Biden responds to Lieberman's attack

Responding to Joe Lieberman's WSJ Op-Ed, Joe Biden defends Democrats and attacks the foreign policy views of Lieberman, Bush and McCain.

By Alex Koppelman
May 23, 2008 8:23PM (UTC)
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Joe Biden's been leading the offense for Democrats in foreign policy debates lately. Last week, he called comments made by President Bush that seemed to accuse Barack Obama and other Democrats of wanting to appease terrorists and hostile countries "bullshit." This week, he took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to respond to an attack launched in the same paper by his fellow senator, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman.

On Wednesday, the Journal published an Op-Ed Lieberman wrote, based on an address he'd previously given at a dinner for neoconservative magazine Commentary. In the piece, Lieberman bemoaned the current foreign policy philosophy of the Democratic Party, saying the party had turned away from the stances of its previous leaders. "Activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years," Lieberman wrote. He took a few direct swipes at Obama as well.


Today, the Journal printed Biden's response. In it, he writes, "Joe Lieberman wrote on this page that the Democratic Party he and I grew up in has drifted far from the foreign policy espoused by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

"In fact, it is the policies that President George W. Bush has pursued, and that John McCain would continue, that are divorced from that great tradition... On George Bush's watch, Iran, not freedom, has been on the march ... Because of the policies Mr. Bush has pursued and Mr. McCain would continue, the entire Middle East is more dangerous. The United States and our allies, including Israel, are less secure."

Like Lieberman writing about Obama, Biden hit at McCain, and -- as in the above quote -- repeatedly tied him to the unpopular incumbent president. But he saved his most cutting remark for last. At the conclusion of his piece, Biden wrote, "It's amazing how little faith George Bush, Joe Lieberman and John McCain have in themselves -- and in America."


This Op-Ed, especially combined with his earlier comments, does make me wonder (and I'm not the only one) whether Biden might be trying to make a public case for a role in a future Democratic administration: secretary of state, say, or maybe even vice president. He denies it, but then, you won't find many politicians who don't deny ambitions to higher office even as they make plans to campaign for it.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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