I wasn’t old enough to vote when Joe Lieberman appeared on a ballot in Texas. I’ll be honest I doubt the Gore-Lieberman ticket would’ve gotten my vote at that point in my life. I was a Texan and George Bush hadn’t quite risen to the mediocrity he eventually would.
But to imagine how close Joe Lieberman was to the presidency has become an increasingly scary thought. I don’t think anyone who has watched Lieberman’s personal persona can think that his aspirations were to something less than the White House. I can think of few Senators further from it now.
He’s, of latest, manifest his bizarre behavior in reference to the debate on health care. Whatever you think about the debate, Lieberman’s continued threats to personally filibuster the public option seem beyond reason. Here’s Nate Silver putting it in words better than I can,
[T]he usual things that serve to motivate a Congressman don’t seem to motivate Joe Lieberman.
Would voting to filibuster the Democrats’ health care bill (if it contains a decent public option) endear Lieberman to his constituents? No; Connecticutians favor the public option 64-31.
Would it make his path to re-election easier? No, because it would virtually assure that Lieberman faces a vigorous and well-funded challenge from a credible, capital-D Democrat, and polls show him losing such a match-up badly.
Would it buy him more power in the Senate? No, because Democrats would have every reason to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.
Are there any particular compromises or concessions he wants in the bill? He hasn’t stipulated any, at least not publicly.
What Joe Lieberman wants, in all probability, is attention. He wants Harry Reid to have to stand up and say things like : “I don’t have anyone that I’ve worked harder with, have more respect for, in the Senate than Joe Lieberman.” He wants face time on Meet the Press. He wants to make liberals feel some pain — especially those who tried to get Ned Lamont elected in his place. He wants everyone to know how maverick-y he is.
Personally I’m okay with Joe being Joe obviously. Everyday he continues to pull this shit it makes the opt out option more tenuous. I feel almost certain he’ll cave, but in the off chance he doesn’t good for him. But really I’m cheering on someone with something of a personality disorder. There’s no order to what Lieberman is doing. Attempts to attribute some far reaching strategy to Lieberman’s actions are misplaced. The man has borderline tendencies. There’s nothing more to Lieberman than him demanding attention. Next he makes a suicidal gesture on the Senate floor.
Here’s Slate on the issue, “[o]r maybe Lieberman is making all of this up as he goes along.”