The best thing that could happen to the Republicans in the upcoming November elections is for Joe Lieberman to lose. Unfortunately, losing him would also be a bad thing, and not just for Republicans.
As one of the few senators on the Democratic side who understands that playing nicely tends to produce results, Lieberman is a true rarity, especially in the chamber of Congress where legislation goes to die a long, slow death.
Republicans and Democrats always pontificate about the importance of bipartisanship and “changing the tone” in Washington. It seldom proves to be little more than election year rhetoric. I’ve lived and worked in politics in one manner or another for more than a decade now in DC and I’ve never seen a more divided two-party system as the one that exists right now. As a result, grand ideas are reduced to good thoughts, ambitiousness to status quo.
There is lots of hatred around this town, but then again, I’ve never really seen much love here either. Through the smog though have come rays of light such as the steady Joe Lieberman, a Democrat I have come to admire and appreciate, if not often disagree with on the issues.
Senator Lieberman crosses aisles in Congress like Washington crossed the Delaware – with gusto, with courage, and with purpose. Because he does so, he gets things done. That sounds clichéd but it’s true. He has been a champion and a leader on so many important issues (including diabetes funding which is important to insulin deprived people like me) and the Republicans he works with, including President Bush, sing his praises.
The Democrats don’t like that though. They hate the fact that he knows, and conspires, and works (!!!) with the people on the other side of the room who are in charge. They claim he is too cozy with the enemy and as a result, they want him gone. That’s a good party message huh? See that guy who works with the Republicans? Well to reward that spirit of actually getting things done, we are going to try to get him kicked out of the Senate and support some inexperienced political novice. Smart move there.
Not that the Democratic leadership has done anything smart these days anyway. With the Republicans vulnerable to attack on virtually every front, the Dems are mounting impressive offensives led by their dolt of a leader, Nancy Pelosi. Beginning a press conference with fellow Dems a few weeks ago, Fancy Nancy decided the public was too dumb to see the strength of Democratic unity and began by pointing out how “united” the Democratic party is. Hmmm.
I’ve always found that if you have to tell me something about you and make a point of it, it probably isn’t so. It’s kind of like people I know who tell constantly report how smart, successful, and connected they are. In reality they are don’t know much, haven’t done much, and don’t know many people. But Nancy knows the deal here, the Dems are a mess and can’t seem to get their act together against an opponent knocked down for the moment.
Which is why they should be taking a cue from the gentleman from Connecticut. They should hold him out as an example of how hard they have been trying to work with the Republicans. By doing so, it makes an argument of “hey we tried but the idiots in charge don’t have any interest in working with us” a lot more believable. If I were them, I would be running ads saying, “The Republicans in Congress can’t even work with Joe Lieberman, a guy no one can say a bad thing about. They must really have no interest in working on the issues facing America.” (A Lieberman loss also means a Republican response of “The Democrats rejected really the only guy who wanted to work with us. They really must have no interest in working on the issues facing America.”)
Instead, Joe was shunned by his party for his bipartisanship and lost his primary. And while Newsweek and the pundits suggested Joe should “bow out” (I guess the magazine forgot to study the demographics of the state which is 50% independent), Joe is hanging in there and polling ahead in the double digits.
Good for him, good for Republicans (since we’ll never win a Senate seat in Connecticut), and good for America.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here