Having poisoned the well with many Connecticut Democrats by announcing he won’t abide by the results of the state’s primary election, Joe Lieberman has now started saying a lot of the right things. Not a whole lot has changed substantively — he’s still pro-war and all that. But at least he’s started talking a good Democratic game, even going so far as to distance himself a little from his number one kissing cousin.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman sought to distance himself from the Bush administration during a televised debate with his upstart Democratic primary challenger Thursday, telling him: “I’m not George Bush.”
Lieberman’s opponent, political newcomer Ned Lamont, has gained in statewide polls by accusing Lieberman of straying from his Democratic roots. Just six years after being his party’s nominee for the vice presidency, Lieberman has fallen into disfavor among some Democrats for his perceived closeness to President Bush and support for the war in Iraq.
Actually, Sen. Lieberman, we always knew you weren’t George W. Bush: If nothing else, you don’t smirk nearly as well as he does (although you are much better at stating Republican talking points). Confusing you with Bush has never been the problem: The problem, or at least a big part of it, has been your willingness, eagerness even, to allow yourself to be used as a tool in carrying out the Republican agenda (not always but way too often) and, even more infuriatingly, in undercutting Democratic positions.
Take the Kerry-Feingold Amendment to redeploy American troops out of Iraq by a date certain: It’s a stretch, but I suppose an argument could be made that your voting against the proposal notwithstanding the desires of most Connecticut voters constitutes an act of conscience. But the problem with this, of course, is that you didn’t stop there. You also agreed to act as the leadoff hitter for the Republican side in the debate and then spoke in a way that was insulting to the majority of Democrats.
That isn’t an act of conscience; it’s in your face disloyalty. And we’re not talking ancient history here: This happened less than a month ago.
So you see, Sen. Lieberman, your Johnny-come-lately pro-Democratic Party words are nice and all that, but without corresponding actions they really don’t carry a lot of weight. We’re way too far down the road for that.
And while we’re at it, why is it that I have this feeling that once the primary election is over, regardless of whether you win or lose, we won’t even be hearing the nice words from you anymore?