Senator Lieberman: Unwilling to be Interviewed

A few months ago, I began speaking with the staff of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman about setting up a telephone interview to discuss his reelection campaign. As I explained over the course of more than a dozen conversations -- including extended dialogues with Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith -- I was looking to provide the Senator with an opportunity to respond to some of his detractors and critics in a situation that was both respectful and professional. The Senator's staff seemed somewhat interested in the idea, though noncommittal.

I offered examples of some of my previous interviews, which included four major party presidential nominees; a former House Speaker and a former Senate Majority Leader, as well 16 other present and past Members of Congress; two governors; the executive editor of The New York Times; and a retired four-star general.

Lest the Senator remain unswayed, I explained to his staffers that I was undecided on his race against Ned Lamont -- and was perhaps even leaning towards supporting their boss. Although I, like most in this side of the blogosphere, am disappointed by his rhetoric and stance on the Iraq War, I nevertheless largely approve of his positions on the environment, labor, choice (mostly, though not entirely) and other such issues of importance. What's more, I tend to buy into the logic that it's not such a bad thing for the Senate to have moderates on both sides of the aisle who are able to bring the two parties together from time to time. And after all, I had a sentimental tie to Senator Lieberman; my first real campaign experience was on his behalf during the 2000 presidential contest.

The Lieberman staff seemed at least somewhat warm to my request, telling me that they were discussing it despite some apprehensions within the campaign about whether it would be prudent to engage the blogosphere. Nevertheless, over the course of two or three months, I've been asked to wait -- indefinitely. In other words, for the time being, Senator Lieberman would not speak with me.

Last week, when I began planning a post detailing my dealings with the Lieberman campaign and their apparent unwillingness to submit to a short interview, I was asked to give them one more week to discuss my request before going online with this story. I obliged. However, as of today, they are still unwilling to accede to my interview request.

The point of this post is not self-aggrandizement -- I clearly am not the only blogger to conduct interviews and I certainly don't think of myself as a gatekeeper (as, say, does Bill O'Reilly, who hounds people for not appearing on his show) -- nor is it to bash Senator Lieberman, to whom I'm not inherently opposed. Nevertheless, I believe it is very foolish for any politician to believe that they can be aided by ignoring the blogosphere, that the unrest will melt away if they do not engage their critics. We're not going away any time soon, regardless of what some Beltway insiders might hope, so it's probably better to be even a little open to us rather than to more or less act as if we don't exist.

The tide may be turning towards more, rather than less, interaction with the progressive blogosphere. As Matt recently noted, the position of "netroots coordinator" is popping up all over the place these days. DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel, who has taken his fair share of flak on this blog in recent months, was willing to devote 15 minutes for a civilized conversation addressing criticisms from some of our readers. And to be fair, Senator Lieberman's staff was willing to take time to speak with me even if the Senator himself was not.

I'm still open to interviewing Senator Lieberman at this juncture -- and Ned Lamont or any other credible candidate around the country, for that matter. My email is and I'm pretty good at returning messages. Drop me a line and let's see if we can't start up a healthy dialogue.

Tags: CT-Sen, Interview, Joe Lieberman (all tags)



Re: Senator Lieberman: Unwilling to be Interviewed

Don't hold your breath. There's a very good reason that he won't consent to be interviewed by you. The flawed reasoning he uses to justify his votes cannot withstand the detailed disection that would occur in a forum like this. And he's aware of this.

by avh 2006-05-10 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Lieberman: Unwilling to be Interviewed

Sen Lieberman will be far to busy with the Lieberman/Farrell Iraq War debates Chris Shays called for today to spend time with you stinking bloggers.LMAO

by ctkeith 2006-05-10 09:17AM | 0 recs
Lieberman is chickenshit

You know, Lieberman himself had an official campaign blog in 2004. For example, check out this post from December 22, 2003 where the Lieberman's have seem to be excited to move from Connecticut.

Hadassah just sent us a quick note from New Hampshire:

"Joe and I are moving to New Hampshire in January and I officially picked up the keys to our new place last week. No one knows better than Joe how each and every vote counts and we will be there to talk to as many people as we can.

Of course, the more people learned about Lieberman the less likely they were to support him.

Also, check out this whiny ass titty baby post after Howard Dean pointed out that the Democratic Leadership Council is the GOP Wing of the Democratic Party. Dean was right, Joe was out of touch and it is finally catching up with him.

Hat tip to thirdparty

by Bob Brigham 2006-05-10 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman is chickenshit

Don't we have bigger fish to fry?

