It’s rather fascinating that so many folks are up in arms about Rep. Peter King’s hearing on radicalization of American-born Muslims, when the Senate committee with the roughly equivalent jurisdiction held a hearing on Fort Hood that dealt quite a bit with the same topic. Those hearings and the report they generated were largely ignored.
Joe Lieberman, of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, unveils the committee’s conclusions here:
Despite the remarkable work of America’s military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies in preventing individual terrorist attacks, the ideology that inspired 9/11 and other attacks and plots around the world continues to motivate individuals to commit terrorism. The threat is exemplified by Omar Hammami, an American from a typical upbringing in Alabama who now fights for the violent lslamist extremist group al-Shabaab in Somalia and recruits Westerners to its cause in English over the internet. As Hammami said, “they can’ t blame it on poverty or any of that stuff . . . They will have to realize that it’s an ideology and it’s a way of life that makes people change.” . . .
The Committee’s 2008 staff report concluded that the threat of homegrown terrorism inspired by violent Islamist extremist ideology would increase due to the focused online efforts of that ideology’s adherents and how individuals were using the internet to access this propaganda. Indeed, the incidence of homegrown terrorism has increased significantly in the past two years as compared to the years since 9/ 11. From May 2009 to November 2010, there were 22 different homegrown plots, contrasted with 21 such plots from September 2001 to May 2009 . . .
Proceeding in the radicalization process from the level of Self-Identification to the levels of Indoctrination and Violence has been made easier by “virtual spiritual sanctioners.’’ These individuals provide a false sense of religious justification for an act of terrorism over the internet. Though many individuals around the globe have become purveyors of violent Islamist extremism, a foremost example of a “virtual spiritual sanctioner” is Anwar al-Aulaqi, a U.S.citizen now operating from Yemen. In 2008 , then-Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Charlie Allen stated publicly, “Another example of al-Qaeda reach into the Homeland is U.S. citizen, al Qaeda supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11th hijackers Anwar al-Aulaqi — who targets U.S. Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen.”
It seems the options for government investigations in this topic are either to be ignored or to be demonized.
The buzz this afternoon is that Joe Lieberman will not run for another term. Now Drudge is pointing to this report, indicating the decision is “no.”
If so, it marks the end of a long, wild, and varied career. In summer 2008, John McCain wanted to make Lieberman his running mate, which would have made Lieberman the veep choice for two presidential candidates in two separate parties within eight years (the other being Al Gore in 2000). Just think, had McCain made that decision, Sarah Palin would probably be just a rising-star governor little known outside of political junkies . . .
An internal poll conducted for the nascent campaign of former Conn. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) shows her narrowly ahead in Democratic primary matchups and three-way general election contests against incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) and the two GOP statewide nominees last year.The poll, conducted in mid-December, well before Bysiewicz announced her candidacy, shows Bysiewicz leading a three-way matchup with Lieberman and 2010 Senate nominee Linda McMahon (R), 34 percent to 30 percent to 28 percent. If 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley (R) is the GOP nominee, Bysiewicz leads, 33 percent to 29 percent to 27 percent. While Bysiewicz can claim leads in both matchups, the close margins indicate that a three-way contest could be anyone’s race.
But there are still many developments in the race to come. Lieberman has yet to say whether he’ll seek re-election, for one. If he decides against it, Bysiewicz would start the race with a more decisive lead over McMahon. In her poll, she led McMahon 54 percent to 36 percent.
Republicans and those who find Joe Lieberman insufficiently conservative should hope for another independent bid by the incumbent. Winning a plurality in a hard-fought three-way race is a lot easier than winning a majority in this blue state.
I think a lot of Connecticut Republicans ended up impressed with Linda McMahon as a Senate candidate; her effort ended up to be a lot more than a well-funded celebrity vanity campaign. She lost by 12 percentage points, but that gap started as high as 30 to 40 points in some polls.
Her 498,341 votes were the most for a Republican in a Senate race since Lowell Weicker in 1988, and she forced the DSCC to commit nearly $2 million in funds in this state. Joe Lieberman, the independent-who-caucuses-with-Democrats, is up for reelection in 2012.
In case anyone thought Linda McMahon’s political aspirations had been quenched by her $50 million losing bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010, this ought to clarify things: The former head of World Wrestling Entertainment will travel to Washington to meet with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn.
“I don’t know what her message is going to be, but I sort of suspect she isn’t finished,” Cornyn told Roll Call, which broke the story.
Would Connecticut Republicans even want another six years of Joe Lieberman? They may have embraced him in 2006 against vehemently antiwar Democrat Ned Lamont when their own nominee was a long-shot also-ran, but that was a stimulus, a TARP, and an Obamacare ago. Republicans are in a different mood now, and the issue matrix motivating the public has changed.
Considering how many were willing to embrace Linda McMahon, how many of Connecticut’s GOP primary voters would prefer a genuine Republican, and urge Lieberman to hang up his hat after a long and distinguished career? (Lieberman is 68.) Politico contends that if Lieberman is on the ballot in 2012, it will be with the GOP:
Joe Lieberman essentially has two options for 2012: Retire or become a Republican. The Connecticut senator and Democratic exile hasn’t made up his mind whether to seek a fifth term, Lieberman and those close to him say. But if he does, the GOP ticket appears to offer his best shot at reelection.
Lieberman recently told POLITICO he hasn’t yet decided whether to retire or run as an independent, a Democrat or a Republican. “All those options are still alive,” he said. In private conversations, too, Lieberman is openly considering all the possibilities, said John Droney, a longtime Lieberman ally and confidant who spoke to the senator recently. “He thinks he can still serve the people of Connecticut. The question is how,” said Droney, a former state Democratic chairman. “It’s the politics that’s in his way, not the people.”
If Lieberman is going to switch parties, probably better to do it sooner rather than later.
Someone asked how Crist’s departure from his party compared to Lieberman’s in 2006. My first thought is that while there are similarities, Lieberman had a stronger case that the state as a whole liked him even if a slim majority of the primary voters didn’t; Joe-mentum won 48 percent in the primary and then went on to win 49.7 percent in a three-way race.
By contrast, Floridians are not clamoring for Charlie Crist to be their next senator, no matter how you slice the salami. Crist is averaging 28.9 percent in the GOP primary and 27.8 percent in a three-way race.
Another key difference: As far as I can tell, Joe Lieberman never pledged to not run as an independent, as Charlie Crist did a month ago on Fox News Sunday.