One Man's Judas, Another Man's Purged Moderate


Nothing but worthless Twitter chatter from NY-23, but watching the Obama partisans on MSNBC bemoan the GOP's supposed surrender to the extreme "teabaggers," those who ran a "moderate" Republican like Dede Scozzafava out of the race in a quest for ideological purity, the Stalinists of Frank Rich's fever dreams, are in the very next breath denouncing Joe Lieberman as a Judas figure, a betrayer of progressivism for obstructing a really horrid health care bill. Lieberman is, of course, now an Independent and those who obsess over his supposed betrayal of liberal causes have every right to boo and hiss from the balcony. But the Scozzafava excommunication is, in most important ways, no different. Like Lieberman, she tows the party line on certain issues (gun control, for instance) but offends members of her party that believe, for instance, that support for bailouts and card check are anathema to conservative principles.

But because of Lieberman's willingness to support Republican candidates in the next election cycle, talk show hosts like Rachel Maddow, who is leading the charge against the supposed purging of moderate Republicans by knuckle-dragging teapartiers, hyperventilated that the Senator from Connecticut supported—get this—the moderate Maine Republican Susan Collins! Bipartisanship (or is it post-partisanship?) is when the other guys come to our side, not the other way around.

And one more comment on Sen. Lieberman: I'm an infrequent consumer of cable talk, though it is rather unnerving that I keep finding myself stuck in front of Maddow's MSNBC show, wondering how this awful hack is so frequently praised as a voice of calm, a reasonable liberal rising above the din of all the other cable freakazoids. But is it always this dishonest? Take this example from Friday's show.

MADDOW: That was in addition to Senator Lieberman campaigning against the Democratic nominee for president, which entailed him saying things like this.


ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST:  Is he a Marxist, as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today's "New York Times?"

LIEBERMAN:  Well, you know, I must say that's a good question.

Maddow then says that Lieberman called the president a Marxist. But I remembered this exchange (it was reported by ThinkProgress and…no one else), and Maddow has hacked off part of Napolitano's question and most of Lieberman's answer. Here is the original:

NAPOLITANO: Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today's New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that's a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he's obviously very smart and he's a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I've learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn't…I'd hesitate to say he's a Marxist, but he's got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.

It is unclear if Lieberman thinks it's the elitism or the Marxism bit (or both) that is the "good question," but he politely states that he would "hesitate to say" that he was a commie. Maddow razors out the full response and Judge Napolitano's full question. Check it out, 3:53 in to this clip: