Kristol: Democrats oppose Lieberman because he is "pro-American"; Coulter claimed Lamont supporters are "anti-American"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

William Kristol claimed that Democrats who oppose Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman do so because Lieberman is "unashamedly pro-American," while Ann Coulter asserted that those favoring Ned Lamont as Connecticut's U.S. senatorial candidate are "anti-American."

Commenting on the Connecticut Democratic primary race between businessman Ned Lamont and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol claimed that Democrats who oppose Lieberman do so because Lieberman is "unashamedly pro-American," while right-wing pundit Ann Coulter asserted that those favoring Lamont as Connecticut's U.S. senatorial candidate are "anti-American." In his column for the August 14 issue of The Weekly Standard (posted on The Weekly Standard's website on August 4), Kristol wrote that "[w]hat drives so many Democrats crazy about Lieberman is not simply his support for the Iraq war. It's that he's unashamedly pro-American." Similarly, on the August 9 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, Coulter asserted that Lamont's victory in the Connecticut primary illustrates that "the anti-American wing" of the Democratic Party is "absolutely in the ascendancy right now."

As Media Matters for America recently noted, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash twice uncritically reported that Republicans planned to cast the victory by Lamont over Lieberman as evidence that Democrats are "defeatist" and "weak on security" because of Lamont's criticism of Lieberman's support for the Iraq war. Bash further reported that Republicans were "already licking their chops" over Lamont's victory, because they believe it shows that the Democratic Party is "being taken over by the left wing of their party. And from their perspective, that's not good for the country."

From Kristol's column in the August 14 issue of The Weekly Standard:

Well, one might say, at least most Democratic members of Congress haven't criticized Bush for his support of Israel against Hezbollah. But these members are lagging indicators. Consider the views of the Democratic Party at large.

Last week, in a national poll, the Los Angeles Times asked the following (tendentious) question: "As you may know, Israel has responded to rocket attacks from the Lebanese group Hezbollah by bombing Beirut and other cities in Lebanon. Do you think Israel's actions are justified or not justified?" And these were the results: In all, 43 percent of respondents found Israel's actions "justified, not excessively harsh"; 16 percent "justified, but excessively harsh"; and 28 percent "unjustified." What was the party breakdown? Among Republicans: 64 percent justified, 11 percent justified but too harsh, and 17 percent unjustified. Among Democrats: 29 percent justified, 20 percent justified but too harsh, and 36 percent unjustified.

The Times also asked which of the following statements comes closer to your view: "The United States should continue to align itself with Israel," or "The United States should adopt a more neutral posture." Republicans: 64 percent say align with Israel, 29 percent want a more neutral posture; Democrats: 39 percent say align with Israel, 54 percent want a more neutral posture. So even with a centrist Israeli government that is responding to a direct attack and not defending settlements in the territories, Democrats have adopted a "European" attitude toward Israel.

And toward the United States. That is the meaning of Connecticut Democrats' likely repudiation of Joe Lieberman. What drives so many Democrats crazy about Lieberman is not simply his support for the Iraq war. It's that he's unashamedly pro-American.

From the August 9 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Susan, let me direct your attention to what Israel is doing right now, which is this big push. It's one thing, you know, the argument goes, that it's one thing for Israel to defend itself against people firing these rockets. It's another thing to go all the way to Beirut. Do you make any distinctions?

ESTRICH: Well, but nobody's going all the way to Beirut. I mean, I think if they were going all the way to Beirut, that would be another thing. But what they're trying to do, from all I understand, is clear an area for a U.N. peacekeeping force to be there. And what we're seeing right now is they're getting hit with rockets. I got to add one point, though -- I can't let this whole time go by and have it be a little lovefest with Ann. I mean, that would be wrong. I don't think the whackballs have taken over the Democratic Party. I think something very exciting happened in Connecticut, and I say that as somebody who would have voted for Joe Lieberman. But I think we've got a tremendous amount of new energy in the Democratic Party. And I think that we shouldn't confuse what's going on in Israel right now with the war in Iraq, where we've got an issue against George Bush. I think there it was a tremendous vote yesterday against George Bush and against the incumbency. And I think you would agree, John Gibson, since you've come out against the war, you know, I mean, we just got that issue right there, John. Don't you agree?

GIBSON: When did I come out against the war? Ann, do you want to comment?

COULTER: Yes, Susan did an excellent job at sponsoring disagreements with that comment. No, I mean, it has everything to do with what happened yesterday. The free world is surrounded by hostile savages now, and the Democratic Party has had this McGovernite, anti-war, anti-American wing that pops up every once in a while, and it is absolutely in the ascendancy right now. And, unfortunately, I mean, the Republicans can't keep winning every election. The fall elections will probably be a very good year for the Democrats. They ought to be, just out of historical precedent, having nothing to do with George Bush, having nothing to do with the war in Iraq. We picked up a enormous number of seats in the last midterm election. And this wing of the Democratic Party is going to be coming out strong and with -- would like to preside over a humiliating defeat in Iraq, allowing the savages a greater foothold.

GIBSON: I'm gonna have to --

COULTER: I think these are perilous times for America.

GIBSON: I think I'm gonna have to make that the last word. Thank Ann Coulter and Susan Estrich. Thanks to both of you.

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