He’s the least popular man in the Senate with the public: only 24% of Connecticut voters say they’d vote for him again. His sheer bottom-scraping numbers are causing likely opponents to drool at the thought of challenging him. But in the House of Lords, they love him. Politico reports “Senior Democrats” are urging Joe Lieberman to run again:
Along with other senior Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quietly urging the Connecticut lawmaker to run for a fifth Senate term in 2012 — and to stick with the Democratic side of the aisle.
He became even more alienated from his former party when he backed Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. And it didn’t help his relationship with the left when he announced his opposition to the public option in the health care bill, even though he ultimately backed the plan that cleared Congress.
But while Lieberman has aligned with Republicans on national security, he’s maintained a fairly liberal voting record on other domestic issues – and he’s now leading the fight for gays to serve openly in the military – so he would be one of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate if he switched parties.
Blah blah, Joe sucks, blah blah. I’ve written it a hundred times, fill in the blanks with your favorite “I hate Joe Lieberman” story.
But please tell me nobody fell for the DADT flim-flam. Joe Lieberman works for the Department of Defense. They did not want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed. The surest sign of that was when James Amos, Obama’s pick to lead the Marine Corps, said he opposed repealing DADT now. He would never have done that to his Commander in Chief without permission. It was an unmistakeable dog whistle to anyone who knew what they were listening for: the White House did not want this. And, clearly they don’t. Obama has the authority to make it happen if he wants. And you don’t see him waving that Presidential pen around, looking for a signing statement.
And so Lieberman was picked to run the show in the Senate. Know why so many Republicans piped up and said they’d support ending DADT? ‘Cos they knew they’d never have to take a vote. Lieberman put on a fine show, replete with press conferences and breathless announcements, then he and Susan Collins went through a superb theatrical moment as the whole thing melted down in “procedural issues” (cough).
It’s Harry Reid’s specialty.
I wanted to be wrong this time, to think there was a piece of decency in the guy, but it was a pretty sure signal that the whole thing was going to explode when Lieberman was designated to run point. Obama never reached out to Joe Manchin at any time (the one Democratic “no” vote), which one assumes he would have done if they were actually serious about passing it.
Lieberman is no hero, and he’s not going to champion DADT repeal through the Senate. Please don’t kick that football. You’ll be stuck in the trap of the Senate procedural flim-flam until you realize that the Senate Majority Leader has all kinds of tricks at his disposal that he uses to get what he wants, especially if he’s got the votes. He got what he wanted. Lieberman was just the half-time show, there to make sure everyone thought they might actually get something — before he stuck it to the liberals once again.