Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Shoe Fits, Joe...Run as a Republican

I wish I knew exactly what it is about Joe Lieberman that makes me virtually rabid. About two years ago I blogged several biting posts about why I felt he had to go, and I'm still not sure what's at the center of my dislike for him. It's a visceral thing. I watched him on the Sunday Morning chat shows and wanted to punch the TV, I read his statements in the papers and couldn't believe he called himself a Democrat, and I felt my blood boil when he embraced the President (W actually kissed him) after the highly divisive 2005 State of the Union address (the one in which he outlined his doomed plans for dismantling Social Security). In case you missed that moment of mutual admiration, The Washington Post described its possible meaning this way:

Romance is in the air today across the land. But in Washington, the buzz continues about "The Kiss." No, not Gustav Klimt's famous painting. It's the big fat one an exuberant President Bush planted on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's right cheek as he waded through the Capitol crowd after the State of the Union a couple of weeks ago.

The Connecticut Democrat said he didn't mind it and thought Bush was thanking him for his support of the administration's foreign policy. Or maybe it was for Lieberman's not dismissing outright Bush's Social Security proposal.

Or maybe it was something else. There's been K Street chatter, our colleague Jeffrey H. Birnbaum tells us, that Lieberman could be on an administration list to replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the next year or so.
Now it should be noted that Lieberman would have been very hard pressed indeed to be a worse DefSec than Rumsfeld, and wanting to work with the opposition is a praiseworthy trait in a politician in my opinion, but somehow Joe took it all too far. Even though I can't say exactly how, I strongly feel he abandoned those of us who enthusiastically supported him in his bid for the Vice President...he sold us out (for something far short of 30 pieces of silver, he must be thinking this morning).

In his "concession" speech last night (in case you missed it, he was
beaten in the Democratic primary by neophite Ned Lamont but plans to keep running as an Independent) , the 3-term Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate made it clear that he values his own agenda more than he does the unity of his party:

The senator said he was staying in the race because Mr. Lamont had run a primary campaign of “insults” and “partisan polarizing” that relentlessly blamed Mr. Lieberman for President Bush’s wartime policies, which the senator has supported and defended but also criticized at various points.

“For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot, I will not let this result stand,” Mr. Lieberman said of the Lamont victory.
This might be the first time in history a candidate blamed "partisan" politics for his loss in a primary. Of course, we're supposed to understand that he means Lamont won by associating Lieberman with the incredibly unpopular president, but how many other Democratic Senators can you say that about (and face it, Bush is unpopular for a reason).

Joe went out of his way to ingratiate himself with the Administration, IMO, and well, if the shoe fits, it's disingenuous of him to pretend he's been forced to go shoeless. As
Sullivan noted this morning, on foreign policy issues Joe is stunningly to the right of some staunch conservatives:
And it's worth recalling: many Republicans have been more critical of the Bush administration's war decisions than Lieberman. Lieberman is to George Will's and Bill Buckley's and Chuck Hagel's and Bill Kristol's right on this. His position that any criticism of a president is inappropriate in wartime is also simply Hewittian in its proneness.
So now Joe's running as an Independent, carving out for himself a niche in the extremes of red v. blue politics. One of imagined importance though. Yes, Joe has earned the right to declare himself a moderate on many social issues, but no more so than Guiliani or Bloomberg, so rather than run as an Independent, I don't see why he doesn't just run as a Republican. They keep talking about how they're the big tent party with room for everyone. Ditch the niche and make the switch, Joe. The GOP is running Schlesinger, whose only prayer of winning is if you split the Dems, which running as an Independent you may just do, so your choice is really clear here. If by not dropping out here you're ensuring that Connecticut sends a Republican to the Senate, it might as well be yourself, no?


Blogger Minerva Jane said...

I have incredibly visceral reactions to politicians, too--not only Lieberman, but Bush. Insightful post. Thanks. (4 of 20)

8/09/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have occasionally had the fantasy that all the people who turned the Democratic Party into a shadowy slave of the Republican party would get upset with the progressive movement and switch the the Republican party. There, they could displace some of the more rabid fringe people, moving that party's legislative center of gravity far enough away from the lunatic fringe that someone like Attilla the Hun might be happy there. Another outcome would be that they would be a force to be reconned with, but that the Republican party has grown brittle, and its sudden expansion would cause it to crack and fragment.

Whether either scenario would necessarily be better for the Democratic party as an institution remains to be seen. But certainly a number of the outcomes might possibly benefit Democratic ideals

8/09/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Ditch the niche and make the switch, Joe.

I think you just wrote a winning Lamont slogan.

Think of the Democratic party since Clinton -- what a lost, misdirected, ineffective and meandering party it's been. The examples are too numerous to mention.

Well, now we have a clear directive. If Dean clues up to it -- I say the odds are break-even he will -- the party could have some powerful direction now. This is a win that could begin a movement that carries us into 2008 and frees America from the neocon menace.

Now, here at this decisive moment for the Democratic Party and for America, Lieberman wants to play the old-school ego-driven politics of confusion. He's even hallucinated a band of ne'er-do-wells who have somehow taken over the Dems, and he's vowed to take the party back.

If he gets his way, he'll manage to keep the Democratic Party confused, ineffective and out of power.

What a worthless schmuck.

8/09/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Artist Extraordinaire said...

I think Joe Lieberman is creepy because of his voice. It is an interesting voice to listen to, but not one that instills faith or trust.

Joe Lieberman (and isn't Lieberman German for Love-Man) OK I google translated it and it translates into "rather man" maybe as in rather be a Republican.

So anyway, the biggest reason Joe Lieberman probably pisses you off is that he looks EXACTLY like Sen. Palpatine from the new Star Wars. And thin about it. Sen. P. claimed to be helping out his people and avoiding war, but was really selling them out and literally had gone to "the Dark Side"

8/09/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edward, I have previously read on your blog - "PLEASE DO NOT POST ANY POLITICAL COMMENT ON THIS BLOG.THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO ART.AND AS SUCH, IT VOMITS ON ANYTHING CALLED POLITICS." - and I always appreciated that artcentric focus. I guess this is no longer the case huh??

8/09/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


That was a quote from the blog of a Lebanese artist, not my own words. This blog remains mostly about art, but as the banner at the top advertizes, it's about politics, gossip, and tough love too.

As I noted a few post backs, I'm writing a bit more about politics through the summer because the art world is on vacation (and because it feels good to get such things off my chest every now and then).

Sorry if that's unattractive.

8/09/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

"Four score and seven years ago..."

Edward, I thought I'd post that on your site, and see if anybody attributes the quote to you :)

8/09/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous jec said...

This is a great day. I'm right now watching a press conference of CT Dems on CSPAN and they REALLY get that the midterms are about taking a strong stand against the Bush/Republican agenda. It wasn't just the Lamont win that proved it, it was the voter turnout--50% is unprecedented in a mid-term primary. The VA primary a few weeks ago had a turnout of about 4%.

Big changes are afoot. I'm hoping that the Dem enthusiasm of this morning will also translate into efforts to get Joe to give up his bid. The party of "Joe" isn't going to help anyone.

8/09/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Good post, and I have a lot of friends who feel sketchy about leiberman and they don't get it either.

I really am enjoying your political posts Edward, they are educating this Canadian gal. In Canada we don't hold our politicians on pedestals in fact we tend to roast them and tease them a lot. If they make a "wrong turn" they are hoisted usually.

8/09/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/09/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

I far prefer Lamont to Leiberman myself but aren't you guys worried Lamont's run is going to end up costing the democrats a desperately needed senate seat?

I know it's Leiberman's own horrid decision to run as an independent, but without lamont's run we'd have a solidly electable democrat with 90% approval ratings by all the fill-in-the-blank progressive groups for the foreseeable future and I can't help wondering if we're going to regret this (Nader 2000 anyone?).....

I hope that this is the beginning of a powerful progressive march to the midterms, but I fear it may just be another manifestation of the democratic death-wish.

8/09/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

duhhhh sorry I can't even spell Lieberman's name!

8/09/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

This Broad said: ... aren't you guys worried Lamont's run is going to end up costing the democrats a desperately needed senate seat?

Not really. CW is that Lieberman will lose more and more support over the coming weeks, and will either drop out, be pushed out, or just be terribly weakened. The Republican candidate has a whopping 9% right now, and if Lieberman were to stay in, he might gobble a small amount of that. I don't think a Republican pickup is a real concern.

8/09/2006 08:39:00 PM  

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