Wednesday, October 14, 2015

JOE LIEBERMAN, LAST OF A BREED, BACK WITH 'NO LABELS' EFFORT TO BRING POLITICIANS TOGETHER


'NO LABELS' -

'Good Guy'    Joe Lieberman Back With New Program  to Resolve Bitter Political Division

Joe Lieberman was   the guy who tried to get along as the 'peacemaker.' He was a registered Democrat Senator yet counted among his favorite constituents Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But, the political climate got so bad in the 2000's  that   Lieberman could not find unity  and became an independent.




No Labels forum with Trump, Sanders puts Joe Lieberman back in spotlight
courtesy HARTFORD COURANT  
'MANCHESTER, N.H. — Joe Lieberman is back.
The longtime U.S. senator from Connecticut has faded from the spotlight since stepping away from Washington, D.C., nearly three years ago.
But he stepped back onto the political stage Monday as the co-chairman of No Labels, the group that promotes political bipartisanship to solve problems.
Lieberman helped run the all-day "Problem Solver Convention," which brought some of the biggest names in the presidential race to New Hampshire, including Republican front-runner Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.


The agenda included five Republican presidential candidates and three Democrats — which organizers said was a remarkable feat in a nation so deeply divided that passionate campaigners are often not even in the same room together.


"New Hampshire, you're making history today," Lieberman told the crowd of nearly 2,000 in his opening remarks. "Nothing like this has ever happened before."
With more than 40 percent of New Hampshire voters registered as independents, the bipartisan convention at the downtown Radisson hotel was packed with voters of all philosophical and political stripes — ranging from supporters of a self-proclaimed socialist like Sanders to conservative Republicans with roots in red states.' MORE

Some hard-core political watchers asked Lieberman and others for their autographs on the official convention program booklet.
He said that major accomplishments are hard to achieve without bipartisan consensus, citing Social Security and tax reform in the 1980s, made possible by President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill, two partisan rivals who still got along personally. In the same way, President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich balanced the federal budget and passed welfare reform in the 1990s.
"People are angry with the status quo in Washington," Lieberman said. "The most successful presidents have worked across the aisle — Reagan-O'Neill, Clinton-Gingrich. That's the model. We don't see it now."
Lieberman's goal is to ensure that the new president in 2017 "remembers to call in the bipartisan leadership" to break gridlock. He also pushed the four goals of the No Labels movement: creating 25 million jobs over the next 10 years; securing Social Security and Medicare for another 75 years; balancing the federal budget by 2030; and making America energy secure by 2024.
Lieberman worked the room with Jon Huntsman, his fellow co-chairman of No Labels who served as the Republican governor of Utah before running for president in 2012.
"We disagree on some issues," Lieberman said of Huntsman. "But we have the same goal in the end — to get something done."
The biggest attention-getter by far was Trump, the brash New York City developer who has zoomed to the top of the polls. Lieberman introduced Trump as "the surprise phenomenon of this presidential campaign."
Citing The Bronx and The Hague, Lieberman said that The Donald was the only candidate who would be recognized with the word "the" before his name.
Trump started his speech with a detailed explanation of how he restored the famed Wollman skating rink in New York City's Central Park. Noting that the rink had been unusable for years and that he lives nearby at the park's south end, Trump referred to his then-young daughter and recalled, "Ivanka said, 'Can I go ice skating?' "
After negotiations with unions and then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Trump said he called the Montreal Canadiens hockey team to inquire about who maintains the condition of the ice in the arena. He said he fixed the rink in four months for $1.8 million when the city had spent seven years trying to accomplish the same thing.
"[The rink] was a very huge embarrassment for the New York people" until it was fixed, Trump said.
In the same way, he said he opened a golf course along the water in The Bronx that the city could not complete.
"I got it done in less than a year for peanuts," Trump said.
Trump said that Lieberman and Huntsman had convinced him to speak Monday at the convention, prompting him to cancel his other plans.
Another headliner was Sanders, who said that Social Security is not going broke but still needs to be fixed. He said the system has enough money for the next 19 years.
Speaking via satellite as he prepares for the Democratic debate on Tuesday night, Sanders called for increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour and said Congress should reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 to break up the nation's largest financial institutions.
While the national unemployment rate is officially 5.1 percent, Sanders said that the real unemployment rate that includes underemployment for African American teens is as high as 51 percent.
"This is a crisis,'' Sanders said.
Christie, who spoke minutes earlier, told the audience that there is only enough money for the next eight years. Sanders proposed taxing all income for Social Security purposes, rather than stopping once a person earns $118,500.
After being a presidential and vice-presidential candidate, Lieberman said that No Labels is the best possible fit for his political beliefs.
"For me, I appreciate the opportunity to work on some of the things that mattered to me in 40 years of elected office," Lieberman, 73, told The Courant.
Lieberman works part time at No Labels among his multiple interests, including defense and national security issues. He said he spends half of his time working at a New York City law firm, "which helps me to be generous to my children and grandchildren."
A lifelong Democrat who began his public life as a 1960s anti-
war activist, Lieberman has had many political twists and turns over the past 40 years.
His friends say he took a hard right turn after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and his support of Republican George W. Bush's entrance into the Iraq War led to a challenge from Greenwich anti-war activist Ned Lamont in the 2006 U.S. Senate primary. Lieberman lost the primary as liberal Democrats flocked to Lamont, but Lieberman won the general election with the support of Republicans.
Lieberman went a step further right when he supported Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race. Some Democrats wanted to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee after he backed McCain, but with support from Democratic leader Harry Reid, Lieberman kept his chairmanship.
Despite the criticism, Lieberman remained a reliable Democratic voter by staying with the party about 90 percent of the time on issues like gun control, abortion rights, tax increases and gay rights. He was credited with being the 60th vote for Obama's health care plan, which had been blasted by Republicans, and he was a key sponsor of repealing the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell" for gay and lesbian service members.
Since the Democratic presidential candidates were headed to their first major debate on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, they appeared at different times via satellite on four huge video monitors and six smaller ones that were scattered around the exposition center that is connected to the hotel.
Former Connecticut Attorney General Clarine Nardi Riddle, a longtime Lieberman aide, is a co-founder of No Labels and also helped run the convention.
"I'm here because Washington, D.C., is not running for us — for our future and our country's success," Riddle said. "It's not being done. We need to do it."
Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant