Campaigns/Elections

In Search of Joe Lieberman's Conscience

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This morning my celebratory San Francisco Values breakfast of discounted Rice-a-Roni and broken Ghiardelli chocolate bars was almost ruined by the news of that Joe Lieberman had retained his Senate seat. Lieberman would be annoying enough if all he did was hook arms with Bill Bennett to wag his finger at the American public over their appalling taste in movies, music, and video games. But for someone who is supposedly a stand-up guy of high moral character, he has been awfully quick to betray his president, his principles, and his party for his own self-aggrandizement.

Lieberman's rebuke to Bill Clinton in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal was true to form in its sanctimony but understandably earned him the enmity of Democrats who were just as dismayed at Clinton's recklessness but thought Lieberman's grandstanding only helped the Republicans and the senator's own political aspirations. As I noted back in 2000, Lieberman quickly moved left when Al Gore picked him as his running mate, dropping all the inconvenient positions that had made him stand out in a party dominated by identity politics and public employee labor unions. And when he lost the Democratic primary last summer, instead of accepting his defeat with good grace, he started a Connecticut for Lieberman party because he knew the state could not afford to lose him. Now he may hold the balance of power in the Senate, an ideal position for a self-described "very independent Democrat" who mistakes ambition for rectitude.

"I will go to Washington beholden to no political group, but only to the people of Connecticut and my conscience," Lieberman told his supporters last night. There is something to be said for putting principles above party loyalty, and for smoothing over differences to help your team win if you honestly believe the other side is worse. But Lieberman's shows of independence and  his compromises always seem timed to advance nothing but his career. There is a difference between courage and chutzpah.

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  1. When he says that he’ll be “beholden” to the people of CT, I’m pretty sure that he’s referring to his uncanny ability to funnel billions of federal pork dollaz their way.

    As for his “conscience”, I guess said conscience doesn’t lose any sleep over stealing money from people in other states and forking it over to your own. If this is indicative of Lieberman’s conscience, which I believe it is, then he can take his “beholden to no political group” and shove it far up his tight puritan asshole. Thought he may not be beholden to the dems, he’s sure as shit “beholden” to funneling pork to his homestate and forcing his puritan social agenda on the country as a whole. He can go to hell.

  2. I find it funny that Joe is arguably the most successful candidate not affiliated with either major party in this election, yet he ran almost exclusively (at least through the commercials he ran at the station I work at) on the platform of bringing the two parties together.
    Even though his party didn’t want him, he still knows what’s best for them.

  3. As to Liebermania, here’s my question: is it actually possible to have a cult of personality when said person appears to have no personality? I mean, at least Kim Jong Il has that amazing hair and snappy outfits going for him, not to mention the million-man army.

  4. is it actually possible to have a cult of personality when said person appears to have no personality?

    It is if said person carries a fat wallet.

  5. Jacob,

    Wow, did you consider the possiblity that his rebuke of Clinton was sincere? And aren’t you veering awfully close to Malkin/Coulter territory by equating his criticism of the president with “betrayal”?

  6. Wow, did you consider the possiblity that his rebuke of Clinton was sincere? And aren’t you veering awfully close to Malkin/Coulter territory by equating his criticism of the president with “betrayal”?

    I think the real problem is thinking that any of these bastards could be sincere enough that any of their actions should be considered betrayal.

  7. Funny thing about Lieberman and the Monica scandal. He was just full of moralistic bullshit when doing the talkin’, but when it came time to do the votin’, he stayed firmly on the reservation. Seems to sum up the man pretty well, I’d say.

  8. I thought the San Francisco breakfast was sodomy, socialism and surrender.

    You wanted Lamont to win? Yikes. I didn’t realize you were a socialist.

  9. Considering Lamont’s background as a businessman, I’m surprised he doesn’t get more credit from you so-called Libertarians.

  10. “very independent Democrat” who mistakes ambition for rectitude.

    Dude, you just described every career politician. Ever.

  11. When he says that he’ll be “beholden” to the people of CT, I’m pretty sure that he’s referring to his uncanny ability to funnel billions of federal pork dollaz their way.

    In 2004, CT got about $.66 back from the Fed Gov’t for every dollar paid in taxes – the lowest rate in the country. Just to establish the range, New Mexico’s was the highest among the states at $2.00. DC’s number is $6.64, but it’s a special case as the seat of the government.

    There are lots of bad things to say about Joementum, but he hasn’t been much of a success in getting Federal spending directed to CT. I’ll pass on accusing him of obtaining “pork” for obvious reasons.

  12. grumpy realist

    “Considering Lamont’s background as a businessman, I’m surprised he doesn’t get more credit from you so-called Libertarians.”

    Right. Kenneth Lay was also a ‘businessman’. Are you suggesting we should – ‘give him credit’ doesn’t seem the right term here – respect him?

  13. I hope Webb wins Virginia and the GOP convinces Lieberman to Caucus with them, giving them the tie-breaker vote w/ Cheney. That would be hilarious.

  14. Grumpy,

    Many “businessmen” are dyed-in-the-wool socialists, and many more of them are living on the government teat as corporate welfare queens. Do not presume that anyone who makes a pile of cash cares about freedom. Hell, just look at that Cuban billionaire who likes to dress up in a soldier suit, even at his age!

    -jcr

  15. I’ll go back here into what I blogged back a couple days ago, but it got swept away too quick by Hit & Run’s appropriately named format, with the rush of election day stuff.

    If the US senate Dems consider Lieberman one of their own, what will they be saying to the Democratic Party of Conn.?

    What will become of Connecticut for Lieberman as a party or at least a hollow ballot line? Weicker didn’t walk away from A Connecticut Party, although it did fall apart after a few years. If Conn. election law allows a party to change its name, it would serve them right for Lamont Democrats to take over Conn. for Lieberman and change its name to something they like better. Come to think of it, Republicans who didn’t like the dissing Schlesinger got by the GOP could take it over too.

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