Joseph Lieberman Wimps Out

Posted to the Web August 20, 2000
Kansas City Star - Linda Bowles - September 9, 1998


Justice4JP does not endorse or oppose any candidate in the Presidential elections. Justice4JP does however see it as our responsibility to the public to reveal how any candidate's position on the Pollard case is a reflection of that candidate's commitment to the truth, or alternately a reflection of his willingness to subvert principles of honesty, justice, and fair play to political goals. See Justice4JP Release Aug. 16 2000.

When Democrat Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut speaks, most politicians listen. They listened carefully to his speech on the floor of the Senate, during which he ravaged his longtime friend and political ally, Bill Clinton.

During 20 minutes of his 24-minute speech, Lieberman whacked Clinton around like a man would if he had caught a drug dealer selling cocaine to a 10-year-old. He called for "public rebuke and accountability." He said that "the president apparently had extramarital relations with an employee half his age and did so in the workplace in the vicinity of the Oval Office."

He continued: "Such behavior is not just inappropriate - it is immoral. And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family - particularly to our children - which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture."

Lieberman was just getting warmed up: "The president's relationship with Ms. Lewinsky not only contradicted the values he (Clinton) has publicly embraced over the last six years, it has, I fear, compromised his moral authority at a time when Americans of every political persuasion agree that the decline of the family is one of the most pressing problems we are facing."

During his "mea little bit culpa'' speech of August 17th, Clinton tried to assert that sex in the Oval Office is a private family matter. Lieberman attacked that bit of blather head on: "I must respectfully disagree with the president's contention that his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and the way in which he misled us about it is nobody's business but his family's and that even presidents have private lives. ... The inescapable truth is that the president's private conduct can and often does have profound public consequences."

All in all, it was a scathing condemnation of Clinton's behavior, based on what we already know as fact.

Lieberman did a good enough job to justify hanging Clinton to the nearest lamppost, or more mercifully, dipping him in tar and feathers and hauling him out of town on a rail.

Then, during the last few minutes of his speech, the good senator wimped out, which is why he doesn't earn a cigar. He said that calls for impeachment or resignation were premature. He said we should give the president "space and time," and wait for the Starr report.

We have in view one of the most anti-climactic, disjointed, non sequitorial conclusions to a firebrand speech that most of us have ever heard or will ever hear. Too bad for Lieberman. Greatness was a paragraph away.

Let's review: The president has lost the moral authority to lead, stained the Oval Office, weakened the presidency, corrupted his friends, lied to the people, committed perjury, set a miserable example for our children, forfeited the "bully pulpit" and orchestrated a seven month ruse characterized by deceit, intimidation and character assassination.

Lieberman should have concluded his remarks by saying, "Do the honorable thing, Mr. President. Resign! Do not drag the entire nation through the muck and mire and the shame and humiliation of an impeachment process."

But Lieberman could not face the awful reality of his own words. He made the case for resignation but could not bring himself to ask for it. He showed us lofty convictions without courage.

In many ways, Lieberman suffers from the same ideological blindness as affects those Americans who still give the president a good "job performance" rating - despite overwhelming evidence that Clinton has accelerated America's moral free fall toward destruction, and despite overwhelming evidence that, because of limp leadership, the greatest nation in history has neither the will, the vision nor the readiness to deal with a malevolent world that moves ever closer to nuclear-armed anarchy.

What can we say to our fellow Americans about their misplaced loyalty? We can say this: It is not healthy for the people of a great nation to walk around in a state of denial, unable to deal with the reality that their leader is corrupt and untrustworthy.

Respect for Bill Clinton and respect for the presidency have become incompatible. If it is the duty of the president to protect and defend the Constitution, the rule of law, honored traditions and the truth, it is impossible to respect the man who makes a mockery of them.

The "bully pulpit" of the presidency is the logical platform for calling us back to our political and spiritual roots. But, alas, only one man has access to this platform ... and he, William Jefferson Clinton, is, by all measures, one of the most unbelievable and befuddled individuals in the United States.