Stateside

Another look at Lieberman

I think Democrats counting on opposition to the Iraq war to propel them into the White House next year are making a big mistake. Now a new poll backs me up.

Friday’s Washington Post reports:

Majorities of likely Democratic voters in three states [Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina] with early primaries or caucuses say they prefer a presidential nominee who supported military action against Iraq but criticized President Bush for failing to assemble international support over a candidate who opposed military action from the beginning…

Until now Democrats who opposed the war– like Howard Dean– have set the tone for the debate on Iraq within the party. Perhaps now the candidates who backed the military ouster of Saddam Hussein– Dick Gephardt, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman– will be emboldened to defend their positions more vigorously in front of Democratic audiences. Of course they should be just as vigorous in criticizing Bush for his failures and mistakes since the main fighting ended.

Lieberman, meanwhile, has gone beyond the standard Democratic routine of denouncing Bush’s massive tax cuts favoring the wealthy. He has offered a detailed plan to cut taxes for the middle class, raise taxes for the rich and produce additional tax revenue. He even embraced a comparison to Robin Hood: “There was a quality of fairness, integrity and public service to Robin Hood.”

It won’t be so easy now for anti-war Democrats to write off Lieberman as a Republican wannabe.

The main problem with Joe Lieberman, however, is Joe Lieberman. On TV he comes across as a man in some kind of pain. Instead of sounding forceful and persuasive, he often sounds tinny and annoyed. But I think he is worth some more attention.

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