Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2011

LIEBERMAN GETS FOREIGN POLICY AND FEMINISM WRONG AT THE SAME TIME.... Gail Collins noted this morning the Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has "reached a point in his public career when every single thing he does, including talking about his grandparents, is irritating."

That's true, but some things are clearly more irritating than others.

Take this morning, for example.

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) continued to insist that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction even though none were ever found after the invasion of Iraq.

The senator, retiring his seat in 2012, also said that despite the enormous cost to the U.S. in blood, prestige and treasure he does not regret his vote for war and would do it all over again.

This was an astounding appearance. Lieberman insisted the "most official and comprehensive report" proved Saddam Hussein was developing WMD, and that the regime was "beginning really tactically to support the terrorist movements that had attacked us on 9/11 and today."

None of this is connected to reality in any substantive way. Every available shred of evidence makes clear that Saddam's regime had nothing to do with al Qaeda, and for Lieberman to still be suggesting otherwise is disgraceful. For that matter, the notion that even the most confused observer would still believe that Iraq was developing WMD, and that this somehow justifies the invasion, is breathtaking.

As part of the same MSNBC segment, Arianna Huffington asked Lieberman to substantiate his claim about Saddam Hussein was working on weapons of mass destruction, a claim even George W. Bush abandoned. The senator replied, "I'm basing it on the so-called Duelfer Report. Charles D-U-E-L-F-E-R conducted the most comprehensive report on behalf of our government."

When Huffington said there's nothing in the Duelfer Report to bolster Lieberman's conclusions, the senator replied, "I don't think you've read it, sweetheart."

I find it nothing short of remarkable that a United States senator in 2011 would be so condescending as to call a woman "sweetheart" on national television. In context, Huffington was calling Lieberman out on his transparent falsehoods, which no doubt irritated him, but frankly, I don't care what the context was. Huffington deserves an apology.

In addition to the sexist language, it's also worth noting that Lieberman really doesn't know what he's talking about. Charles Duelfer found that Iraq did not possess -- or have concrete plans to develop -- nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

It's the same thing David Kay concluded, which is the same thing that the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, which is the same thing the Pentagon concluded. The case is closed, and has been for many years.

Even loyal Bushies have abandoned the talking point. That Lieberman has not says a great deal about his judgment.

Steve Benen 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Comments

Joe's world is so insulated from facts that I doubt he has an air freshener in his bathroom.

Posted by: mlm on January 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't see this segment. A couple years ago I kept getting so angry watching Morning Joke that I broke two teevees. Now my wife won't let me watch the show.

But it sounds like Lieberman has picked up his buddy John McCain's playbook and is running full speed with it. He's heading for the exit with both middle fingers held high in the air.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on January 20, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thank goodness he's going out. Not in style of course.
Joe "Failgunner" Lieberman. The single greatest reason for Gore's "loss" in 2000, after the SCOTUS.
For substantiation, watch his horrible debate performance against Dick "Darth Vader" Cheney. Gore may have been sighing in frustration when debating Bush, but if Joe sighed, it was out of sheer love and admiration for an even more alpha wolf neo-con.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

whaddya mean "in addition to the sexist language"? I suspect Arianna Huffington finds it far more disrespectful to be lied to than to be called "sweetheart". I mean, sure, senator Droopy should apologize, but the substance is a lot more important than the language, IMO.

Posted by: short fuse on January 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I repeat myself...

Don't let the door hit you in the @ss on your way out, Mr. Senator from AIPAC.

Posted by: SadOldVet on January 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Wow...I'm impressed. Who knew that Lieberman could spell? He might want to use that new-found ability to type D-U-E-L-F-E-R into Google and find the wiki on his report:

On 30 September 2004, the ISG released the Duelfer Report, its final report on Iraq's purported WMD programs. Among its conclusions were:

Saddam Hussein controlled all of the regime’s strategic decision making.
Hussein's primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the regime.
The introduction of the Oil-for-food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the regime.
By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support.
Iran was Iraq's pre-eminent motivator.
The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judged that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped Saddam’s belief in the value of WMD.
Saddam ended his nuclear program in 1991. ISG found no evidence of concerted efforts to restart the program, and Iraq’s ability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program progressively decayed after 1991.
Iraq destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in 1991, and only a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions were discovered by the ISG.
Saddam's regime abandoned its biological weapons program and its ambition to obtain advanced biological weapons in 1995. While it could have re-established an elementary BW program within weeks, ISG discovered no indications it was pursuing such a course.

Posted by: Gridlock on January 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

can there be any doubt that Lieberman is one of the lowest forms of human in our politics today?

