Liberals Warily Endorse Lieberman's DADT Repeal Effort

The Senator who enraged liberals now champions their pet issue

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Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, long the bane of the left, is now taking the lead on a cornerstone Democratic issue: don't ask, don't tell. At the White House's request, Lieberman will sponsor Senate legislation to repeal the policy, which bans gay men and women from openly serving in the military and which Lieberman has long opposed. Liberals, wary of trusting Lieberman with a pet issue, are skeptical of his involvement and are asking why the White House would let him reap the glory. After all, the end of don't ask, don't tell appears increasingly likely. Will Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for Vice President, finally regain the trust of the left?

  • Why Lieberman Is Obama's Guy  The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder explains. "Simple: this works for everyone. Lieberman can work on Republicans he respects, like Sen. Lindsay Graham, he can regain some credibility with liberals (I said some credibility), he actually does believe that DADT should be repealed, and he now owes the White House a favor."
  • Just Good White House Strategy  Liberal blogger John Cole credits the White House for putting Lieberman on point. "This wasn't 11 dimensional chess. This was common sense, and the way to permanently repeal this crappy compromise," he writes. "Let the military get out in front and be agents of change, neutering Republican opposition, and then let the Democrat who the Republicans simply can't attack as anti-military propose the bill. And with the public showing great support for repeal, it will pass, Ike Skelton be damned."
  • Reveals Broad Anti-DADT Consensus  New York Magazine's Chris Rovzar says this proves just how unpopular the policy has become. He cites mounting poll evidence and expert commentary, particularly within the military, that the policy should be repealed right away. If even Joe Lieberman joins with Democrats in opposing it, goes the logic, who could possibly support it?
  • Lieberman Worried About 2012 Reelection  Newsweek's Daniel Stone sees Lieberman's move as an effort to repair his standing among Connecticut's many liberal voters. "His 2012 reelection fight is quickly approaching and a poll early this month characterized the bid as all but 'a lost cause.' No doubt the progressives who elected Lieberman over his liberal challenger Ned Lamont in 2006 have felt buyers remorse after their man laid down on the tracks blocking a public option."
  • How Joe Can Prove He Means It  Proposing a bill for repeal isn't enough, writes liberal blogger Joe Sudbay. "Given the Senate's gridlock, the best hope for success is for the Senate Armed Services Committee to include the repeal language in the must-pass Department of Defense authorization bill." Such a move would force Republicans to choose between supporting the repeal or voting against the entire DOD budget. Lieberman, who is on the committee but does not chair it, could play a small but significant role in this process.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.