Lieberman defends Murtha

Joe Lieberman, the warbloggers’ favorite Democrat, says that Jack Murtha’s call for a quick exit from Iraq come from a deep patriotism and concern about the welfare of the military. Now I’d like to hear from all the people who laud Lieberman and have denigrated Murtha.

Jane Hamsher is one of my favorite bloggers.

Joe Lieberman is one of my un-favorite politicians.

But having listened to the tape of the Lieberman radio interview that Jane characterizes as “flipping out,” I can’t hear what she hears. Lieberman keeps his cool, never raises his voice, and criticizes the host &#8212 fairly or unfairly &#8212 for pulling one line out of a speech and quoting it out of context. I agree that the line (about how awful it is to challenge the credibility of the “Commander in Chief” in wartime) is pretty bad, but a voter listening to the interview without preconceptions would probably emerge thinking of Lieberman as a pretty decent and reasonable guy.

One point that no one has commented on, as far as I know, ought to bother the warbloggers who have accused Jack Murtha of everything short of treason for his strong stance in favor of a quick exit from Iraq: the same warbloggers who write about how they might vote Democratic if the Democrats nominated good patriots like Joe Lieberman. Lieberman cites Murtha as an example of the sort of honest, non-partisan, patriotic dissent that he says is essential in wartime.

What Lieberman doesn’t do, unfortunately, is criticize the Republicans who have been so aggressive in questioning not only Murtha’s patriotism and sanity but even his personal courage as a Marine. But the implicit criticism comes through loud and clear.

So howsa bout, fellas? Do you want to add Lieberman to the list of partisan, irresponsible Democrats, or do you want to take back the slanders you directed at Jack Murtha?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com