He surely knows he's lying. It is baffling to try to figure out why he'd even bother at this point. I find that the more interesting subject: why in the world would Lieberman say things like this at this point? The smartest thing he could do is leave quietly.

I have trouble characterizing what this performance says about him. I'm not sure words like "hypocrite" or "asshole" "pathological narcissist" even begin to scratch the surface.

Posted by: LL on January 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

But it sounds like Lieberman has picked up his buddy John McCain's playbook and is running full speed with it. He's heading for the exit with both middle fingers held high in the air.

Except that McCain (unfortunately) isn't running for the exit. Joementum may feel he can say anything and behave any way he wants with impunity given that he's 'retiring'. We may get more insight into the Senator from Jerusalem than we've had, and I predict it won't be pretty. Fortunately, he's no longer the powerhouse he was when he could be the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate, and for that we should all be grateful.

Tell what you really feel, Joe. Get it off your chest. Give us more reasons to despise you.

Posted by: rrk1 on January 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman never has let the facts get in the way of what he believes. I suspect he stopped reading reports years ago

Posted by: James Conner on January 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me the Lieberman is employing scorched earth tactics. Everything he says now seems designed to hurt the Democrats or obfuscate the truth. It's sad how out of control his ego is.

Posted by: doubtful on January 20, 2011 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

When one has sent so many to their deaths, it takes a man of honorable character to admit error. Mr. Lieberman does not have such a character.

Posted by: Doug on January 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I can't be the only one who thinks Lieberman has the interests of the United States subordinate to the interests of the state of Israel.

Posted by: DWOB on January 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

You know it's easy to say yea I voted for war and I'd do it again. It's easy because you and anybody that's associated with you won't have to fight or die in some sandy shithole. So go on Joe justify your actions any old bull shit way you can.

Posted by: Gandalf on January 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Joes just polishing his tur...legacy.

Posted by: Kill Bill on January 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Years from now one of his kids will write a memoir about him. No doubt they'll claim " Daddy had dementia, but we kept it secret" Got news for ya, we've know it for some time.

Posted by: me4texas on January 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

In situations like this, I wish that Arianna or anyone else in similar situations would have a laptop with them with either internet capability or likely documents stored on it so that when some A-hat like Lieberman says something incredibly stupid, the corresponding document can be quickly produced to refute the inanity they just made.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on January 20, 2011 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

It is easy to understand Lieberman's support for the Iraq War. Saddam had to be "gotten" because he launched scud missiles on Israel during the first Gulf War. Ariel Sharon had meetings with Bush the Dumber during which he emphasized the threat Saddam was in the ME and Bush the Dumber ran with the ball after that. As for Lieberman lying about WMD's and treating Arianna Huffington with a condescending attitude, that is just because Lieberphlegm is a consummate piece of shit that believes that most Americans have too short of an attention span to remember the facts. Sadly, he may be right on the last part.

Posted by: tko on January 20, 2011 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

can there be any doubt that Lieberman is one of the lowest forms of human in our politics today?

No.

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on January 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

While this post is about Lieberman, I think it further illustrates McCain's nonexistent thinking skills. He did, after all, just recommend President Obama nominate Lieberman Sec. of Defense.

Posted by: Holmes on January 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

big deal - he called her sweetheart

criticize the real stuff, not his silliness

JMHO

Posted by: SteveADor on January 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

the worst part is that this lying clown still has two years to go before we are rid of him. Two hours would be two too many. Don't let the door hit you on your way out, you slimeball.

Posted by: T2 on January 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Calling a woman "sweetheart" is not in itself very meaningful, but in this context it clearly connoted that Huffington was just a clueless little thing.

Posted by: Whick on January 20, 2011 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) continued to insist that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction even though none were ever found after the invasion of Iraq.

If reality places you complicit in the death, maiming, and suffering of hundreds of thousands of your fellow humans, then I can see where self-delusion would be a pretty attractive option.

Posted by: DelCapslock on January 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth, in the run up to the war, I called Lieberman's office, to argue against his vote for the war. I spoke with one of his staffers, who was exceedingly gracious (alas, I don't recall his name), who allowed me to offer all of the reasons I thought it was a bad idea. I detailed a great many reasons and the call lasted at least 20 minutes - an especially long time for a call from someone not even a constituent. At the end of it, after being frustrated by my inability to persuade any thought of reconsideration, I finally asked "is there no price too high" to pay to go to war. And the response I got was an immediate and straightforward "No."

I'm not surprised at all by Lieberman's remarks.

Posted by: bz on January 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Article: "When Huffington said there's nothing in the Duelfer Report to bolster Lieberman's conclusions, the senator replied, "I don't think you've read it, sweetheart.'"

Amazing. Joe had a well deserved reputation when he was in the Connecticut State Senate for commenting and voting on bills he either had not read or didn't understand. I see he has carried on this practice in the U.S. Senate. I appreciate his efforts regarding DADT, but overall he was a headache and will not be missed, especially in his home state.

Posted by: max on January 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Even the trolls aren't supporting the name caller.

Posted by: Bob M on January 20, 2011 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

What was Ms. Huffington's reply? I'd have said:

"Have you, darling?"

Posted by: Charles on January 20, 2011 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman's rationalization regarding WMD's and the unleashing of the Iraq war mirrors the preemptive strike justification invoked by Nazi Germany (and countless other aggressors throughout history). To this day, the big lie that Hitler just barely beat Stalin to the punch in June of '41 remains a indisputable truth among the willfully delusional.

He is also the standard bearer of this nation's political establishment, which continues to deny the war was engineered through the big lies of the republican party, acquiesced in through a craven abdication of sworn duty by the democratic party, and covered up by both.

Posted by: JW on January 20, 2011 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to say to those of you who think 'sweetheart' is not a big deal? YES IT IS. It was used to demean and intimidate a WOMAN. Kiss my ass Leibermann. Who the HELL do you think you are? This crap happened alot during Bushco and women were just called 'whiners' and told to sit down. It IS a big deal. Charles? I love you. That is what I wish I could say...'Have YOU, darlin'...

Posted by: SYSPROG on January 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Lieberman: Israel is glad the USA took Saddam Hussein out and would have us do it again.

Posted by: Marko on January 20, 2011 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

The remarks say nothing about his judgment, as you put it. It tells worlds about his veracity. The man is a liar.

Posted by: candideinnc on January 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon everybody. Give Old Joe a break. It's hard to focus on the words on the pages of the Duelfer Report when your mouth is so far up McCain's arse.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on January 20, 2011 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

c'mon, @SYSPROG sticks and stones . . .

I despise Jomentum BUT his record,
if'll choose NOT to be knee-jerk
is waaaaay better than most Senators ********

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
I just want to say to those of you who think 'sweetheart' is not a big deal? YES IT IS. It was used to demean and intimidate a WOMAN. Kiss my ass Leibermann. Who the HELL do you think you are? This crap happened alot during Bushco and women were just called 'whiners' and told to sit down. It IS a big deal. Charles? I love you. That is what I wish I could say...'Have YOU, darlin'...

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
********
Women's Issues

(Back to top)

2009 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 63 percent in 2009.

2009 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of Federally Employed Women 80 percent in 2009.

2007-2008 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 100 percent in 2007-2008.

2007-2008 Based on a point system, with points assigned for actions in support of or in opposition to Federally Employed Women's position, Senator Lieberman received a rating of 70.

2007-2008 On the votes used to calculate its ratings, the National Organization for Women attaches more value to those votes it considers more important. For 2007-2008, the National Organization for Women gave Senator Lieberman a rating of 94 percent.

2007 In 2007 American Association of University Women gave Senator Lieberman a grade of 100.

2007 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 50 percent in 2007.

2007 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the League of Women Voters 78 percent in 2007.

2005-2006 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 78 percent in 2005-2006.

2005-2006 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 83 percent in 2005-2006.

2005-2006 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 70 percent in the 2005-2006.

2005-2006 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 77 percent in 2005-2006.

2005 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 67 percent in 2005.

2005 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 75 percent in 2005.

2003-2004 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 100 percent in 2003-2004.

2003-2004 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 77 percent in 2003-2004.

2003-2004 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 70 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 100 percent in 2003.

2003 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 100 percent in 2003.

2001-2002 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 88 percent in 2001-2002.

2001-2002 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 89 percent in 2001-2002.

2001 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 83 percent in 2001.

1999-2000 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 90 percent in 1999-2000.

1999 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 87 percent in 1999.

1998 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 60 percent in 1998.

1997-1998 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 83 percent in 1997-1998.

1997 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 80 percent in 1997.

1995-1996 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 88 percent in 1995-1996.

1989-1990 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the National Women's Political Caucus 95 percent in 1989-1990.

How to Interpret these Evaluations:
(Back to top)

Project Vote Smart collects performance evaluations from special interest groups who provide them, regardless of issue or bias. If you have any comments concerning performance evaluations or know of a group that provides ratings not included here, please contact us at ratings@vote-smart.org.

Keep in mind that ratings done by special interest groups are biased. They do not represent a non-partisan stance. In addition, some groups select votes that tend to favor members of one political party over another, rather than choosing votes based solely on issues concerns. Nevertheless, they can be invaluable in showing where an incumbent has stood on a series of votes in the past one or two years, especially when ratings by groups on all sides of an issue are compared. Website links, if available, and descriptions of the organizations offering performance evaluations are accessible by clicking on the name of the group.

