Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Was It Appropriate For Lieberman To Speak?

Apparently the Democrats have indicated that, while they understood Joe Lieberman was speaking at the Republican Convention, they felt he went too far with his attacks on Barack Obama. It is a fascinating dynamic.

First off, I am not sure what the Democrats were expecting from Lieberman. This is a convention and convention speeches, by their very nature, tend to be attack speeches. Certainly Lieberman made no secret of his respect and admiration for his friend, John McCain.

Yes, Lieberman was the VP candidate for the Democrats in 2000 as Al Gore picked him as his running mate. However, since that time, Lieberman lost a primary to another Democrat but ran in the general election as an independent. Running as an independent, Lieberman won. Still, while be an independent, he does caucus with the Dems.

Did Lieberman, as a result, owe it to the Democrats, the party that nominated him for the second highest office in the United States, not to speak at the convention? Doesn’t a person have the right to publically endorse anyone he or she wants? Doesn’t the constitution grant us Freedom of Speech? Still, why it certainly was legal, was it ethical and/or appropriate? I suggest that is for you to decide but I would expect that more Republican would respond he was ethical while Democrats would say he acted inappropriately.

Personally, I do not find Lieberman to be a particularly riveting speaker. Still, to the convention crowd, he was riveting and to those watching at home, it was more the fact that he was saying these things as opposed to how he said it, or even exactly what he said.

That, than, leaves us with the question, will the Democrats take action against him and is it appropriate. The Democrats could certainly tell Lieberman that he can no longer caucus with them. After all, he is an independent who ran against, and beat, a Democrat in a general election and has no publically supported a Republican. One could even claim that this is not retaliation, just bringing things to where they should be.

Regardless of what happens, I am guessing some people are not going to be happy. Again, considering that I deal with the ethics of public speaking, this fits right in. What ethical responsibilities did Joe Lieberman have or not have in regard to speaking at the convention and what ethical responsibilities, if any, are the Democrats bound by?

I love politics. Aren’t they great?