Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Joementum returns...and it still sucks 

There's a lot of talk this week in the liberal blogosphere about Joe Lieberman. First, we have Bob Scheiffer talking about rumors that Connecticut Joe will ride his Joementum into the Secretary of Defense's office.

Then, we have former Connecticut Gov. Lowell Weicker saying he may take on Joe in a primary:
"When you've become the president's best friend on the war in Iraq, you should not be in office, especially if you're in the opposing party," Mr. Weicker, 74, said in a phone interview from his home in Essex, Conn. "I'm going to do everything I can to see that Joe Lieberman does not get a free pass."
This is more or less a response to the op-ed Lieberman wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, which sounds like it was written out of the White House.

And, now, we have Lieberman saying this classy line:
It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more years. We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."
Now, I pretty much feel that is the last straw. For a member of the supposed opposition, to say, in his weasly Lieberman-esque way, that dissent puts us and our troops in peris--it's just beyond the pale. Digby, in response:
I see that Senator Lieberman is concerned about partisanship poisoning the atmosphere in Washington and he has some stern words for Democrats who insist on criticizing the president....For instance he really hates it when Democrats say things like this:
After much reflection, my feelings of disappointment and anger have not dissipated, except now these feelings have gone beyond my personal dismay to a larger, graver sense of loss for our country, a reckoning of the damage that the president's conduct has done to the proud legacy of his presidency and, ultimately, an accounting of the impact of his actions on our democracy and its moral foundations.

The implications for our country are so serious that I feel a responsibility to my constituents in Connecticut, as well as to my conscience, to voice my concerns forthrightly and publicly. And I can think of no more appropriate place to do that than on this great Senate floor.


The president's intentional and consistent statements, more deeply,may also undercut the trust that the American people have in his word. Under the Constitution, as presidential scholar Newsted (ph) has noted, the president's ultimate source of authority, particularly his moral authority, is the power to persuade, to mobilize public opinion, to build consensus behind a common agenda. And at this, the president has been extraordinarily effective.

But that power hinges on the president's support among the American people and their faith and confidence in his motivations and agenda, yes; but also in his word.

As Teddy Roosevelt once explained, "My power vanishes into thin air the instant that my fellow citizens, who are straight and honest, cease to believe that I represent them and fight for what is straight and honest. That is all the strength that I have," Roosevelt said.

Sadly, with his deception, the president may have weakened the great power and strength that he possesses, of which President Roosevelt spoke.

I know this is a concern that may of my colleagues share, which is to say that the president has hurt his credibility and therefore perhaps his chances of moving his policy agenda forward.


That's what I believe presidential scholar James David Barber (ph) in his book "The Presidential Character" was getting at when he wrote that the public demands quote, "a sense of legitimacy from and in the presidency. There is more to this than dignity -- more than propriety. The president is expected to personify our betterness in an inspiring way; to express in what he does and is, not just what he says, a moral idealism which in much of the public mind is the very opposite of politics."

Just as the American people are demanding of their leaders, though, they are also fundamentally fair and forgiving, which is why I was so hopeful the president could begin to repair the damage done with his address to the nation on the 17th. But like so many others, I came away feeling that for reasons that are thoroughly human, he missed a great opportunity that night. He failed to clearly articulate to the American people that he recognized how significant and consequential his wrongdoing was and how badly he felt about it.
Lieberman thinks that speeches like that are wrong --- that Democrats should not go before the senate and speak about how the president has failed the nation, been dishonest, misled the people and undermined the nation's moral authority. Unless, of course, there's a blow job involved in which case Lieberman himself would feel compelled to lead the stampede to condemn and chastise him publicly.

But then, that was an issue of prime importance, unlike lying the country into a useless war of faux masculine vanity in which we are becoming a pariah nation known for torture, kidnapping, and disappearance. As long as Bush keeps his codpiece zipped and doesn't let anybody see him playing Grand Theft Auto, he's got Joementum on his side.

Now, clearly, Digby is right. But, looking at the Secretary of Defense rumors, the Journal op-ed, and the fact that Lieberman knows (via the Weicker announcement) that the rank-and-file has had it with him, I think that this latest foray--casting his lot with the dissent=treason (ok, not "treason" but increasing our "peril") crowd is a way for him to lay the groundwork for that appointment as Secretary Defense. I don't know if he'll be offered the post, but if so, I'm sure he'll take it, and I'm sure he'll remain a nominal Democrat, much like William Cohen remained a Republican under Clinton. And, after what he's been saying lately, I think there's no question that he'd be a full-bore neocon if installed at the Pentagon.

The fact that a Republican would be appointed in his seat in Connecticut is icing on the cake--and icing that probably makes Joe happy. Worst mistake Al Gore made was selecting this chump as VP candidate.

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: Weicker is on the Board of WWE (that is, the WWF).
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