Joe Lieberman is not entitled to a do-over in Connecticut. There is no mulligan in politics.
And the fact that he apparently feels that he is entitled to one says everything you need to know about the empty, egomaniacal husk of a man that Lieberman has become -- holing up in his hotel room and refusing to talk to long-time political friends who are trying to talk sense to a man who is besmirching whatever political legacy he may still have by pushing forward the "Lieberman for Lieberman" ego parade.
No one likes a whiny, poor sport and a turncoat, Joe. No one.
According to the AP this morning, Joe Lieberman feels like a liberated loser -- and he can now be himself. The man is an eighteen year veteran of the Senate, he is 64 years of age, he lost the Democratic primary, he's decided to thumb his nose at the Democratic voters of Connecticut...and he says that this independent run gives him "the freedom to be more like himself in the election."
Well, who in the hell has he been for the last 64 years?
Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, said he called Lieberman on primary night and wished him well, although he denied offering the senator help in the election's final hours.
"I called him, he's a personal friend, and I called him Tuesday afternoon, five o'clock thereabout, and wished him well on his election that night," Rove told reporters traveling with the president to Wisconsin. "It was a personal call."
Apparently, he's been a pal of Karl Rove. Don't get me wrong, bi-partisanship can be a good thing, so long as in the negotiations you get as much as you give, and there is a true bi-partisan spirit to the bargaining. But the word bi-partisan does not mean "hand over the loot and no one gets hurt." Joe Lieberman lost the plot on that one a long, long time ago.
Lieberman has also been good pals with Dick Cheney. They had a cordial debate in the 2000 campaign, and as the above photo shows, have pledged to work together (read: Lieberman agreed to roll over at Cheney's asking) on a number of issues from the very start of the Bush/Cheney presidency.
“If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,” Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event in Waterbury, Conn. “It will strengthen them, and they will strike again.”...
Mr. Lamont denounced Mr. Lieberman’s remarks, and some other Democrats and political analysts questioned the senator’s use of a national security hazard to buttress a political attack, especially against another Democrat.
Yet Mr. Lieberman has accused Mr. Lamont of distorting the senator’s record on Iraq, and the Connecticut race has turned into an increasingly bitter fight between two Democrats over issues of war and national security.
In a telephone interview yesterday from his vacation home in Maine, Mr. Lamont said he was disappointed by Mr. Lieberman’s tone, and he questioned whether the war in Iraq had any bearing on terrorists’ designs on Western nations. Mr. Lamont also hit back by again connecting Mr. Lieberman to President Bush, whose war plans he has endorsed at times.
“Wow,” Mr. Lamont said, after twice asking a reporter to read Mr. Lieberman’s remark about him. “That comment sounds an awful lot like Vice President Cheney’s comment on Wednesday. Both of them believe our invasion of Iraq has a lot to do with 9/11. That’s a false premise.”
Wow, facts. Novel approach, and how refreshing from Ned Lamont. Lieberman and Cheney are so close, they apparently share messaging advisors. Sweet.
Again, I'm all for cordiality and a real discussion of the issues. But that does not mean that you just agree to whatever the other side wants from you so that they will continue to like you and stroke your ego.
America wants a change. The people of Connecticut spoke to that last Tuesday -- where not only Democrats, but record numbers of independent voters and Republicans registered as Democrats to be able to vote in the primary -- against Joe Lieberman and his propping up of George Bush, Dick Cheney and their failed policies and Rubber Stamp Republican Congress.
E.J. Dionne hits that nail right on the head today:
...Speaking in Cleveland, Mehlman couldn't resist starting with a little old-fashioned redbaiting. He explained Ronald Reagan's defection from the Democratic Party this way: "He saw the beginning of the end, as a party that had vowed to fight communism became a party that set itself against those who fought communism." Ah, yes, the party of Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale was nothing but a bunch of anti-anti-communists.
From there it was an easy leap to saying a Democratic Party -- cleverly renamed the "Defeat-ocrat Party" by the RNC chairman -- "that once stood for strength now stands for retreat and defeat." Translation: Anyone who dares question our botched approach is in favor of surrender....
And if being against the Iraq war makes you "extreme left," then the administration has succeeded in pushing 60 percent of Americans into that camp. That's the proportion opposed to the war in the new CNN poll.
When he announced he was running as an independent, Lieberman issued a ringing condemnation of "petty partisanship and angry vitriol." He denounced those who offered "insults instead of ideas" and said the purpose of politics is "to lift up, not to tear down." True, and there could hardly be any more offensive examples of petty partisanship than the vitriolic screeds issued by Cheney, Mehlman and Snow -- coming, as they did, just a day before we learned of a new terrorist plot against us.
We'll never achieve authentic bipartisanship until a crowd that has clung to power by dividing us into bitter camps gets the rebuke it deserves. In the meantime, Lieberman might usefully send a copy of his speech to his friends in the White House. They divide us at our peril.
Absolutely correct. We have been travelling down the wrong road in our approach to combatting terrorism, our failure of leadership in foreign policy, and our idiotic adherence to "cowboy diplomacy" for long enough. The fact that Joe Lieberman could not recognize that the nation needs real leadership on these issues because President Bush and his Rubber Stamp Republican Congress, their profligate spending and inadequate planning having mired us in unfinished quagmires in Iraq and, increasingly, Afghanistan...the fact that our own allies trust the Bush Administration less than Joe Lieberman speaks volumes, doesn't it?
Lieberman was held to account for his failures by voters that he now refuses to acknowledge had the right to do so. If Joe Lieberman is searching for his "authentic" identity, he might try this one on for size: acting like a mature adult who accepts that actions have consequences, rather than pouting and behaving like a seven year old who has taken someone else's ball and headed off for another home.
The bottom line is this: do you trust the Bush Administration to make the decisions that will make you and your family safer? Do you trust a man like Joe Lieberman who, time and time again, hasn't held them accountable for their failures?
Me neither. Face it, COnnecticut voters just aren't that into you.
PS -- Note to Joe: With internet service, you get what you pay for...I'm just saying.
(And for a little Friday entertainment, one of my all-time favorite songs, performed by Miss Patty LaBelle. A Change Is Gonna Come. If this doesn't give you goosebumps, you aren't breathing.)
-- Christy Hardin Smith regularly blogs at Firedoglake.