Most performance evaluations are displayed in a percentage format. However, some organizations present their ratings in the form of a letter grade or endorsement based on voting records, interviews, survey results and/or sources of campaign funding. For consistency, Project Vote Smart converts all scores into a percentage when possible. Please visit the group's website or call 1-888-VOTESMART for more specific information.

Posted by: SteveADor on January 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

SB ....
if you'll choose NOT to be knee-jerk

Posted by: SteveADor on January 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

SteveADor...yes 'sticks n stones' but used to demean...that is why Charles' response was so GOOD. It put Joe back in his place...I just get pissed...

Posted by: SYSPROG on January 20, 2011 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

More to the point, it has always been a mistake to buy into the fallacy that if Iraq has WMD it was legitimate to attack. The only reason any nation would have had a right to attack was if Hussein was using those weapons (WMD or non) or was imminently to use them. Any nation threatened that way (and the U.S. most certainly was not one, as he did not have ICBMs) had the right of self defense.

Of course, Hussein never threatened us or anyone else or had the capacity to do much more than lob a few SCUDs across the border at which point he would have bee squashed like a bug. Which is why he was not a threat

Posted by: kit on January 20, 2011 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, "sweetheart" was used to suggest that she's just a clueless airhead, no different than $t $arah. OTOH... He couldn't have called her "bitch", or worse, in public, on TV, could he? It wouldn't have fitted in with the "benevolent and wise grandpa" image he has of himself. And yet, that's what -- in his estimation -- she deserved for contradicting him. Joe Lie's "Sweetheart" is the same as McCain's "my friend", which he'd utter, with a clenched jaw. Or using "that one", when saying "my friend" was more than he could bear.

Posted by: exlibra on January 20, 2011 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

PS. IMO, spelling the name out for her benefit was as offensive as calling her "sweetheart". Both were intended as patronising put downs.

Posted by: exlibra on January 20, 2011 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

c'mon @exlibra

I just saw the tape on the ED show; it is not at all clear Jomentum was spelling the report author's name for AHuff's benefit - in a patronizing was - he looked like he was doing it for clarity to the larger audience.

Jomentum has done so MANY serious wrongs to the entire USA in his career in the Senate, I try to keep my perspective when he calls the toughest progressive in America "sweetheart."

NOT ONLY can AHuff handle herself quite well with no need for us to get indignant on her behalf, I doubt she fails to give it a 2nd thought in comparison to the real evils of Jomentum's career.

Posted by: SteveADor on January 20, 2011 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Sweetheart" is breathtakingly sexist and offensive -- it can be cute and forgivable from the guy at the corner store as he hands you your coffee but NOT ACCEPTABLE from a U.S. Senator on national television, especially when it is quite clearly intended to be derogatory (i.e., it's not the equivalent of a courtly "darlin'" from an older Southern man). He was putting her down as a person who was stupid and lightweight BECAUSE female. That is Not Okay.

And sorry, but I absolutely don't buy all that other crap about how great he's been for women. The guy is a sexist through and through, and I for one will not soon forget his remarks about how women who were raped and taken to Catholic hospitals for treatment should just "take a short ride" to another hospital if, God forbid, they wanted to take steps to prevent becoming pregnant with their rapist's child. Those NOW rating have been a scandal for some time, and sorry, but I'm not too impressed by a 63% positive record from the AAUW.

God knows how he managed to find a shred of human decency with which to support DADT repeal -- maybe he was bribed, or maybe he just saw another chance to p*ss on Clinton, since the policy dates from the latter's Administration. But it's an outlier.

Posted by: Raya on January 20, 2011 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can't be the only one who thinks Lieberman has the interests of the United States subordinate to the interests of the state of Israel.

Most definitely not.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on January 21, 2011 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

It also says a lot about the judgment of the DNC.

Posted by: SteinL on January 21, 2011 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK


"Oh good, "punkin'". Then you'll be able to explain the pretzel logic you used to make it support your case? Because in our extensive reading we saw nothing of the kind."

Posted by: shrink in sf on January 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Lieberman was showing class while on the air, trying to avoid being bleeped out.

He SAID "sweetheart". He wanted to say "b!tch".

Posted by: Rhymes With Right on January 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Gridlock" (see above) cut and pasted the first nine bullet-points about the Duelfer Report from the Wikipedia summary.

Here is the tenth bullet point, which he skillfully omitted:

"Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability, after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities."

Was that a reason to go to war? I would say no, but that is part of what the Duelfer Report said, until we start bowdlerizing, thus retaining our spotless minds.

Just for the record, Arianna is often wrong. (Who isn't?) Has been for a long time.

Posted by: bob somerby on January 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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