Joe Lieberman’s GOP Convention Speech

Posted by Katherine | September 3, 2008 – 2:28 pm
Lieberman speaking at convention
Speaking at the convention [Tom LeGro, NewsHour / Flickr]

Some reactions to Joe Lieberman’s speech last night at the GOP convention in St. Paul:

Crystal Clear Conservative is a “Libertarian-leaning Republican” Yankees fan who writes mainly about Virginia and national politics. S/he thinks Liberman gave a “great speech” overall:

Lieberman was a breath of fresh air to the convention by demonstrating McCain’s broad bipartisan appeal. Yes, Lieberman’s speech has just ostracized him from the Democrats […], but it goes to show the maverick appeal of fearless leaders.

[…] When Lieberman began the speech, he made a good point that the founding fathers did not intend for our country to be partisan, but to work in bipartisanship to get things accomplished. This is a valid point: we do not need to compromise our values and principles, but we should look at all sides of the issue before making our decisions concrete.

Tempe Turley from Tempe Turley Musings is an Obama supporter and admits up front that his/her view is biased. Tempe thought Fred Thompson was “dynamic” and “articulate” but feels Lieberman only highlighted the dissonance between McCain and the GOP base:

Lieberman’s speech was the weirdest, praising McCain’s efforts on global warming and immigration, for example, which failed to get much of an applause from the group. And calling for bi-partisonship and inter-party cooperation to an audience that clearly and truly is not interested in such things.

Which really speaks to the challenge of this campaign. McCain really wants to be who he is, a traditional conservative, mainly, but someone who most wants to shake things up, go his own way, do things he believes in, like immigration reform […] or global warming.

But does the core of this party really want a deviation from the last eight years? Didn’t Bush get elected as president two straight times by this base? […] What is even more strange, while Palin has a record of shaking things up, she also has a record of being very solidly within the far right of the republican party, on oil, on the environment, on drilling, on global warming.

So, how do you blend a story of conservative red meat, and loyalty to Bush’s party, with McCain’s desire to rebel from the party and go his own way.

Chris Bigelow is a group blogger from Enfield, Connecticut. In his day job, he works as a reference librarian for a Massachusetts college. Chris thinks the messages in Lieberman’s speech were to be expected but that what it means for Lieberman’s own political future is rather blurrier:

Lieberman has crossed the Rubicon with this speech. It’s a significant moment for him. How can he go back, after standing up at the RNC and badmouthing the Democratic nominee? But can he really go forward? If he does, will he wind up as a Republican who disagrees with his party on so many fundamental issues outside of Iraq? What happens when Iraq comes to an end, and our troops largely pull out […]? Where does that leave Joe Lieberman?

Kel from across the pond in London with a left-wing perspective thinks Lieberman’s speech laid out the convention’s themes but was untruthful in a number of ways:

[I]t gave us some indication of where the Republicans are going to go this week. They are the people now fighting for country over party, McCain is a “maverick” and the hurricane - and the fact that the Republicans scaled back a day of the convention - proves that they put country over party. […]

The whole notion that they are the bipartisan party is simply a clumsy attempt to steal Obama’s clothes, to adopt the very rhetoric that they have been mocking Obama for using. I’m not sure who will buy into this level of baloney. […]

It’s a world in which Lieberman can be thought of as a Democrat, McCain - the man who has flipped in whatever direction the theocons demanded him to - is still a “maverick”, and Sarah Palin - the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard - is ready to fill Dick Cheney’s shoes in an instant.

Kel also notes Lieberman’s claim that Obama “has not reached across party lines to achieve anything significant” — which he points out is untrue.

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