Big-Government Republicans for Lieberman

In the Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger writes admiringly of Sen. Joe Lieberman and the Republicans who are flocking to Connecticut to campaign for him, notably Jack Kemp. The Boston Globe adds that many Republican donors close to the White House are donating to Lieberman: former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, former ambassador Mel Sembler, former Sen. Don Nickles, “and the heads of several Texas-based corporations.” Republican strategists tell the Globe that Karl Rove’s publicized phone call to Lieberman was a signal to Republican donors and politicians.

What are these Republicans doing? They’re subordinating every tenet of the Republican philosophy to the war in Iraq. That’s the only issue on which Lieberman is in line with Republican or conservative principles. Lieberman has a lifetime rating of 17 from the American Conservative Union. But maybe he’s getting better? No, his rating was 8 in 2005. On government spending, the National Taxpayers Union rates him 9, slightly worse than Dodd, Feinstein, or Boxer.

Lieberman votes against tax cuts and spending cuts. He’s coauthor of a bill to implement the Kyoto Protocol. He votes for gun control and mandatory seat-belt laws, and against tort reform. He votes to restrict political speech (the McCain-Feingold act) and to punish people for “hate crimes.”

It’s understandable that Republicans don’t want Ned Lamont in the Senate. But to campaign for a lifelong big-government liberal simply because he supports President Bush’s increasingly unsupportable war in Iraq is to declare limited government across a wide range of issues less important than this failing war.