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November 01, 2008

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"It’s really sort of mindboggling that someone with such horrible political skills has lasted this long."

It seems worth noting that Lieberman, for all his myriad faults, which is an insufficient word, seems pretty much motivated by sincere, if very wrongheaded, beliefs, rather than any sense of gaining political advantage.

And he managed to win re-election despite losing his own party's nomination; he's not that incompetent.

I don't like him at all, but I'm not sure the assumptions of this post are well-founded.

Yes, Lieberman managed to win reelection by lying about his position on the war and on supporting Bush, and now huge numbers of people in Connecticut regret voting for him. So that demonstrated some political skill that he for some reason didn't show earlier.

The difference with Lieberman is that he's a narcissist, much like McCain. They both seriously overestimate their own capabilities and seem to have bought into narratives which cast them as the hero in every story.

Lots of politicians in "safe" districts (or just incumbents in general) do what Lieberman always did -- using their structural advantage to facilitate horse-trading other side. It's not special. Most of the "centrist" in Congress do nothing more than that.

It seems to me that Lieberman's first error was taking his base for granted -- he appears to have thought that he was elected because he's an exceptionally talented politician, but in actuality he was mostly just elected for being run-of-the-mill Democrat.

He then compounded that error by apparently personal umbrage for being called on it. Admitting that he was elected because of his party affiliation rather than his talents would just be too much of an ego blow.

Oops -- lots of typos in that one. Bottom line: Lieberman (like countless other politicians), bought into his own hype -- he was never a talented politician; external factors gave him a secure office and he attributed his success to his own abilities. Changing his position to beat Lamont would have been an admission that he's not a self-made man.

Now that he's burned his bridges so completely, he'll probably leave quietly if he loses or gets kicked out -- at this point he's obviously prepped himself psychologically to blame his fall from grace on radicals hijacking the party. If he joined the GOP he might get to stick it to the Dems one more time, but he wouldn't have any real leverage if he wasn't in the caucus, and the fact of his impotence would be unavoidable.

At some level I'm sure he's aware of that. I'm sure he'll complain to whoever will listen until the day he dies, but I'm guessing that he's also looking for the exit right about now.

At least according to the legend I know of Lieberman, it seems like he's been done in by his success at being the contrarian. Didn't he beat Weicker by running to his right on defense? Then he rose to some stature during the Clinton years, where he famously scolded Clinton from the floor of the Senate and was praised for his willingness to take a stand.

In a way, he reminds me of Republicans who always think the answer to any financial question is to cut the capital gains tax rate. There are times when that's a reasonable solution to a problem, but when you do it every time, you come off as an idiot. Well, being a contrarian is useful at times as well, and it might even work once in a while, but do it every time and you're just a crank. Lieberman never learned that lesson.

Lieberman got elected to the Senate in 1988 (the only Democratic pick-up that year) with a lot of financial backing from William F. Buckley and other movement conservatives who were committed to purging the GOP of its liberal wing, of which Lowell Weicker was a prominent member. Holy Joe distinguished himself from early on as the most enthusiastic cultural warrior among non-Southern Democrats, co-founding (with Lynne Cheney, among others) the Association of Trustees and Alumni.

His greatest success within the Democratic Party largely coincided with the period of most intense Democratic Party self-hatred, between Clinton's impeachment and roughly 2003.

Whether he wants to stay in the Democratic caucus in the Senate should be his decision, but the conditions should be clear: no seniority and no chairmanships.

You don't get to campaign for the other party and then have everyone behave as if it never happened.

After watching the thinning of the Republican ranks, seeing Vinegar Joe stripped of some power will just be sweet, sweet icing on the cake.

motivated by sincere, if very wrongheaded, beliefs, rather than any sense of gaining political advantage

Among those sincerely held beliefs was that he would be picked by McCain to run as Vice President.

When he didn't get that, and as it became clear that the Republicans are going down to a big defeat, he started putting out b.s. last week about how he respected Obama, and flat-out lied about the disrespectful and nasty things he'd said earlier in the campaign.

And, as KC pointed out, he achieved re-election by flat-out lying about his willingness to end the Iraq occupation. Some competence!

No, he's motivated by only one sincere belief: that he's the greatest thing since sliced bread and entitled to deep respect because he's so much more moral than the rest of us.

