Rethinking 2000

I was stuck in the pediatric emergency room at Bellevue for a night shift when the election results of 2000 came in. I remember clustering around one of the computers with the other people on that night, refreshing the electoral map and watching Florida change colors. I particularly recall how deeply, deeply worried I was for my country after the whole Bush-Gore brouhaha wound to a close. My feelings at the time are best summarized by the upper graphic here.

Anyhow, despite the incredibly depressing fact that the Bush administration actually ended up being worse than I feared, I have finally seen the silver lining around Gore's loss in 2000. And that, my friends, is that Joe Lieberman will never, ever be President of the United States.

For those of you recently back from an extended time-share in a cave on Mars, ever since the Democratic primary voters in Connecticut decided they'd like a senator who didn't carry water for the Republicans, followed by Lieberman's eventual win in the 2006 general election, he's moved from a political stance of hawkish foreign policy married to progressive domestic goals to an agenda best described as "[obscene gerund] the Democrats."

His latest stunt is to threaten a filibuster for health care reform if it includes an option for people aged 55-64 to buy into Medicare. This despite the fact that he was explicitly for such a buy-in when he ran for VP. Various reactions to this perfidy are handily collected here. The long and the short of it is that Lieberman has abandoned all pretense of working with the Democrats on their major domestic policy goal of this session out of what can only be described as a protracted fit of pique.

So, really, is there any further benefit in pretending that Lieberman is in any way a Democrat, "Independant" or otherwise? Efforts to keep him in the tent were aimed at advancing the party's policy goals. With it now made clear that Lieberman has no intention of helping the party toward which he patently feels nothing but ill will, what is the point of keeping him nominally a member? Let him do a reverse Specter, join the GOP, and then Connecticut can finally get rid of him in three years.


  1. Sen. Lieberman beat the Democratic opponent last time. What makes you think he can't do it again? And, given that the Democratic party basically stabbed him in the back in '06, why are you expecting loyalty from him now?

  2. No, John, the Democratic voters decided they didn't want Lieberman, because Lieberman had become an attack dog for Iraq War apologists. He had become a reliable voice in support of a despised presidential administration. But, rather than acknowledge that his party's voters no longer wanted him to represent them, he stayed in the race. It put other members of his party in an awful position, and that's no fault of theirs.

    And since 2006, Lieberman has revealed himself to be an even bigger prick than previously suspected. By helping to deep-six health care reform, he is further alienating the voters in his state, and will probably have a harder time getting re-elected than the last go-round.

  3. Yes, the progressive Democratic voters in the primary made that choice. Between Mr. Lamont's $4M in personal funds and the nutroots campaigning, the primary was indeed exciting. Remember "Rape Gurney" Joe? I guarantee you Sen. Lieberman does. He kicked Lamont's progressive butt, and now he's expected to be loyal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party?

    Speaking of pricks, how is Pres. Scary-smart doing these days? How's that healthcare bill working out? Iran? Tell me, is GITMO still hiring? Can he even find a Cybersecurity Czar?

  4. Joe caucuses with the Democrats and has powerful Committee chairs based on it, he was allowed to retain his seniority based on one condition only, that he not filibuster witht the Republicans. He made an explicit promise not to (in fact, years ago he tried to eliminate the 60 vote threshold) if he does not want to stick with the party, let him caucus with the Republicans and be the lowest man on the totem pole.

    If he is without a caucus, as to 2012, Dick Cheney has a better chance of being elected President then he has of getting re-elected. Why in the world would anyone vote for him? And the notion that the Republicans will support a pro choice, pro gay marriage Ind. is ludicrous, so unless Joe votes for cloture now, the next 3 years he will be stripped of everything and leave office a joke, so unless he is for his own suicide, then he will vote for cloture.

  5. charo, hate to rain on your parade, but in '06, the Repubs did support a pro choice, pro gay marriage Independent. His name? Joe Lieberman.