I'd kinda like more effort spent on removing people  with Rs behind their names and going after sometime conservative, but inherently decent Ds.

by joe bog 2006-05-10 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman is chickenshit

I think you're mistaking this as an either/or proposition.  Just because the netroots community is going after Lieberman in a primary doesn't necessarily mean we're not working on removing Republicans as well.  Just check any of the diaries and you'll see people involved in tons of other races against Republicans.

by minvis 2006-05-10 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman is chickenshit


There are organizations like the DCCC and the DSCC and the DGA that have this mission. The most effective use of the netroots is to reform the Democratic Party.

Lieberman needs to go. There needs to be an example made of Lieberman so DLC fuckwads will learn that there are consequences for undermining the Democratic Party.

by Bob Brigham 2006-05-10 10:10AM | 0 recs
Once again

The assumption here is that the dumb ATM is just misprogrammed, and if only we could swap the firmware it would happily spit out the same cash to "the right people". It don't work that way.

The amount of money is finite, and folks donate to whom they prefer. They won't hand Hilly (as one example) extra cash if we could only knock out those nasty primaries. Personally, I'd use my Lamont donations to get ahead on some debt.

by ElitistJohn 2006-05-10 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Lieberman: Unwilling to be Interviewed

I remember reading that this was a "Democratic Blog" not an ideological blog.

The sectarian Fundies can overlook their differences and work for the R's.  Lieberman is a decent guy and on the right side of issues far more often than he's not.

I'd kinda like to win an election before 2020.

by joe bog 2006-05-10 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Lieberman: Unwilling to be Interviewed

Lieberman's election by a convincing margin will only embolden a takeover of the democratic party by likeminded people. I mean look at the DLC. Despite all their fuckups over the last 10 years, they still have this condescending attitude towards the other segments of the party. Sometimes you got to lose the battle to win the war. And it's not even a guarantee that Lamont would lose a general election unless Lieberman stands head to head which would pose the question for lieberman supporters "why are you so quick to ask us to support lieberman in the name of unity when some of you dont want to extend the same unity votes to Lamont and people like Dean in the past?"

by Pravin 2006-05-10 03:10PM | 0 recs
Singer's naivete

I am not going to criticize Jonathan Singer's diary despite wondering if the diary sentiment is coming from a place where a former Lieberman booster is being ignored by Lieberman. Singer seems very sincere about the whole process and is self aware to put that thought out there himself.

I feel bad for people like Singer who sincerely believed in a guy like Lieberman who is letting them down. But for us who never liked Lieberman, I am not surprised at all that Lieberman would do this. I guess Hannity's show was a lot more hospitable place to him. Anyway, I actually think the fact that Lieberman's aides are willing to discuss with Singer whatever he wants to is actually is more than people like I expect from  Lieberman. What stops Singer from posing to the aides the questions we pose about Lieberman and demanding an answer? To be fair to Lieberman, one does not have to give personal interviews for every blogger out there. If the aides say stuff like "we cannot comment on that. We have to get back with Lieberman" on some crucial questions, then I would criticize Lieberman more for not agreeing to an interview.

As far as the viewpoint that Iraq war is just one issue that Lieberman is wrong on, that is a fallacy. The IRaq war is a multifaceted issue. It involves abuse of power, deaths, waste of money, corruption, erosion of civil rights, transparency of government. If the Iraq war is just one of many issues for Lieberman, how does one explain the passion with which he attacks Iraq war critics, while he is demure in his disagreement, if any, about the environment with his right wing opponents. Why does he talks so well of Bush and Rumsfeld despite the fact that he seemingly only agrees with them on the war and religion issues. Obviously, even if one ignores the multifaceted part of the war issue, it is ONE HUGE issue for Lieberman that he is willing to ignore the attacks on issues he votes on the right side for. Has he really stuck his neck out on the environment, or is his support just toeing the party line as part of obligatory scorecard politics by his aides?  I think scorecard politics can be simplistic. You got to have a weighted scorecard. On what issues does he stick his neck out? On what issues does he feel strong enough to give(or not give) a flawed president a pass on other issues?  On what issues does he fight tooth and nail to attack the critics?

by Pravin 2006-05-10 01:28PM | 0 recs
Senator Lieberman has done an interview

with a blogger already.

He answered six questions posed by Conn. Local Politics that were submitted to "and answered by Sen. Lieberman between 1/24/2006 and 3/9/2006."

Whatever that means.  

Read the interview/six questions thing here.

I imagine that the Conn. Local Politics' interview is different from the interview that you would have conducted Mr. Singer, but the fact remains that Senator Lieberman's campaign has already engaged the blogosphere.  

by spazeboy 2006-05-10 02:01PM | 0 recs


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