Roger L. Simon

Joementum Returns

Politicians get your attention when they contradict the standard rhetoric of their own party. Joe Lieberman did that tonight on Hannity & Colmes, saying quite clearly that Bush did the right thing in Iraq. He even allowed as how, in retrospect, the standard Democratic meme that Bush did not do enough to engage the help of our allies was probably irrelevant. In the world of Chirac, it would not have made a difference.

How strange to see a politician actually say what he believes to be the truth. I had to listen carefully to make sure I wasn’t hearing things.

Now I used to find Lieberman a kind of pompous Holy Roller, wearing his religiosity too much on his sleeve for my taste. But in this sea of prevarication I am beginning to respect him. And just as I remember the young Kerry (barely – as I indicated in the post below) from my Yale days, I remember the young Joe (better). And I am certain of this – he was far more idealistic and, yes, progressive than the present candidate who later came back from Vietnam a born again peacenik and then some. Back in those days, Joe Lieberman was a campus leader in civil rights – and a legitimate one. I have distinct memories of him at meetings of the Yale Summer Teaching program, a group that sent many of us, including my then wife and me, down South to teach in the black community. Lieberman was an idealist; Kerry was in Skull & Bones. In a very strange way he still is, only the membership rules have changed.

I could easily vote for Lieberman today if he were voting for President. Kerry, of course, is another matter.

Re: Edwards’ speech. Some people think he was great. I thought he looked nervous and not as assured as I had seen him on the stump. But I was pleased to see him take a relatively hard line on the War on Terror. If they are elected, I hope he and Kerry mean it. They’re going have to.