He's a vain, loathsome scold.

In this sense, its no wonder that Lieberman is so tight with McCain, who was AGAINST Bush when Bush was popular, and FOR him when Bush became vastly unpopular. Good timing, John!

Lieberman is a sincere and genuine ultra-hawk who gets deeply sexually excited at anyone who promises to kill Arabs and Muslims.

what does it say about obama's political savvy that he backed joe against lamont (yes, yes, until the very last millisecond)

what does it say about obama's political savvy that he backed joe against lamont

weren't Obama and Lieberman pretty close, mutual respect and whatnot, back in the day?

Obama did have the good sense to change his mind, though. gotta give him that.

Speaking of scold, Lieberman got his national prominence for breaking ranks and taking Clinton to task for Monica. This was no sudden fit on conscience, it was in line with Joe Lie's long-time alliance with the very most hateful of fringe "family value" operatives. Joe long ago joined ranks not only with the neo-cons, but signed on, literally with the Moral Majoritarians. Joe continues as a board member and prominent front man for Brent Bozell, helping build Bozell's mass mail operation. Bozell's made a killing as well as basked in awards and regularly occupied a chair on talk shows by scolding broadcasters about profanity and bare butts.

Bozell's REAL issue has been how "the gay agenda" is taking over TV. Joe Lie joins nutball Senator Sam Brownback, to give Bozo "bi-partisan" cred to be massively successful at scooping money, via monthly pledges, from the same corps of little old ladies who keep Dobson and Robertson in business. Lieberman is a complicit in an anti-gay money-mill and must be cut loose from any role in the Party starting Wednesday.

It's not at all mind boggling. I used to joke about this, but frankly I am convinced of it now. Joe is working for the Israelis.

Not for something so venal as money. He's an ideological agent of Israel who is convinced that the stances he is taking ion her bejalf are also in the interests of the United States.

Joe's job is not to get elected at all costs. Joe's job is to advance the interests of the state of Israel until such time as his usefulness to them is at an end.

Well...that time is nigh.

I don't quite agree with the McCain support being a bad move. He already knew his Senate career was over. Given that, his best bet was to go all in on McCain and hope for a cabinet-level position.

Joe Lieberman will be given a standing ovation by the Senate Democratic caucus after this election, regardless of the outcome.

he managed to win re-election despite losing his own party's nomination

Lieberman didn't win re-election as a Democrat, though. He lost the Democratic primary and won running as the nominee of the Connecticut for Lieberman party with support from Republicans and independents. Obama supported Lieberman in the primary.

In any organization, there will be people who are incompetent, vain and/and idiotic but will be able to maintain their position even though logic would dictate that they be thrown out on their ears. While the reasons that such people aren't kicked out may vary (union rules, nepotism, stupidity of the electorate), like the poor, they will always with us. But they only become noticed when the organization is under strain. In good times, no one is willing to demand their heads because the psychological cost is too high. But when things are in flux, these people are then found wanting. Lieberman is the perfect example of this.

and/or

more coffee...

Lieberman is like a bad penny. We won't be able to dump him because, once again, the Democrats will need him to get to 60 votes. Say what you will about the guy, but he isn't going anywhere for at least 4 years.

Did you know that a major recession would start this year? Lieberman probably didn't either, and his political decisions would look very different if the economy had not crashed. Note also he's still in the Senate, and still in the Democratic caucus.

It is a big mistake to think that your political opponents are all nitwits. If they don't do what is moral, or what you would do, that does not make them stupid.

I don't understand the bit about the Democratic primary in 2004. Lieberman wasn't running then, was he?

Joe knows exactly what he is doing: nobly sacrificing himself on the alter of Israel. He is the Spartan boy, clutching the fox to his bosom, the Roman falling on his sword. He knows he has made himself a pariah and a bufoon, but he doesn't care. His only interest is Eretz Israel, where those treif Palestinians can be loaded on trains and quietly shipped off to discreet locations. In Poland, perhaps

"His only interest is Eretz Israel, where those treif Palestinians can be loaded on trains and quietly shipped off to discreet locations. In Poland, perhaps"

This seems way over the line to me.

"Joe's job is not to get elected at all costs. Joe's job is to advance the interests of the state of Israel until such time as his usefulness to them is at an end."

