Lieberman Calling It Quits

The day has come for Holy Joe, and he's throwing in the towel and retiring:

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman will announce on Wednesday that he will not seek a fifth term, according to a person he told of his decision.

Mr. Lieberman, whose term is up in 2012, chose to retire rather than risk being defeated, said the person, who spoke to the senator on Tuesday. “I don’t think he wanted to go out feet first,” the person said.

A longtime Democrat who lost a bitter primary battle to Ned Lamont in 2006, Mr. Lieberman won re-election as an independent that year, largely benefiting from a weak showing by the Republican candidate, who received less than 10 percent of the vote.

But Linda McMahon, the wealthy pro-wrestling tycoon who spent $50 million on an unsuccessful Senate race last year, has already signaled she may run again in 2012. Aides to Mr. Lieberman were in Stamford late Tuesday making preparations for his announcement on Wednesday.

All I can say is: good riddance. One of the few positive events to come out of Lieberman's tenure was that the liberal blogosphere emerged as a force in politics after we defeated him in the Democratic primary in 2006. He was forced to become an Independent if he wanted to continue, and was lucky that Republicans backed him, because he was a war-hawk they couldn't afford to lose. We can be grateful that Joe helped to get DADT repealed, which is a great thing, and we can castigate Lieberman for cutting out the possible expansion of Medicare to the age of 50 during the health-care debate because he was a mean man old man.

In the above video ,President Lieberman gutted medicare expansion from health-care reform, but in the video below he was actually for it just three months earlier.

What would David Broder say about that?

In this vid, Lieberman appeared to go further than the current Senate deal, which would expand Medicare to those aged 55-64, saying he supported the idea of expanding it to people aged 50 and over. Lieberman referenced his proposal along these lines during the 2006 campaign, and added:

“My proposals were to basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid…

“When it came to Medicare I was very focused on a group — post 50, maybe more like post 55. People who have retired early, or unfortunately have been laid off early, who lose their health insurance and they’re too young to qualify for Medicare.

“What I was proposing was that they have an option to buy into Medicare early and again on the premise that that would be less expensive than the enormous cost. If you’re 55 or 60 and you’re without health insurance and you go in to try to buy it, because you’re older … you’re rated as a risk so you pay a lot of money.”

It’s not entirely clear that Lieberman was offering a full-throated current endorsement of the proposal, but his tone is clearly positive and approving. It’s yet another sign, as if you needed one, that Lieberman’s current opposition to the Senate proposal doesn’t appear to have any roots in a genuine policy disagreement.

This might be the last we see of Lieberman in the Senate, but it certainly won't be the last we see of him. Joe is a Village favorite, and no doubt we'll be seeing lots more of him, notably on the Village TV gabfests. Especially when the subject is war and torture -- his specialties.


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