Joe Lieberman's 'Lurch to the Right' Since 2000 Loss?

New York Times reporter John Broder's front-page Week in Review story was titled "Gore-Lieberman: A Hyphen Apart? Try Poles." Much like the story itself, Broder's lead was a lazy attempt at provocation. (NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston also dissected the piece on Sunday.)

Imagine for a moment the Supreme Court had gone the other way in Bush v. Gore in 2000. We would now be in year eight of the Gore-Lieberman administration. Well, maybe not the Lieberman part.

Even as a short-hand description, that's sloppy. The Supreme Court ruling "the other way" would not have made Gore president. The Court didn't have the authority to declare Gore president. The Court merely stopped the Florida Supreme Court from another recounting of the Florida vote. An exhaustive November 2001 report from the Times itself demonstrated that Bush would have triumphed "even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."

Broder then bizarrely claimed Democratic Sen. Lieberman has "lurched to the right" since losing in 2000.

As Mr. Gore steadily migrated leftward from his roots as a hawkish, centrist New Democrat, Mr. Lieberman lurched to the right, so much so that he now makes common cause with Republicans, at least on the war.

But Lieberman's actual voting record makes for a far different picture. The American Conservative Union has awarded him an overall, lifetime voting rating of 17 (100 being most conservative), making him a fairly liberal Democrat in his caucus. Lieberman's "lurch to the right" resulted in his rating for the year 2006 alone shooting all the way up to...17. Some "lurch." His only consistent policy overlap with conservatives is his position on the war.

Later on, Broder strained to find the most peculiarly unflattering way to describe Lieberman:

And although he disavows any interest in running for vice president again ("Been there, done that, got the T-shirt"), it is not inconceivable that he could become the first person to lose the vice presidency on both major party tickets.

Broder also inserted some liberal opinion into his description of Lieberman's reaction on the Senate floor to the Monica Lewinsky affair:

Mr. Lieberman has given [Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] reason to fume. In 1998, he roundly (some say sanctimoniously) condemned President Bill Clinton for his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. In a recent television interview he said of Mr. Obama, "I'd hesitate to say he's a Marxist, but he's got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America."

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