It’s become fashionable in the blogosphere to take whacks at the Joe Lieberman pinata from time to time. With his piece in today’s Washington Post, he’s earned himself a few more shots.
I’ll confess I’ve given Senator Lieberman more leeway over the last few years than many of my colleagues and friends have, and far more, in retrospect than he has deserved. Why? I’m not willing to write off anyone over a single issue, no matter how important that issue is.
A lot of people voted to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. Some have apologized. Some won’t apologize, but, with the benefit of hindsight, would have done things differently. Some would do things the same way. All three groups include well-intentioned public servants with whom I agree more often than not. Lieberman, for example, has a solid record on issues that my organization works on and that I care a lot about.
So what makes Lieberman different? From this morning’s Post:
“When politicians here declare that Iraq is “lost” in reaction to al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks and demand timetables for withdrawal, they are doing exactly what al-Qaeda hopes they will do, although I know that is not their intent.”
My immediate reaction? Thanks for the clarification: war critics aren’t helping al-Qaeda by design – they’re just so dumb that they’ve fallen right into al-Qaeda’s trap.
What sets Lieberman apart from the pack is not his support of Bush administration policies, it’s his adoption of its fear-based rhetoric, his intentional simplification of a complex situation into victory versus surrender, and his demonization of those who hold alternative views.
Until he’s willing to respect people who hold opposing viewpoints, I won’t be inclined to respect him either. Swing away at that pinata, folks.
— Scott Paul