Skip to comments.Bush not a 'bad man,' just a 'bad president' (An interview with Senator Lieberman)
Posted on 09/11/2003 12:58:21 PM PDT by presidio9
Q: Political experts say your moderate views would make you a strong candidate against President Bush (news - web sites). But they also say those same views make it difficult for you to win the Democratic nomination because so many party activists are to your left. How do you connect with those Democrats?
A: After 30 years in public service, I have a record. I am what I am, I believe what I believe, and I'm going to stand for what I think is right for the country. That's the test of leadership, and it's what the voters are looking for: somebody they can trust to be their president, to protect them, to take care of them. Like most people in the country, I look at each issue separately and decide what I think is right for the country's future. On domestic issues I have a record of social progress and real support for social justice. I'd compare my record on environmental justice, or a woman's right to choose, or very aggressive opposition to any form of discrimination, to any of the other Democratic candidates. And, of course, I'd compare it as day to night to the current president's record. Several of the other Democratic candidates are taking positions on fiscal responsibility, trade, defense, tax cuts for the middle class, that are exactly the opposite of President Clinton (news - web sites)'s in '92 positions that helped Clinton and Gore win.
Q: Bill Clinton (news - web sites) also made the economy the primary issue in '92. In 9/11's aftermath, is the economy still the overriding issue?
A: It's both security and prosperity. What's most on the minds of the American people now is the economy, health insurance and education but particularly the economy and fear of job loss. The Democratic candidate has to gain the public's confidence that we can protect the American people here at home and in the world. Once we convince them we can do it at least as well as Bush has, then we will win. I've found as I've gone around the country that there is this crisis in the loss of manufacturing jobs. So far I don't see any leadership on this. I have a long-term manufacturing renewal program investments in innovation, tax credits for manufacturers who stay here, job training for workers. But right now, American manufacturing is like a patient in the emergency room.
Q: How would your approach to Iraq have differed from Bush's?
A: I am concerned about misleading statements the administration made before the war but particularly about the really shocking lack of preparedness by the president for post-Saddam Iraq, which has threatened to give a bad name to what really was a just war. Administration officials were angry that the Europeans and others, the United Nations (news - web sites), didn't support us, and they carried that anger to a point that is hurtful to us. I would have reached out to NATO (news - web sites) and the U.N., even before the war, and said, 'OK, we're disappointed you didn't come with us, but we need your help in post-Saddam Iraq to secure the country.' I said before the war that we shouldn't send an American administrator in there, we should send a third-country administrator, preferably from an Arab country. We should have brought in this Iraq governing council immediately. I'd also be over there myself or have my secretary of State traveling around Europe, the Islamic world, the Arab world, and saying, 'Look at what they're doing to not just us, but you. We're in this together.' This is a very fateful moment.
Q: Should more American troops be sent to Iraq?
A: We certainly need more troops there hopefully, some of them international. We need different kinds of troops, too: civil and political affairs officers to work on the political reconstruction and the earliest possible Iraqi self-government; more corps of engineers types to get basic services restored. We cannot retreat, we cannot withdraw from this. Failure is not an option here because this is now a major test in the war on terrorism. If we lose it, we are in for some very dangerous years for ourselves and our children.
Q: How is your health insurance plan better than your opponents'?
A: My plan will give every American access to affordable health insurance, contain costs and improve the quality of care. We will cover more people at a lower per-person cost than any other Democrats' plans. We will cover 30 million to 40 million more people than Bush's plan, because he has no plan. MediKids will guarantee your child access to affordable health insurance until age 25. Any child in a family whose income is up to 185% of the poverty level, about $34,000, will not pay anything. Then there will be a sliding scale up to full cost. We also promise that if you lose your job you won't lose your health insurance. We'll require employers to continue to cover its costs for two months after an employee is laid off. Then we give the worker the opportunity to become part of what I call MediChoice. They can buy into the same pool that federal employees' health insurance comes from.
Q: Your health plan would cost $55 billion a year money we don't have. How will you pay for it?
A: We've got to take back some parts of the Bush tax cut and redirect those funds to more important needs, including health insurance and reducing the deficit. You can't have everything; leadership is about priorities. That is why we're going to do this health insurance plan step by step, as our economy allows.
Q: Democrats have lost nearly all the advantages they had over Republicans on education. Can you regain that advantage?
A: Bush's record on education is abysmal. It's been marketing and no delivery; the so-called 'No Child Left Behind Act,' except he left behind all the money necessary to redeem the promises made in the act. The American people know that their kids are not getting the high quality education they need to make it today, particularly if they are lower income.
Q: What is the key to winning the presidency in 2004?
A: Probably the toughest campaign I ever waged was when I ran in 1988 against a three-term incumbent senator. An expert told me that to win you have to convince the voters of Connecticut to fire him and hire you. You don't have to convince them he's an evil person, just that he's not doing the job they hired him to do. I'm not here to say George Bush is a bad man. But he's been a very bad president for the American people.
No morals, no integrity, and no honor.
Fortunately, the other Dems are all in attack-dog mode, and will probably stoop to personal attacks that will not sit well with the majority of voters. Whether they agree with him or not, a great many Americans like Bush as a person, and personal attacks will backfire.
And Clinton was/is a . . . . ?
That, I didn't know.
Gee, Joe, I kinda look at you as someone who believes right is whatever gets you elected. And you have the record to prove it.
Oh great. Stick it to the businesses again, big or small.