Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Holy Joe has got to go!
Howie Klein, blogging at HuffPo, makes the case that Holy Joementum LIEberman, Dubya’s best Democrat friend, is really a Republican in Democrat clothing.
First, Klein delves into LIEberman’s political past, reminding us all about his sHillary-esque foray into protecting the children of America from the depravity of mass media. Today it’s sex in video games, back in the day it was the profanity in popular music:
The story starts with the founding of the PMRC and if you’re too young to remember, you ought to read about that sad chapter in American political/cultural history (in that link back there or either this one here or this Gore-bashing right wing point of view here. The principals’ names should all sound familiar: Tipper Gore (wife of Al), Susan Baker (wife of Bush family retainer/fixer James), Nancy Thurmond (one of the Strom wives), Lynn Cheney (lesbian pornography writer and wife of alcoholic current vice president Dick. This gaggle of powerful men’s wives was the forerunner of three of Washington’s most celebrated, loud-mouthed hypocrites: Bill Bennett, Sam Brownback and, of course, Joe Lieberman, who took up their campaign almost as soon as he was elected.
People often ask me what happened and what was the big deal. Lieberman knew exactly what he was doing– far better than the batty wives’ group that preceded him– when he insisted on ratings on CDs and it had nothing to do with helping parents supervise their children. Few people understand– the way Lieberman did– that in the late 80s something like 70% of all recorded music was sold in stores in malls and that malls have very stringent lease arrangements about their tenants not selling “pornography.” Over the course of this controversy two of the Senate’s most uptight and close-minded prigs, Sam Brownback and Lieberman, pushed for the kinds of stickers that would make it impossible for the kind of music they objected to– like anything talking about masturbation or homosexuality, for example– to be stocked by 70% of American retailers. The effect inside the music business was chilling– and instantaneous. Suddenly a whole new internal bureaucracy had to be created to police every record and suddenly artists were being pressured– sometimes overtly and sometimes less overtly– to cave in to demands by two really reactionary fundamentalists whose values are far from mainstream. In one fell swoop Lieberman destroyed an alliance between young voters and the Democratic Party that had started with John Kennedy’s election as he ham-fistedly savaged their culture for his own political ambitions.
His writing on the PMRC has the air of authority, since Klein was “a former punk rock dj, former founder and president of alternative rock label 415 Records, former general manager and vice president of Sire Records and former president of Reprise Records”, and it had me feeling a pang of sorrow as I recalled Frank Zappa’s stirring testimony in front of Congress. Probably better for Zappa that he died when he did; living through six years of BushCo Int’l (a division of The Carlyle Group) would’ve probably led to a heart attack instead of the cancer that took him.
But Klein really blew the lid off and raised some hackles with this paragraph:
This is when Lieberman, like a snake, shed his old skin entirely, discarding the last vestiges of anything vaguely Democratic, and became what he is today: a right-wing demagogue, a really vile politician who belongs in the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party. He made racism quasi-acceptable by framing it as being against unfair affirmative action. An unrelenting homophobe, he joined Jesse Helms’ campaign of defamation of gay people and he joined forces with far right extremists like Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed to promote school prayer and voucher programs for religionist schools. And then he got into my own business and my growing hatred for Joe Lieberman turned personal.
Now someone who was formerly affiliated with LIEberman sent an e-maIl to HuffPo, claiming that the statements about LIEberman being a homophobe or making racism quasi-acceptable were out of line. Klein relishes the opportunity to prove the point in his next post:
Back in 2000, Paul Bass of The New Haven Advocate pointed out that Lieberman “sided with Jesse Helms on removing federal money from public schools that counsel suicidal homosexual teens that it’s OK (or ‘an acceptable lifestyle,’ in Lieberman’s and Helms’ disapproving parlance) to be gay.”
A 2003 piece in the LA Weekly titled “All in all, as Democrat, Lieberman makes a great Republican,” takes the bull by the horns when it comes to Lieberman’s carefully disguised dog whistle brand of political bigotry:
On gays in the military, Lieberman has enunciated the now-discredited canard that ‘homosexual conduct can harm unit cohesion and effectiveness.’ (Tell that to the dozens of countries, from England to Israel, that permit openly gay troops in their armed forces.) In fact, Lieberman worked with Georgia’s Sam Nunn to fashion the destructive ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which resulted in escalating expulsions of gays from the military every year after it took effect. Its Catch-22 provisions have directly stimulated a rising wave of violent gay bashing and harassment in the military because victims can’t complain without ‘telling.’
This is just part of the record that has made Lieberman his party’s most notorious theocrat. The Scripture-quoting Lieberman made God-bothering a staple of his 2000 vice-presidential campaign: That August, Holy Joe told a Detroit congregation never to imagine ‘that morality can be maintained without religion.’ This position was denounced as ‘unsettling’ by no less than the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith (ADL), which released a letter to him arguing tartly that ‘To even suggest that one cannot be a moral person without being a religious person is an affront to many highly ethical citizens.’
Prayer in the schools? Holy Joe lined up with the GOP’s religious zealots to push it repeatedly in the Senate. Subsidizing parochial schools at the expense of public education? Holy Joe has sponsored legislation to give parents vouchers to send their kids to parochial schools, draining money from the public schools to which most Americans send their kids. And Lieberman just last year joined with rabid gay basher Rick Santorum — the Pennsylvania Republican who compared same-sex love to bestiality and incest– to co-sponsor George Bush’s faith-based initiatives, praising Bush’s ‘leadership’ in tearing down the constitutional barrier between church and state.
Dr. Manning Marable, Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, wrote in the Detroit Free Press:
Lieberman has a long record of hostility toward affirmative action th
at even his liberal apologists in the Democratic Party cannot hide. Back in 1995, when Lieberman took over the DLC, he declared, ‘You can’t defend policies that are based on group preferences as opposed to individual opportunities, which is what America has always been about.’ Lieberman embraced California’s Proposition 209 in 1996, which outlawed affirmative action programs in that state. When President Clinton, after months of hesitation, finally put forward the formulation that affirmative action programs ought to be ‘mended, not ended,’ Lieberman led the opposition within the Democratic Party. The DLC’s Progressive Policy Institute issued a report criticizing Clinton’s position, and called for abolishing it for government hiring and contracting, and making it voluntary in private business.
It didn’t fool the NAACP, who gave him a “D” on his voting record, and it didn’t fool Jesse Jackson. “We submit to the senator of this state,”? Jackson roared in 1995 three years before Lieberman’s NAACP “D” grade, that we have marched too long, and have died too young. We have been to too many funerals to turn back now! No, Mr. Lieberman, we are moving forward!”
Anyone one who needs further evidence of what could only charitably be referred to as “racial insensitivity” can read the infamous transcript that made many civil rights partisans denounce Lieberman as a racist here (where Lieberman calls affirmative action “un-American.”) Former Congressman and NAACP President Kwesi Mfume branded Lieberman as a candidate with “no legitimacy” in the African American community and compared his political?‚ capital there to “confederate dollars” after he snubbed an NAACP convention so he could schmooze with Bill O’Reilly on Fox TV.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Howie, and I’m glad I didn’t have to. Holy Joe has got to go. There are enough Republicans in the Senate without Joementum sitting in one of the Democrat seats. Do what you can to support Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Democratic Primary, and send a message to the rest of the centrist DLC types who keep fishing in the Republican pond — the grassroots and the true progressives will no longer enable these DINO’s to subvert the concept of a true opposition party.