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An Unprecendented Speech by Joseph Lieberman

A lengthy excerpt of a fiery and unprecedented speech delivered today by Sen. Joseph Lieberman in Washington: 

Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically-elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush….

 

Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that that progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there.

Part of the explanation for this, I think, comes back to ideology. For all of our efforts in the 1990s to rehabilitate a strong Democratic foreign policy tradition, anti-war sentiment remains the dominant galvanizing force among a significant segment of the Democratic base.

But another reason for the Democratic flip-flop on foreign policy over the past few years is less substantive. For many Democrats, the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn’t pacifism or isolationism—it is distrust and disdain of Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular.

In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the President that defined Republicans in the 1990s – even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats as a party have stood for, at our best and strongest….

Lieberman remains a Democrat in spite of the fact that he lost his state’s Democratic primary last year and won instead as an independent.

I cannot think of a speech delivered by a major figure in a political party (Lieberman was, after all, the Democratic nominee for vice president only seven years ago) as stinging about the status of his own party as this speech is. Ever. Perhaps commenters can come up with something comparable (but remember, I’m not talking about back-benchers or gadflies, but rather figures of central importance to their party).



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