Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 3, 2008

FOR LIEBERMAN, HOPE IS A PLAN.... Joe Lieberman's speech to the Republican National Convention was provocative enough, but it was even more striking to hear the former Democrat chat with NBC's Andrea Mitchell backstage.

Mitchell asked a pretty reasonable question, which has come up more than a few times lately: "Do you feel that Sarah Palin is qualified to be commander in chief if, God forbid, something should happen to John McCain?"

Lieberman eventually, grudgingly, half-heartedly said he thought Palin would be ready, but before he got there, he argued that we shouldn't even worry about the possibility.

"Well, you know, let's assume the best," Lieberman said. "John's in great shape, he's going to be the president, and let's assume that nothing bad will happen. Why should we?"

Maybe because McCain is 72 and has a history of health problems? Because unexpected crises occur, and capable leaders need to be ready to step up?

"Let's assume the best"? "Let's assume that nothing bad will happen"? What kind of attitude is that? The underlying admission here is that Lieberman isn't confident in Palin's ability to lead the nation in the event of a crisis, but he's willing to gamble the country's future anyway. What's more, he wants Americans to cross their fingers and hope real hard that everything will work out.

As Gerry Canavan put it, "The rest of us know after eight years of Bush that hope is not a plan."

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Hope was George Bush's plan for 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the US economy, tax cuts, and pretty much everything else.

Here's a question for Joe "Quisling" Lieberman: "George Bush often made decisions based on hope alone-with no plan for what to do if his hopes turned out to be unrealistic. Do you therefore agree that a vote for John McCain is a vote to continue George Bush's plan for the country?

Posted by: RepubAnon on September 3, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

That's called damning with faint praise and it seemed to be the best most (Spector, Whitman, etc.) could muster when interviewed on the convention floor. All except for Newt the Poot, of course.

Palin is a sop to the evangelicals and nothing more. How can this woman be a "reformer" when she, and mcsame, agree with the Shrub right down the line. Now if either would come out and state explicitly "George Bush was wrong here, here, and here and this is what I will do differently" they might have chance of selling that. The rethugs have run this once great country into the ground over the past 8 years. They have yet to adequately explain why they deserve another 4.

Posted by: Lori on September 3, 2008 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

News Flash : The NYT develops a backbone
Three, count'em three editorial page comments denouncing the Bullshit mantras of the Republican
Party. Its about fucking time.

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html

Posted by: John R on September 3, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

During his 1840 Presidential campaign, U.S. Senator William Henry Harrison was known as "Old Tippecanoe." He got the nickname for two reasons: First, he was the war hero who won the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. And second, he was the oldest man ever elected U.S. President.

In March 1841 he took the oath of office and became America's 9th President. And then President Harrison took ill and died four weeks later. He was President for a grand total of 30 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes.

Vice President John Tyler, who never got the chance to benefit from the older man's wisdom and experience, was sworn in as President two days after that.

Harrison was 67 years old when he died.
John McCain is 72 years old.

History shows that it would not be unprecedented for a Vice President Palin to take over as President as soon as February 2009.

Posted by: Michael Seery on September 3, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

"John's in great shape." Being diagnosed with cancer 4 times is great shape? A heart attack, even a minor one, is great shape? Joe, I remain convinced that you are a self-serving, deluded moron, and your absence from the national stage can only be a good thing. Enjoy your last, waning moments of relevance. In a few months, no one will care what you have to say about anything.

Posted by: Diogenes on September 3, 2008 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman reminds me of Mary McCarthy's insult of Lillian Hellman, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 3, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

For a moment there, I thought Lieberman watched George Bluth's (Arrested Development) Cage Wisdom Blooper reel.

Faith is a FACT, indeed.

All snark aside. What a fucking stupid "plan." Hope? HOPE?!? Not a surprise though. The NeoCons of Joe Lie's ilk HOPED that there would be no Iraqi Insurgency and they HOPED that the Russians would not throw an armored fist at the Georgians when they attacked. Let's HOPE you not end up in political obscurity, Joe.

Posted by: Former Dan on September 3, 2008 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

"Let's assume the best"? "Let's assume that nothing bad will happen"? What kind of attitude is that?

Oooh! Oooh! I know! Pick me!

The attitude the Bush Administration had about al Qaeda up until September 11, 2001.

Posted by: Gregory on September 3, 2008 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

i will offer a $10 bet to anyone that the NYT will be in Palin's speech. it was no backbone by the NYT, it was a gift to the RNC.

Wait until AFTER Palin gets her chance to speak to blast McCain and the pick. It is only fair.

Not one word in any editorial would (most likely) have changed.

There is no way you can tell me that this was NOT a conscious decision. Negative Palin editorials in the leading liberal paper in the world is RED MEAT to the right and without giving the woman an opportunity todefend herself and the pick. I could write this speech.

(FYI: no one with any insight really believes the Times is liberal. The timing of these editorials proves it.)

orange

Posted by: eric on September 3, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Did Loserman speak last night? Hmm.

