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Limber Lieberman Breaks a Leg
by La Shawn Barber
13 March 2003

A look at Joe Lieberman's fancy flips on race.

Strom Thurmond can't even retire in peace.

While his segregationist past continues to taint his former colleagues, the issue for black liberals is obviously not Thurmond’s former distain for blacks; it’s his political ideology. Former racists can be forgiven. Just ask Senator Robert Byrd, an ex-Klansman.

It seems that black Democrats are on a mission to selectively vilify anyone who’s ever said anything remotely kind to or about Strom Thurmond. But weak-willed politicians who backtrack on their principles, betray their constituency and grovel before the likes of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Black Entertainment Television--like former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott--do it all for naught. Just ask Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Although not in attendance at Thurmond’s infamous birthday party, Lieberman committed heresy by paying tribute to his departing colleague. Things must have been too quiet on the race-baiting front for former Atlanta mayor and purported “major player” in the Democratic party, Maynard Jackson. Last month, he told the Washington Times that he “didn’t appreciate Lieberman saying that Thurmond is a ‘man of iron with a heart of gold.’”

Jackson--Atlanta’s first black mayor--made headlines in 2001 when he ran against Terry McAuliffe for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Without the endorsement of Bill Clinton and other prominent Democrats, Jackson dropped out of the race and accepted a lesser chairmanship within the DNC.

Despite their problem with Lieberman’s tribute, the other Jackson and the CBC apparently had no such concern when money man McAuliffe referred to blacks as “colored people” during a 2001 DNC meeting. He later apologized to the CBC, saying he meant to use the phrase “people of color.” Honest slip, right? Just ask Trent Lott.

Not content with his undignified ouster, liberal types want more groveling from Republicans. And from members of their own party.

Lieberman gave them a medal-worthy performance. In a series of electrifying moves, he demonstrated his political agility back in 2000 as Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate. An Orthodox Jew, Lieberman did a back handspring and came out in favor of a woman’s “right to choose” to kill her fetus.

After a perfect straddle split on the issue of school choice, he performed an amazing double back with a full twist on racial preferences. All for the CBC’s entertainment. Explaining away his support for Proposition 209, a California initiative that banned state-sponsored race-based discrimination, he said “I support the kinds of affirmative action programs that are not quotas.” Translation: He supports race-based discrimination; he just doesn’t want to put a number on how many people will be discriminated against. I give him a 7.5.

Despite all his fancy flips, black Democrats are reportedly “still fuming” about his tribute to Sen. Thurmond.

Conjuring up Thurmond’s old political party, the segregationist Dixiecrats, the ever-present, often anti-Semitic Al Sharpton offered his two cents about Lieberman’s former chairmanship of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). “They don’t call themselves the Dixiecrats now; they call themselves the DLC.” With typical hyperbole, Sharpton likened an obsolete party of the late 1940s with a group that, according to its web site, supports “promoting opportunity for all; demanding responsibility from everyone; and fostering a new sense of community.” Sharpton, promoting opportunity for himself, demanding responsibility from everyone but himself, and fostering a sense of divided community, is apparently unaware that Bill Clinton, America’s “first black president”, founded the DLC.

Like children fighting over a single toy while others languish in a corner, Democrats and President wanna-bes are squabbling among themselves over an elusive, coveted prize they will unlikely get in 2004: The White House. While they’re reduced to suspiciously questioning each other’s mere words and motives, conservatives can take pleasure in the decisive, principled leadership of a man already in the White House: George W. Bush.

I give him a perfect 10.


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La Shawn Barber is a columnist for the RightReport.com, and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times, and her editorials have also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Dispatch, BlackElectorate, The Black World Today, and other publications.