Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Sunday, March 05, 2006


The Lieberman-Cheney Blacklist Revisited

Via spazeboy at My Left Nutmeg, I came across this piece in today's NE Magazine (in the Hartford Courant) which details a recent Ned Lamont meeting with ex-Weicker chief of staff and CT political fixture Tom D'Amore.

In the middle of the article by Paul Bass was this set of assertions, one of which stood out:

Lieberman's strongest support comes from Republicans. And no wonder.

He casts aspersions on citizens who question the war. (He helped Lynne Cheney start a group which published a list of college professors whom right-wingers deem un-American.) He votes to transfer wealth to the rich, as he did in May and March of 2003. He uses his moral authority to excoriate a Democratic president for a sexual liaison with an intern, and then, several years later, straddles the fence on a Republican administration's illegal wiretapping and torture of prisoners of war.

The group in question is The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, whose actions in 2001 inspired this open letter to Joe Lieberman and Lynne Cheney printed as an advertisement in The Nation:

On November 11, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), an organization you co-founded in 1995, issued a report that listed the names of academics along with 117 statements they made, in public forums or in classes, that questioned aspects of the Administration's war on terrorism. Concluding that "College and university faculty have been the weak link in America's response to the attack," the report asked alumni to bring their (presumed) displeasure about these views to the attention of university administrations. While ACTA's report does not have the cachet of President Nixon's "Enemies List," nor the intimidating force (yet?) of Senator Joseph McCarthy's too-numerous-to-list lists, as an American historian I am naturally interested in this project, and I have decided to offer your organization my full cooperation.

Here's the pdf of the report itself, "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America," from ACTA's website.

Here's an article from the San Jose Mercury News about the report, which specifically mentions the president of Wesleyan and a professor at Yale.

But, alas, here's a letter from Joe Lieberman to ACTA dated December 2001 disowning the report and asking not to be referred to as a "co-founder" of the group anymore:

This letter is meant to set the record straight about my disapproval of this report, which I consider unfair and inconsistent for an organization devoted to promoting academic freedom. To avoid any future confusion, I would ask you to remove any reference to me as a "co-founder" of ACTA from your website or other Council documents. And I would ask that you note in any future public statements that I do not support this specific report. Thank you.

There is no doubt Sen. Lieberman did the right thing by disassociating himself from the group in 2001. Yet despite his request of 4+ years ago, ACTA's website still lists him as a co-founder today:

ACTA was launched by former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Lynne V. Cheney, former Governor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, distinguished social scientist David Riesman, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow and others.

Does Sen. Lieberman still repudiate the disgusting McCarthyist actions undertaken by this group in his name in the tumultuous weeks and months following September 11th, 2001? If so, why is his name still on their website?

In the end of course, a name on a website is inconsequential. What matters more are the types of figures with whom you choose to politically associate yourself. And the undeniable and unchangable fact is that Joe Lieberman judged it proper to co-found an "academic freedom" group with Lynne Cheney in 1995, a year after the Gingrich revolution in Congress.

You know the saying: "Lie down with Cheneys, wake up with fleas." (Or, I guess, in a hospital bed with birdshot pellets embedded in your face.)

Connecticut deserves a Senator who would never come within a mile of making an alliance like this one on an issue like this one.
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