I'd also say there's a line between one's misguided stances, and one's "job."

I don't understand the bit about the Democratic primary in 2004. Lieberman wasn't running then, was he?

Oh, yes. You've forgotten 'Joementum'? A term his campaign coined at some point. Back at the very beginning, he was actually leading in polls, when it was all and only about name recognition.

Lieberman was the subject of one of Jon Stewart's best lines ever on the Daily Show.
He was profiling each of the eight or nine candidates with one-liners: "Lieberman is the candidate for people who want someone just like Bush, but... more Jewish." (last bit with strong New York accent)

Arion's and hesiod's comments come off as anti-Semitic to me. At least fifty other Senators have positions on U.S. policy wrt Israel and Palestine indistiguishable from Lieberman's. In his case, however, A. and h. feel free to claim that he is an agent of the Israeli government. That's offensive and unfair.

I don't think that Joe will be needed to get to sixty. Republicans like Susan Collins will have a strong motive after this election to vote with the Deomcrats on major issues. Our problem is more likely to be with Deomcrats like Nelson of Florida whothink they have to vote like Republicans to get re elcted.

Besides, on issues other than Iraq and Iran Joe is a lot more reasonable.

Besides, on issues other than Iraq and Iran Joe is a lot more reasonable.

"The Constitution promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. We are, after all not just another nation, but 'one nation under God.'"

"John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote that our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people... George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion."

Not to mention that he made his name demagoguing Hollywood, video games, Marilyn Manson and Bill Clinton. He belongs on the other side of the aisle with the rest of the theocrats.

I don't think 59 Democrats + Lieberman adds up to 60 reliable votes anyway; maybe he'd continue to vote his conscience if he were dumped, maybe not, but I can't imagine he'd stay in line out of loyalty if they didn't dump him.

Joe Lieberman is a maverick, the Democratic equivalent of John McCain back when McCain was a maverick. The way we felt about McCain (remember back then?) is about how Republicans feel about Lieberman. And how we feel about Lieberman is about how Republicans felt about McCain. The whole McCain campaign has been about mending fences with the vaunted Republican base.

Somehow I don't think Lieberman is going to do the equivalent for the Democratic base, though.

you forgot to mention iran. lieberman is the opposite of everything republican except when it comes to iran.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

These people believe their own hype. They talk to each other at their cocktail parties, and create their own realities.

Remember the McCain campaign's delusional spring Powerpoint, the one showing all the swing states they were going to win?

They seriously thought Lieberman was going to deliver Connecticut for them.

Lieberman thought he was going to be VP. From all reports, he nearly was - the only man in history to run as VP as the nominee of two different parties! Now, there's something to tell your grandchildren...

True, he hitched his horse to a sinking ship, to mix a metaphor. But at least his delusions do make a little bit of internally consistent (and batshit insane) sense...

Lieberman, for all his myriad faults, which is an insufficient word, seems pretty much motivated by sincere, if very wrongheaded, beliefs, rather than any sense of gaining political advantage.

As a pragmatist (well, actually I think I'm a moralist deep down, who believes it's immoral not to be a pragmatist - it's complex or maybe I'm just confused) I much prefer politicians who are motivated by political or even personal gain to politicians who are motivated by deeply held, but wrongheaded ideas. The former can be dealt with quite easily in most cases using the common political horse-trading, the latter, however, strike me as genuinely dangerous.

What on earth would the Dems gain by letting Lieberman retain his rank on committees after he actively campaigned for the Republican Presidential nominee and clearly was ready and eager to run as a Republican VP?

What evidence is there that they could depend on Lieberman to cast the 60th vote needed to stop a filibuster? Lieberman will go his own way on critical votes whether or not he's part of the Democratic caucus. Opinions may vary as to whether the motive for this "mavericky" behavior is conscience or self-interest. But what do Lieberman's motives matter? The bottom line is that any party that counts Lieberman as the 60th vote in a filibuster-proof majority is heading for a huge disappointment.

"Anything that hampers Mossad agent Lieberman is a boon for America."

See, this also seems over that line to me.

I've seen exactly two people move against the poltical grain that strongly in the past four years: Joe Lieberman and Moe Lane. Have you ever seen them in a room together?

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