The Evil of Two Lessers

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Aug 9 11:21:45 PDT 2000

Peter K. wrote:

>Chris Lehmann says Lieberman voted against increasing the minimum wage.

That's not all. Writes Lehmann:

>It turns out that in this small order of business, Lieberman affords
>his running mate no relief from the, uh, stain of Clintonism.
>Despite his high-profile moralizing, Lieberman is one of Clinton's
>oldest political associates (Clinton volunteered in Lieberman's
>maiden campaign, for Connecticut state senator, in 1970) and now
>occupies Clinton's old post as head of the rightist,
>anything-for-a-victory Democratic Leadership Council. All of which
>is to say that Lieberman possesses every right-feinting move in the
>president's political playbook -- and then some. He's opposed
>increases in the minimum wage, affirmative action, and most
>significant legislation to extend federally subsidized health
>coverage. He supports school vouchers, advocated "tort reform" (i.e.
>efforts to restrict punitive judgments in product liability suits)
>and has endorsed Congress's first baby steps toward privatizing
>Social Security. He endorsed the GOP's recent draconian overhauls of
>personal bankruptcy law. And in a more obscure, but no less telling,
>flourish of service to the Info Barons of the New Economy, Lieberman
>repeatedly pressed the Federal Accounting Standards Board to
>discontinue its fusty habit of counting stock-option grants as
>equivalent to cash compensation -- thus liberating a whole new
>cohort of employers from such irksome details as full benefits
>packages, payroll taxes, and fair wages.
>This is not to say, of course, that Lieberman's alarm over
>televisual violence has in any way made him squeamish over the
>prospect of exporting real-world bloodshed. Pundits note with
>nonsensical infatuation that he is a hawk on national defense. (How
>daring! How independent!) This is a statesman whose idea of opening
>negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic at the height of the war in
>Kosovo was simply to announce, "If he doesn't sign, we will destroy
>his country." And for good measure, Lieberman also introduced
>legislation to send twenty-five million dollars in weaponry after
>the war to the Kosovo Liberation Army -- a uniquely authoritarian
>outfit that even the American right has disowned as fundamentalist
>Islamic drug-runners, inclined to respond to ethnic cleansing and
>territorial partition with more ethnic cleansing and territorial

But, as Nathan assures us, he's really a social democrat under all that.

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