Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic senator, appealed to voters in New York's 14th Congressional District on Tuesday to vote in November for top Democrat Joe Crowley and not the Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In a scorching article for the Wall Street Journal, Lieberman, who’s now an Independent, criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda as “more Socialist than Democratic” and said her presence in Congress will “make it harder for Congress to stop fighting and start fixing problems.”
“Thanks to a small percentage of primary votes, all of the people of New York’s 14th Congressional District stand to lose a very effective representative in Washington,” he wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez won last month in the Democratic primary against Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who was thought by some to be a future Speaker of the House.
She ran on the platform of abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Democratic Socialist agenda, earning endorsements from several left-wing groups, including MoveOn and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
But now she faces pushback from moderate voices who fear her firebrand Democratic Socialist brand may actually hurt the party’s future prospects.
“[House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi] knows that if Democrats are to regain a majority, it will be by winning swing districts with sensible, mainstream candidates. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is making that task harder across America,” Lieberman wrote.
“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America, whose platform, like hers, is more Socialist than Democratic. Her dreams of new federal spending would bankrupt the country or require very large tax increases, including on the working class,” he continued. “Her approach foresees government ownership of many private companies, which would decimate the economy and put millions out of work.”
"Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America, whose platform, like hers, is more Socialist than Democratic."
Lieberman also took a shot at Ocasio-Cortez views on international politics. “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t speak much about foreign policy during the primary, but when she did, it was from the DSA policy book—meaning support for socialist governments, even if they are dictatorial and corrupt (Venezuela), opposition to American leadership in the world, even to alleviate humanitarian disasters (Syria), and reflexive criticism of one of America’s great democratic allies (Israel),” he wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez recently flip-flopped in the span of a few days on the issue of Israel and Palestine. On Friday, she asserted the Jewish state’s right to exist but raised eyebrows after incoherent statements about Israel’s “occupation of Palestine.” She insisted she’s “not the expert at geopolitics on this issue.”
But during a town hall style sit-down with Democracy Now on Monday, she balked at repeating her support for the two-state solution and thus Israel’s right to exist. “This is a conversation I’m sitting down with lots of activists in this movement on and I’m looking forward to engaging in this conversation,” she said.
There are increasing calls for Crowley to step up and run in the general election against Ocasio-Cortez, giving an actual choice to voters in the district where opposition has been non-existent for decades.
Crowley will appear on the ballot of the Working Families Party.
Last week, Ocasio-Cortez accused Crowley of still running against her in the general election. “.@repjoecrowley stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy,” she tweeted. “Instead, he’s stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls.”
Crowley responded to the accusations, saying he’s not actively running in the general election. “Lots questions about WFP line. Was honored to have their support. I’m not running. For record you can only be removed from the ballot if 1) you move out of NY; 2) die; 3) be convicted of a crime; 4) accept a nomination for another office (in a place I don’t live),” he tweeted.
Lieberman ends the article with a ringing endorsement of Crowley, saying his re-election would show that “that Democrats are capable of governing again,” noting that Crowley is a progressive “bridge builder and problem solver, which is exactly what Congress needs more of in both parties.”
“For the sake of Congress and our country, I hope Joe Crowley will give all the voters of his district the opportunity to re-elect him in November—and I hope they find his name on their ballots,” he added.