Paul: Sorry, I hadn't seen this stuff till now. I changed the settings so that two weeks' worth of postings are shown, rather than one.

Interesting stuff, and, no, I can't stand Lieberman. However, it is interesting that the wacko-rightist Jewish groups are criticizing him! That says more about them than L., of course.

All corrections/restatements understood. My theory on L. is that he's an arch-triangulating DLC-style "centrist" who may actually be harboring a desire to run for President again. Or, he's going to insinuate himself into the Bush admin, though that seems to be a myth now...not sure on that.

Anyway, I think the key point is that L.'s views on Israel are not particularly helpful to the US or to Israel, and align with some power-centers' positions. But I don't see how his position would necessarily win votes or money if it were only "a Jewish thing." There just isn't enough voters and not enough money there, if that were the only issue.

The key is that the reigning far-right crew has included rabid pro-Israeli rhetoric and action in its own platform, for its own reasons. Jews who ally with these wingnuts will rue the day.

Friday, December 16, 2005 3:51:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home