A column from the Connecticut Post. I swear I didn’t write this:
Dear Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.:
How time flies when you’re having as much fun as you guys do down there in Cherry Blossomville. Right?
I’ll bet it seems like yesterday you were running for re-election to your third U.S. Senate term representing this great state. Remember how you stood at the top of the escalator in that big Milford mall doling out handshakes and smiles to each and every shopper rising toward JC Penney’s? No? Well, take it from me, you did.
Now here you go again: out to the malls and diners in ought 6 to stump for another six.
Just so you’ll know, more than a few Connecticut voters (no, not the worshippers who fawn over you at the diner meet ‘n’ greets) have been wondering whether you’ll run as a Democrat or Republican this time around.
Now don’t get all defensive, Joe. Even you have to admit that some of your actions over the last six years were decidedly not "capital D" Democratic.
There was the whole censorship thing, and you didn’t exactly tow the party line when you came out for putting the tube back into Terri Schiavo.
But it was your spirited defense of Don Rumsfeld the other day on the treatment of terrorist suspects detained by the US that really stirred the pot.
Adm. Albert Church told your Senate Armed Services Committee that he’d found 70 solid cases of abuse by U.S. personnel against suspected terrorist detainees held in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and God knows where else.
In response, you toadied up to Rummy, who seems to think that making somebody stand up for 48 hours is not torture. You pointed out that since there are more than 50,000 suspected terrorists held in those places, 70 cases means only one-tenth of one percent of the detainees allegedly has been abused.
Am I wrong, or shouldn’t one case of abuse be something to be very ashamed of?
Next you made some kind of wishy-washy remark about how abuse charges have to be put into "the proper perspective."
I don’t know, but since abuse is sometimes code for torture, it’s hard to find a perspective that’s not plain ugly.
It’s moments like that Rumsfeld defense that causes certain unnamed powerful world leaders to put a lip-lock on you in front of a roomful of your peers.
On the off chance you don’t run, or, God forbid, lose the election, at least you’ll have your wife Hadassah’s check to fall back on. That lobbying — I mean public relations — job she got for the big pharmaceutical companies can’t exactly pay chump change.
Still, you’re going to have to be careful how you vote on bills for things like allowing people to buy the cheap drugs from Canada, and getting the Food & Drug Administration to do a better job of checking out bogus remedies like Vioxx before putting them in the stores.
Can you spell r-e-c-u-s-e?
One way to look at your somewhat un-Democratic behavior of late is to trot out that old line about you not being a slave to the party line.
But if you check the congressional report cards the special interest groups compile based on senators’ and representatives’ voting records, that line sags. You emerge a mild liberal. Or at least a solid middle-of-the-road Demo.
According to Project Vote Smart, a Web site that compiles the special interest groups’ ratings, over the last two years, conservative organizations say you voted their way a mere 11.5 percent (average) of the time. Meanwhile, the liberal special interest groups say you voted their way an average of 65 percent of the time.
The environmentalists love, well, like you. The Sierra Club gave you a 100 percent for 2004 votes.
The gun folks hate, well, dislike you. The NRA gave you a goose egg for last year’s votes.
And you’re aces with the health special interest groups, although this could be a problem with the Hadassah thing.
Anyway, Senator, maybe your votes in the next year will clear up your status. As far as I know that mall escalator is still running — up and down.
Kudos to columnist Charles Walsh. I find his tone to be both online-friendly and Lieberman-appropriate.
(graphic courtesy Jesus’ General)
(graphic courtesy Jesus’ General)