Former Senator Joe Lieberman helped launch his own political career decades ago with a book about a Connecticut boss, but says he doesn’t see enough “power broker” in President Joe Biden.
Lieberman, who was the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate in 2000 and served with Biden for two decades, says Biden should be given more leadership over his party.
“I have to say I haven’t seen enough of that,” Lieberman told DailyMail.com in an interview.
“I had the highest appreciation for genuine affection for him. And I was proud to support him in 2020, [and] don’t downplay the difficulty of the political situation,” said Lieberman.
“While in my 24 years in Senate I watched Joe Biden do a lot of… powerbroking, which was the title of my original book long ago about [state party chair] John Bailey. I haven’t seen him do enough as president,” Lieberman said.
Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman wrote a book about a Connecticut power broker and said of Biden, ‘I haven’t seen him do enough as president’
“And the irony and difficulty is that the biggest loser from a failure to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I think, will be President Biden himself,” he added.
He said Biden’really has the entry and plea, pressure, to do whatever it takes to advance the bipartisan infrastructure law. He called it “historically important” and “really good for the country.”
He was less convinced of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, which he described as insufficiently vetted.
And he said of the left’s demands: “They hurt the president and the Democratic Party as the midterm elections approach.”
Lieberman said Biden “should either negotiate a compromise on the grand reconciliation bill, or put it in some sort of committee negotiation process among Democrats until they can come up with a compromise.”
Lieberman, chairman of the No Rules group, is an outspoken centrist who has written a new book, The Centrist Solution, which recounts the threads of his political career, interspersed with concrete guidance and advice for making compromises.
In his book, he describes two-pronged achievements such as the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 and helping to remove GOP support for President Obama’s economic stimulus. He describes his move to become an Independent, and says he regularly chats with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
“I am encouraged to hear that Senator Senator or Senator Manchin have gone to the White House. So far I haven’t seen anything productive or real come out of it,” he said.
When asked if he knows what Sinema is looking for, he replied: ‘I really don’t know. I talk a lot with Joe Manchin, but I haven’t really interacted with Senator Sinema.’
He says he hasn’t seen Sinema on “Saturday Night Live,” where she’s played as someone who refuses to reveal what she wants in conversations, but says he gets the feeling Democrats are more frustrated with her than with Manchin.
Lieberman, chairman of the No Rules group, says he does not know what Senator Kyrsten Sinema is looking for through negotiations
He said he was disappointed with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley for taking the stage and accepting Donald Trump’s endorsement
Lieberman is friends with Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who infuriated the left with her vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh
Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, served in the Senate for 24 years and became independent. Here, Lieberman talks to reporters as he walks through the Senate subway in Washington on June 22, 2021
“Part of it is that she’s new. Part of that is that she is a little less personally involved with her colleagues. Joe is a, you know, Joe is a people person and Joe talks to everyone, and that’s how politics should be, including people who don’t agree with him. And Sinema is new. She’s come downtown, or the spotlight in the Senate, almost embarrassing for her probably. But she has a lot of potential to play a really constructive role in the Senate and Congress, and I hope people will work with her to see that that’s true.”
Ten years ago, when she was a party activist, Sinema called Lieberman “pathetic” and “an embarrassment to the Democrats,” but has since moved downtown, posing one of the main obstacles to advancing the $3.5 plan. trillion.
Lieberman rejects the idea that the party’s left was more willing to compromise, including raising Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders from $6 trillion to $3.5 trillion.
“Bernie’s $6 trillion in the original program went from the unbelievable to the only unaffordable $3.5 trillion,” Liberman said.
He remains good friend Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who infuriated the left with her vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, despite her own views and accusations by Christine Blasey Ford.
“I know people get mad at her. But I know her well enough to know that she really struggled with it. It was not a political motive,” he said. “She tried to do what was in her power to advise and agree to a presidential nomination to the Supreme Court.”
He referred to her Senate floor speech about her decision, in which she called him an “exemplary official,” but said Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations contain “a lack of supporting evidence.”
“When I saw her give that speech, I thought it was a really well thought out speech. I said to her afterwards, Susan, you look really tired. It was a great speech, but you look tired and I know why. You were probably up half the night writing the speech. She laughed and said: oh you know me very well.’
Lieberman’s reach across the aisle has limits. He condemned Senator Charles Grassley’s decision to appear onstage with Donald Trump at a weekend rally in Iowa.
“No, I mean, I think the statements of Chuck Grassley, who I’ve always loved working with and loved working with, were very disappointing,” he said.
Lieberman’s book barely mentions today’s driving clash between the parties: Trump’s election campaign thwarts the effort. On page 278, just before the last page, he notes that “After the 2020 election and before Joe Biden was inaugurated, President Trump is focused on challenging the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, and that the bipartisan leadership of Congress was unable or unwilling to work together to bring about an expansion of the COVID relief programs that millions of Americans desperately need.”
The No Labels group pushed it and a version was put in place after Biden was sworn in.
When asked whether the Trump presidency and the Capitol riots influenced the environment to compromise, he said: “The mood has changed. He said his last two years in the Senate were “the most partisan and the least productive.”
He said that while some moderates eventually voted for Trump, “he ended up infuriating them and making the problem of partisanship and, in some ways really so important, instability in government, worse.”