African Americans Divided on Lieberman

From the Hartford Courant . . . the full story is here.  

Black Leaders Divided
Lieberman Inspires Range Of Memories

By David Lightman and Mark Pazniokas
July 11, 2006

Two of the Congressional Black Caucus' most prominent members, U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Maxine Waters, have split over Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and his primary with Ned Lamont, a divide that highlights the question of how the black vote might sway the outcome.

Waters, the more media-savvy and aggressive of the two, is backing Lamont - potentially bad news for Lieberman, who in recent years has been criticized for his stand on issues such as affirmative action and school vouchers.

But Lewis, viewed as more of an old-guard civil rights leader, helps reinforce Lieberman's message that he was a part of the rights movement as early as the 1960s, when he was a student at Yale.

The rival endorsements are not likely to translate into large numbers on Aug. 8 - black voters are expected to make up only about 10 percent of the total - but even a relatively small number of votes could affect a mid-summer primary in which turnout is likely to be low.

. . . Even though Lieberman's NAACP legislative report card has been stellar, Waters and others have long been critical of the senator. . . .

The oldest beef that Waters and her followers have with Lieberman stems from 1995, when California was considering banning racial preferences at state-funded institutions.

"You can't defend policies that are based on group preferences as opposed to individual opportunities," Lieberman said at the time.

When Al Gore picked Lieberman as his vice presidential running mate five years later, Waters and other black caucus members were unhappy, and Lieberman had to make amends with skeptical caucus members at a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

Waters, in the front row, said she was "unclear" where Lieberman stood. Lieberman explained his civil rights history and pledged allegiance to affirmative action programs. Waters said she was satisfied. . . .

Members then grilled him intensely on a number of subjects, and were particularly upset that he had just been quoted saying he "wouldn't send American men and women to Liberia unless I was convinced the country was ready for peacekeeping."

At a time when troops were being sent to Iraq, the caucus was not pleased that Lieberman said, "I don't think it's appropriate for American soldiers to get into the middle of that." Lieberman said his statements were taken out of context.

Tags: African American, black, Lieberman (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

The trap of identity politics

 Joe Lieberman did some nice things for African-Americans 40 years ago, and that's a credit to him and a legitimate differentiator between him and a Republican.

 But more recently, Joe Lieberman has supported persons and policies -- Samuel Alito, the Iraq war -- that have been extremely damaging to Americans as a whole, African-Americans included. He would have supported Social Security privatization if the idea had gained any traction -- again selling out the American public, of which African-Americans are a significant subset.

 John Lewis' focus is narrow -- he looks at the good things Lieberman has done specifically for minorities, and bases his endorsement on that. But he ignores the bad things Lieberman has done for Americans as a whole, and forgets that minorities are every bit as much hurt by these bad things as anybody.

 The interests of Americans, as a whole, are the same as the interests of African-Americans, as a whole. John Lewis needs to look at the big picture.

by Master Jack 2006-07-16 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The trap of identity politics

There have been republicans who used to be progressive on civil rights issues too. Wasn't Charlton Heston a supporter. I think party affiliation means nothing when it comes to the 60s because it was around that time a lot of party members of both parties were rethinking their affiliation to the party related to their stands on civil rights.

by Pravin 2006-07-16 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

If you're going to ask me who I trust more on a personal level between John Lewis and Maxine Waters, that's an easy one.

John Lewis in a landslide.

As for the Lieberman-Lamont race?
Well, I don't live in Connecticut for starters.
And I don't have a horse in this race; quite frankly for me in general, this is an extremely unimportant race in comparison to the many other races that can help us take back Congress.

by v2aggie2 2006-07-16 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

John Lewis is a Bush donor.

by Matt Stoller 2006-07-16 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

Proof?

by v2aggie2 2006-07-16 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

John Lewis, D-GA, gave money to George W. Bush for President? Link plz?

by DavidNYC 2006-07-16 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

That's news to me. I would need some proof of that. In what context was he a donor?

by Pravin 2006-07-16 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

This doesn't make sense.  John Lewis is one of the more liberal members of the House and I am sure you would be hard pressed to find many issues where he voted with Bush let alone gave him money.

by John Mills 2006-07-16 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

First major House figure to advocate for Bush's impeachment.

Bad donor!

by dblhelix 2006-07-16 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

Maybe that was the donation -- trying to guide Bush to retirement.

Of course, given the effort Bush has given as President and throughout his life, you could argue that he has been retired for a long time

by v2aggie2 2006-07-16 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

Who cares about his "donations," or "support" for this or that. Since he appartenly stands up that racist, hyper-zionist, neocon Joe Lieberman, John Lewis can just go straight to hell.

by blues 2006-07-17 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

Yes, John Lewis, a leader in civil rights movement, and with the literal scars to prove it, should go to hell.

And all because he supports Joe Lieberman?

What a complete loss of perspective.

I had better take the high road while I still can.

What John Lewis has accomplished in his life far eclipses the meaning of the Lamont-Lieberman race -- period.

by v2aggie2 2006-07-17 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

In the debate when Lieberman was trying to prove his progressive bona fides he mentioned the civil rights marches and Jack Kennedy. Interesting that the only examples he could think of were from over 40 years ago.

by Jim in Chicago 2006-07-16 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: African Americans Divided on Lieberman

"You can't defend policies that are based on group preferences as opposed to individual opportunities," Lieberman said at the time.

On this, Lieberman is in line with younger (under age 35) African-American voters, who are trending toward independent status. See "The Political Orientations of Young African-Americans" by David Bositis, sponsored by the Institute for Research in AA Studies/Columbia University.

Of course, turnout numbers are better for older voters, generally speaking.

by dblhelix 2006-07-16 10:58AM | 0 recs

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