Lieberman the Faithless

McCain and Lieberman embraceThere are things we can all agree upon; the sky is blue, water's wet, zero degrees Fahrenheit is cold, etc. I think another thing we should add to that list is that Joe Lieberman is a horse's ass. That seems like a pretty safe one to me. As Lieberman's fourth term as the junior senator from the state of Connecticut goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer that the voters of that state have made a tremendous mistake. If you guys want a Republican, then elect a Republican, not this wishy-washy, fence-straddling pile of "Look at me!"

And that's Sen. Joe Lieberman in a nutshell; he isn't about good governance or reasoned debate, he's all about Joe Lieberman. It's telling that, when he lost the Democratic primary 2006, he founded the "Connecticut for Lieberman Party" to run as a third party candidate. Lieberman is for Lieberman, even though the party he founded no longer is, and anyone who believes otherwise is ignoring the evidence.

When he ran against his party's nominee in 2006, the Democratic Party forgave him. When he campaigned with John McCain and was on McCain's short list for running mate, the Democratic Party forgave him. When his first act under a new Democratic president was to embrace a wingnut meme and announce he'd launch an investigation into Obama "czars," the Democratic Party forgave him. When he declared he'd join a Republican filibuster over the public option, the Democratic Party forgave him.

It's time to stop forgiving Joe Lieberman. He's useless.

Lieberman's only saving grace is that he's part of the sixty seat super-majority that the Democratic caucus holds in the Senate. This is the supposedly "filibuster-proof" majority and that is all that Joe Lieberman is good for. That is the one and only reason why Democrats keep him around. And he's not even that. This "filibuster-proof" majority has proved to be entirely theoretical -- in part because of Harry Reid's inability to play hardball with members of his own caucus and in part because of Joe Lieberman's serial infidelity. For Joe's part, there's no evidence that he ever plans to knock it off. A political Tiger Woods, Lieberman climbs into whatever bed pleases him. And, unlike Woods, he has shown no shame over this, no contrition, and has made no promises to ever stop. You're the long-suffering wife of a perpetual philanderer, Democrats. It's time you stopped enabling him.

[Ezra Klein, Washington Post:]

The Huffington Post and Roll Call are both reporting that Joe Lieberman notified Harry Reid that he will filibuster health-care reform if the final bill includes an expansion of Medicare. Previously, Lieberman had been cool to the idea, saying he wanted to make sure it wouldn't increase the deficit or harm Medicare's solvency (and previously to that, he supported it as part of the Gore/Lieberman health-care plan). That comforted some observers, as the CBO is expected to say it will do neither. Someone must have given Lieberman a heads-up on that, as he's decided to make his move in advance of the CBO score, the better to ensure the facts of the policy couldn't impede his opposition to it.

Lieberman's opposition here is part political payback for not backing him in 2006 and part that "Look at me!" thing I mentioned earlier. Lieberman has become clownish in his desperation for attention and his moves seem calculated to do nothing but gain it for him and get him face time on Meet the Press or Face the Nation. It's all about Joe Lieberman. He thought expanding Medicare was a great idea once, but now that he has a chance to grab some headlines, it's the worst idea anyone ever had. Fickle and faithless, obviously nihilist, Lieberman routinely jumps the ideological divide not because of any deeply held belief, but to demonstrate that he can.

Josh Marshall puts it well:

What's most telling about Lieberman isn't his positions, which are not that much different from Sen. Nelson's and perhaps Sen. Lincoln's. It's more that he seems to keep upping the ante just when the rest of the caucus thinks they've got a deal.

If it happened once, a misunderstanding might be a credible explanation. But it's happened too many times. Sen. Nelson has driven Dems to distraction on this bill. But his demands have been fairly consistent over time. Lieberman just doesn't seem to be negotiating in good faith. He keeps pulling his caucus to some new compromise, waiting a few days and then saying he can't agree to that either.

As a result, Lieberman is -- as I said above -- useless. Democrats need to stop the self-deception that they have a sixty seat majority, because they clearly don't. We can move forward without Joe Lieberman -- strip him of his committees and fire him from the caucus -- or we can do this again and again and again. We keep finding Joe Lieberman in bed with Republicans because Joe Lieberman likes to be caught in bed with Republicans.

It's not getting anyone anywhere and he's not worth the trouble. Let him sleep with all the Republicans he wants, but not while he's pretending to be a Democrat. He's useless, he's faithless, and he's vain.

There is no reason at all to keep him in the caucus.


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