Posted by: Ohioan on September 3, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone here an Actuary ?

I wonder how McCain would rank in the life insurance industry.

Posted by: coral on September 3, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, assuming that the best will happen sure worked for the iraq campaign, right? They all believe in Iraq.
See, these guys are steadfast in their beliefs. No matter what the facts are, they believe.
Seems very similar to cult membership, doesn't it?

Posted by: BuzzMon on September 3, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Note to Lieberman: John F. Kennedy was 46 and in pretty good shape too, you fool.

Posted by: Charles on September 3, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

The NYT's ran a choice editorial today making the case against Palin:

For Mr. McCain to go on claiming that Mr. Obama has too little experience to be president after almost three years in the United States Senate is laughable now that he has announced that someone with no national or foreign policy experience is qualified to replace him, if necessary....
Some of the things Ms. Palin has had to say in the recent past about foreign policy are especially worrisome. In a speech last June to her former church in Wasilla, Ms. Palin said the war in Iraq was “a task that is from God.” Mr. Bush made similar claims as he rejected all sound mortal advice on how to conduct the war...
Mr. McCain, Mr. Graham and others also claim that Ms. Palin is a fearless reformer who is committed to fighting waste, fraud and earmarks. Ms. Palin did show courage taking on some of the Alaska Republican Party’s most sleazy politicians. But she also was an eager recipient of earmarked money as a mayor and governor....
The Republicans are presenting Ms. Palin as a crusader against Mr. Stevens’s infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” The record says otherwise; she initially supported Mr. Stevens’s boondoggle, diverting the money to other projects when the bridge became a political disaster. In her speech to the Wasilla Assembly of God in June, Ms. Palin said it was “God’s will” that the federal government contribute to a $30 billion gas pipeline she wants built in Alaska....
To address those many problems, this country needs a leader with sound judgment and strong leadership skills. Choosing Ms. Palin raises serious questions about Mr. McCain’s qualifications.

Italics mine.

Posted by: Lucy on September 3, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not lose the most important aspect of this though. With Obama, hope is a source of motivation. With Republicans, it's an excuse for potential failure.

Posted by: Danp on September 3, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

I tried real hard to listen to Lieberman's answer, but I couldn't hear much as I was clapping for fairies.

Posted by: sullijan on September 3, 2008 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Was there a convention last night? Checking Politico.com, there are 8 stories on the Republican National Convention page and none of their blurbs mention anyone that spoke last night. I checked the editorial pages of the NY Times and the Washington Post this morning and neither of them have an editorial mentioning last night's speeches. Looking at Yahoo.com's front page, there are three stories on Palin and none on any of the speeches last night.

Posted by: HippoRider on September 3, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone here an Actuary ?

See Mark Klieman's post: How like is that Palin would have to take over?

The take away quote:
Thus the probability that Palin would have to take over at some point in McCain's first term is 21%.

Posted by: koreyel on September 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Had Lieberman really been promoting McCain's principles to put national security at the top of his agenda he would have more independently and unbiasedly questioned McCain's choice of Palin.

Lieberman independent democrat playing republican -- playing both sides and both ways. Sometimes the world is just too ridiculous to live in (Little Big Man).

Posted by: lou on September 3, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Would not the correct phrase be, "Lack of a heartbeat away...".

Posted by: tablogloid on September 3, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Not watching the stupid tent revival. I watched KO's synopsis afterwards. Tells me all I need to know.

But one thing: Does Lieberman really have that much of a Jewish following that he'll even make a difference? Or is this tokenism in it's most ghoulish form?

(Did I miss the meth wagon again? You folks are blogging 24/7 or did you even notice!?! )

Posted by: MsMuddler on September 3, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Liebercrats unite! Where is the tar and where are the feathers?

Posted by: The trollop William on September 3, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I checked the editorial pages of the NY Times and the Washington Post this morning and neither of them have an editorial mentioning last night's speeches.

The front page headline of WaPo was "McCain Praised as His Own Man". This was a Lieberman quote from the convention.

On a side note, I was once caught being "my own man". Thank god it didn't make the front pages.

Posted by: Wanker on September 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Aha, but you don't realize the true brilliance of McCain's VP strategy. What's the most important qualification for the Presidency, according to the McCain campaign ? Being a POW. And why has Gov Palin been invisible this week ? Obviously because the McCain campaign has created a replica of the Hanoi Hilton in the basement of the Exel Center and is holding Gov Palin there in a tiny cell, with a broken leg, on starvation rations, and subject to torture. By the end of the convention she will emerge to - most reluctantly - talk about her experience as a POW.

Palin - beauty queen, hockey mom, evangelical, reformer, *and* a POW as well. We're doomed :-)

Posted by: Richard Cownie on September 3, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I listened to LIEberman asking the American People to give the Presidency back to the Republican'ts because the World is SO DANGEROUS NOW.

