Joe Lieberman is president: how do the parties' positions on the wars change?

Imagine, if you will, that Al Gore had won a marginally better campaign in 2000 and won the electoral vote as well as the popular. Imagine further that Mr. Gore chokes on a chicken bone at a victory party and thus the vice president elect, Joe Lieberman, becomes president.

Mr. Lieberman, you’ll recall, though ostensibly a Democrat until last year, has been one of President Bush’s staunchest supporters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus it’s not unreasonable to assume that he’d have prosecuted a similar foreign policy, and that we’d find ourselves in a similar quagmire.

How would the political landscape be different? Would other prominent Democrats support the war? Would the neocons oppose Lieberman because he was of the wrong party? How might things be different?

I don’t think anyone other than Bush/Cheney (and their crew of so-called necon advisers) would have invaded Iraq, so I don’t accept your premise.

Exactly. However much Lieberman may have turned himself into a zealous defender of Dear Leader, I find it hard to believe that he would have come up with such a harebrained scheme on his own.

Not to mention that a Republican controlled Congress would have been predisposed not to support a military action by a Democratic President. While bipartisan support for an Afghanistan invasion would still have been present (assuming the attacks of 9/11/01 still would’ve taken place), the Republicans would almost certainly have been cool towards an Iraq invasion-- witness the reaction to Clinton’s efforts in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

Perhaps a better hypothetical in this situation is to ask what would have happened had Lieberman captured the Democratic nomination in 04 and then defeated Bush in the general election.

I suspect in this case that the alignments would still be much as they are, with opposition to the war higher among Democrats than Republicans. My guess is that there are some prominent members of Congress who may not have their current views (looking at the junior Senator from New York, among others…)

Lieberman still caucuses with the Democrats and calls himself a Democrat, just because he wasn’t nominated in the Democratic primary in Connecticut doesn’t mean he’s no longer a Dem.

He no longer calls himself a Democrat, or even an “Independent Democrat”, no matter what Fox commentators may still call him.

My understanding is that the folks in his district stopped calling him a Dem long before he stopped calling himself a Democrat because he voted more in line with the Republicans than he did the Dems.

That being said, I can’t imagine ol’ Joe staying President for more than a single term. Of all the fish-lipped pols I’ve seen, he’s got to be the most uncharismatic of any of them. If he were to have to done something as foolish as gotten us into our current quagmire (through the use of plying congress with hookers and booze), unless he remembered to take incriminating photos of all of them, he’d be impeached and tossed out of office faster than you can say, “Richard Nixon!”

[stolen from Daily Kos]Joe Lieberman likes to be called an “independent Democrat”. I like to be called a “sexual dynamo”.

In any case, I don’t think that President Lieberman would have invaded Iraq in the first place, though he might have stayed in it in 2004.

I dunno about Lieberman and Iraq. Depends on how far the neocons could get their hooks into him. Remember, one of the primary, if not the primary, lynchpins of the neocon position on the Middle East is support for Israel. They might have gone far with that approach.

Joe Lieberman is pure politician, nothing more and nothing less. He is making a political bet with his current positions that they will result in the furtherment of his career. Perhaps Joe really would like to be president. I expect that the positions he would take if here were president would have more to do with political calculation than anything else. Joe is more a result of geo political events than influencer of them.

Precisely…as the 2006 Senate election showed, he retains enough Democrats to win in a Democratic state, while attracting nearly all Republicans in his state to his ticket as well, by adopting the positions he does. One who thinks that anyone in the US government actually believes in anything besides advancing their own power exhibits a charming naivete.

And one who believes there are no distinctions to be drawn between Republicans and Democrats because all any of them want is more power exhibits a less-than-charming inability to make critical distinctions. Power is just a means to an end.

I guess you believe that this extreme cynicism is actually less naive; Like Evil Captor, I don’t. I think in reality it is complicated…Yes, politicians often cater to certain interests in order to advance their own power but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any principles whatsoever.

In fact, I don’t have any reason to doubt that Lieberman’s position on the war is based at least in large part on principle even if I happen to think that his principles are pretty whacked.

I agree. In fact, it’s almost political suicide these days for a politician to be pro-Iraq War. And CT isn’t exactly some bastion of right wing conservatism with JL pandering to that base. What’s funny is that someone like JL, who is willing to break ranks with his party when he sees fit, is labeled a “pure politician”. I just don’t see the logic in that at all.

Lieberman 2000 does not invade Iraq. Maybe lob a missile once in a while but I think the intelligence interpretations would have been much more honest and the supposed threat posed by Iraq would not have been so overstated. And just maybe, the 9/11 plot would have been foiled with better cooperation between FBI and CIA.

The 2004-elected Lieberman would have kept the war going, but would have been quicker to change course. The war would have been managed better. Perhaps not enough to avoid the civil war, but I think the situation would be better than what it is today.

The Democrats wouldn’t have retaken Congress in 2006. More moderate Republican Senators and Representatives would be criticizing the war, but I think moderate Democrats would be somewhat less critical.

I’d just like to make a few quick points, if I may.

Whoever was elected after Bill Clinton was going to have to deal with Iraq in a military fashion. Period. The question really is over the scale of the operation. And I have always said here that another war with the Hussein regime was largely unavoidable - the question was only when it would happen.

The crisis in the Oil-for-Food program and the consequent weakening of support for sanctions in the UN was going to happen whoever was president. Once those sanctions fell apart completely, Hussein would have restarted his prohibited weapons programs and would have restarted applying pressure on his neighbors.

I often see this myth bandied about that Iraq was contained. This has little basis in reality. It is more accurate to say that Iraq was constrained - but those constraints were weakening fast.

Whoever was president in this era would have been faced with an Iraq war decision. The question is really whether the decision came in 2003 or now.

What is this supposed to be? No, there was not any inevitable war. The U.S. could have repeated the Gulf War and just driven Iraq out of any country they invaded without executing regime change, could have taken out the Hussein government without trying to occupy the country as a whole, or could have used any number of diplomatic approaches to replace the sanctions. Less politically likely but also metaphysically possible, we could have just let other countries fight each other without getting involved. Aside from that: Saddam Hussein’s international credibility in 2002 was zero, and his credibility among Arab Muslims was in the negatives. His imperial fantasies were doomed from the start even when that was not the case; it would require believing that he was delusional, rather than evil, to think that he was planning to invade Kuwait or Saudi Arabia without expecting a coup from his generals or the retaliatory takeover of his country by the Saudis.