LIEBERMAN BLOGGING….OK, OK, you want Lieberman blogging? Let’s do some Lieberman blogging. For my money, the best analysis of the whole Lieberman/Lamont phenomenon comes from Publius, who says the key factor in Lamont’s success has been “Lieberman?s inexplicable political incompetence.” It started in 2003, continued in 2004, and then jumped the shark this year:
Fast forward to the end of the 2005. After a year of apologizing for torture, voting for Gonzales, playing footsy-cake with Bush on Social Security, and validating bad Iraq policies, Lieberman surely realized that a primary challenge was looming. Given his immense name recognition and long-standing (and generally solid) record, all he had to do was to give a few high-profile critiques of Bush or the war effort and I think it would have deflated the balloon. But instead, Lieberman wrote his acid-induced Strawberry Fields Forever op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, citing cell phone penetration to defend Bush?s Iraq policies. On top of that, he made perhaps his most ridiculous statement ever about how we (WE!) shouldn?t undermine our commander-in-chief’s credibility in wartime. That one still burns.
As Publius says, all this stuff adds up to someone who has “simply lost his political antennae and his taste for political combat.” And it’s not a matter of refusing to compromise his principles, either. He could have continued supporting the same policies he had always supported and still not have provoked the Lamont backlash if he’d just handled himself a little better. It’s really been a peculiar performance from such an experienced pol.
One thing, though. Publius thinks it’s obvious that Lieberman has been sucking up to George Bush because he was hoping to be nominated for Secretary of Defense. Does anyone else agree? I just don’t see it. After all, (a) being a sitting senator is a pretty sweet gig, (b) there’s only a couple of years left in Bush’s term, which is hardly enough time to have any serious impact, (c) running the Pentagon is a lose-lose proposition at the moment, and (d) it would completely destroy his standing in the Democratic Party. Lieberman’s judgment may not be what it used to be, but even he couldn’t have been seriously thinking this was a brass ring to be fought for, could he?