What he failed to mention is that the World is so dangerous because the Republican'ts have been in charge for EIGHT YEARS.

There is some Republican't ass on the convention floor two feet from a microphone SCREAMING wordless yells that was just TOO annoying.

Posted by: Lance on September 3, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, if I'm going to 'assume the best', I'd prefer to assume that Barack Obama, despite his youth, will be able to use his obvious intelligence and caring to become the best President of my lifetime. Not that John McCain will live to continue cynical pandering to the extreme right.

Posted by: biggerbox on September 3, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

It just hit me - McCain wasn't worried about the Eagleton precedent because he was a POW in Vietnam during the Eagleton precedent.

Finally, the POW excuse really is a valid excuse.

... at least for McCain, maybe, though not for anyone else associated with his campaign. And not really for McCain, either.

Still, you gotta admit it explains at least a little. Otherwise, even for a maverick/straight-shooter/improviser/impulsive/gut-instinct/crusader-for-virtue, there's no explanation.

Posted by: Basilisc on September 3, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Here's Andrea Mitchell's quote: "Do you feel that Sarah Palin is qualified to be commander in chief if, God forbid, something should happen to John McCain?"

Non one, regrettably, has asked with media profundity

Posted by: R. G. Berglund on September 3, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman supports the GOP Iraq strategy. This is supposed to be his big divide with the DFL.

Last night, he backed McCain on pretty much every national issue. How is this guy a Democrat?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

This is a lot of dissing of "Hope" considering that the Democratic candidate... well...

http://beiderbecke.typepad.com/tba/images/2008/02/28/obama_hope.jpg

Heck I've got this button on my bag right now:

http://bp0.blogger.com/_nbg0EcUsuFA/Rzkwn0emiGI/AAAAAAAAAAM/s8mLtv3rlMQ/s320/obama+hope.jpg

I agree that Lieberman's way of explaining away this issue is silly, but let's be careful of complaining too much about "hope".

Posted by: TG Chicago on September 3, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Take it from Lieberman, the Chinless Blunder.

Posted by: BrianInMKE on September 3, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

"The rest of us know after eight years of Bush that hope is not a plan."

Hell, after 30 years of conservative vandalism, it isn't even an option.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on September 3, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Let's assume the best"? "Let's assume that nothing bad will happen"? What kind of attitude is that?

The same attidude Bush had when, presented by the CIA with a document entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US", he replied to the CIA briefer "all right, you've covered your ass, now" and then went back to his nap?

Obviously Joe Lieberman is stuck in a pre-9/11 mindset.

Posted by: Stefan on September 3, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Last night, he backed McCain on pretty much every national issue. How is this guy a Democrat?

He's not. Joe Lieberman is no longer a member of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Stefan on September 3, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I said back in February that McCain's running mate would be a huge issue because of his age. But I haven't seen people talk about what happens if McCain dies between now and the election Nov. 4th. Does anyone know? Does the GOP get to name a replacement? Surely Palin doesn't get the top spot...

Posted by: Addison on September 3, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Last night, he backed McCain on pretty much every national issue. How is this guy a Democrat?

Lieberman was not elected by Democrats in CT. He lost the Democratic Primaries in CT to Ned Lemont, after 4 terms as Senator of CT. As a resident of CT, I can say that Democrats were NOT happy with Lieberman's performance and what he was saying. He pulled all his political strings, including begging Obama to campaign for him. He still lost because, frankly, he's a two-faced turncoat and every Democrat saw through his bad policy. His only agenda has become protecting Israel, fighting Muslims, and pandering to the Republican and Jewish vote that got him his seat back when he ran Independent. He pretty much is giving CT Democrats the proverbial bird because he probably feels slighted. So now, he could care less what Democrats think. Make no mistake, he has different masters now and for him to call himself a "Democrat" at the Republic Convention is nothing more than a political farce (which makes me sick) devised to help divide and carve up the independent vote. He is now a Republican in sheep's clothing pandering to "centrists". All he cares about is protecting Israel's interests. This is an American patriot American's should listen to? As soon as it isn't convenient for him, he'll turn his back on you. He doesn't care about America. He's made it painfully clear by shoveling it back to his old constituency. Of course, he didn't listen to us in the first place and got what he deserved in the Democratic Primaries of CT. I can't wait for this guy to exit the political stage. Republicans don't like him. Democrats loath him.

Posted by: Mick on September 3, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

BS medical opinions from right wingers didn't work in the Terry Schaivo mess, it doesn't work now in evaluating John McCain's health. Both situations suffer from a bad case of political poisoning.

Don't trust a Republican on matters of health. The next thing they'll say is why worry about McCain's health? -- we have emergency rooms!

Posted by: petorado on September 3, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Eric Kleefeld put together a video of LIEberman from 2003-4, showing how he has changed his tune from then until last night. Watch at your own risk :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpKulXOv9JU

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