Please note: This post has been rewritten since I had a chance to see the Comments, on Sunday Dec. 20. I was too hasty in my response to the comments, and explain below that I will have more on what you're asking about in a future post. -DO.
Joe Lieberman's transformation from a moderate progressive to his current role as anti-progressive agitator may be tolerable inside the status-quo protective Beltway.
Out in the heartland, not so much:
* MoveOn.org has raised $1 million (U.S.) to fight Lieberman.
* Michael Moore is threatening a grassroots campaign in Connecticut to expose the Nutmeg State's senator as a longtime operative for the state-based private insurance industry.
* Bill Press, the nationally syndicated broadcaster and Chicago Trib columnist, has just chronicled "Traitor Joe's" retrograde behavior dating back decades.
* Jane Hamsher, founder of FireDogLake,com, is calling on "Run For The Cure" to stop using Hadassah Lieberman as its spokesperson. Ms. Lieberman is, after all, a longtime lobbyist for Big Pharma. She was in league with her husband in helping drive a stake through the Clinton healthcare reform bid. Which was followed by 15 lost years in which the number of Americans without healthcare insurance rose from an unaccceptable 32 million to the current 45 million. (That's not counting those among the seven million Americans laid off since the economic crisis began last September who have been stripped of employer-based health insurance.)
Contemplating Joe, I think of Dick Cheney, a personable enough fellow before his prolonged heart trouble. At least in my observation, a heart attack profoundly changes one's worldview. Usually one becomes more contemplative and grateful for a "second life." In Cheney's case, something quite different occurred. The arrogant, blinkered would-be creator of an imperial presidency - in which he violated his oath to uphold the Constitution - bears no resemblance for former close friends like Brent Scowcroft to the quite reasonable Cheney who served under presidents Nixon, Ford and George H.W. Bush. I'm pretty sure a sadistic streak since childhood explains Dubya. And Cheney, I'm convinced the ticker changed him.
These are two of the great books I look foward to someone doing.
I can't say I ever had time for Dubya, whose first press notice was a NYT brief on his defense of branding his frat-mates in Skull and Bones at Yale, about which at least one set of parents had gone public with their complaints. But it goes back further, to high-school basketball coaches benching the young Bush after seemed interested only in shoving an elbow in other kids' faces. Back in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, I stumbled upon a grainy photo someone posted of Bush in elementary school doing a savage takedown of a "friend" for the fun of it. So the well-documented record of Texas governor Bush approving more executions than any of his predecessors makes more sense in that context. And even more so the tireless efforts of Bush's White House legal counsel office, led by the severely misguided (I'm being kind) John Yoo, in endorsing torture and then imposing it on a U.S. military. A military distinguished since Washington's command of the Continental Army for rejecting anything that could be remotely construed as torture. (Washington insisted, among other things, that captured Redcoats eat the same food, and at the same frequency, as his own soldiers.) Every U.S. armed services field manual since has counselled against torture, or "enhanced interrogation" - a Bush-era euphemism for the ages.
In this rewriting of my post, I see now what the commenters other than Pogge are getting at - or think I do. Namely, what evidence have I on the psychological impact of a chronic heart condition. I'm pretty sure these commenters - all new to this site, to my knowledge - aren't so interested in the former vice-president as the issue generally. And it is indeed a fascinating and crucially important field of inquiry. I stand by what I said earlier, regarding my personal observation of the phenomenon, among both public figures and personal acquaintances. I'm 52, and have seen rather more heart trouble among friends and family than I wish were the case. It has been the principal cause of death in my family, rather than, say, cancer. So I've long had an interest.
This obviously is a current affairs and politics site, not a health site. But I will do further and more tangible research that points commentators to where this information can be found. I greatly appreciate your interest. I hope to have a post on heart-ailment effects within the next few days. Please check back.
In Lieberman's case, the consensus opinion is that the Obama reform agenda he attempts to thwart at every turn is not the issue. The issue is Ned Lamont. This view holds that Joe is on a vindictive mission to punish his own party for denying him the Dem nomination in his last Senate race. It amounts purely to that, say Beltway folks. I'd be inclined to think Lieberman is also wounded from his sub-dismal showing in his presidential run, in which he boasted of residual "Joe-mentum" after each caucus and primary result showing him in single digits. But, as I say, those who know better say it's all about the Lieberman-Lamont race.
In any event, progressives have had enough, seeking Lieberman's expulsion from the Dem caucus, with which he still sits, and from his coveted chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.
There's a lesson here for Obama.
Soon after last Nov. 4's election, Obama prevailed on Harry Reid to stanch the urge among many in the Democratic Senate caucus to oust Lieberman from their midst. He had conveniently continued to caucus with the now-ruling Dems since 2006, keeping himself on the powerful side of the aisle. Arlen Spector, whom one could also tag an opportunist, at least made the full conversion to the Democrats, rather than hiding behind "Independent" status. After watching Lieberman campaign ardently for McCain, the Dems also wanted Joe stripped of his Homeland Security chairmanship. And Reid obliged the wishes of the newly elected leader of the party.
Another sign of Obama's serious intent about the post-partisan future he campaigned on was outreach to McCain in the week after the election. At Obama's request, the two had a private sit-down to discuss potential cabinet picks. (Cabinet picks!)
The reward for this graciousness has been unceasing, high-volume opposition to Obama's agenda from each of these ingrates.
It might be asking too much of Obama to engage in his own disciplinary action - something the party leadership, and not the president, should be doing, in any case. But Obama might now think again about continuing to embrace folks with a demonstrated interest in resisting the progressive renaissance Obama is trying to bring about. Indeed, with an interest in destroying his presidency.
For starters, future calls to the White House by these two senators should be put through not to the president but to Rahm Emanuel. Rahm can explain in that gentle way of his why Arizona has been demoted on the list of states to receive stimulus-funded rec centers, highway upgrades, and VA hospital expansion projects. By McCain's own admission prior to last year's contest, he is as dumb as a brick on economics. As long as the untutored McCain going to excoriate Obama as a spendthrift for a stimulus package that lifted the U.S. economy out of recession within half a year of Obama taking office, people in Phoenix should understand the consequences had Obama not extracted that stunning sum from Congress.
Well, you haven't been left off, John, but yeah, Arizona's lower down the list than we'd all like. You know how it is. It's something I'd like to look into, but first I have figure out why you and Kyl are so preoccupied with bashing my boss's stimulus package that you say you've been unfairly cut out of. You'd like to speak to the President about the stimulus thing and Arizona? I'd like that too. But he's unavailable now. I'm looking at his calendar and...I'm seeing...I'm looking - you know how he blocks off so much time each day for the gym and whatever he and Michelle do in the East Wing every afternoon around 3 to 3:30...I'm seeing...here! May 14th. He could call you May 14th. Which house are you going to be at? Well, John, it wastes time to call Sedona and be told you're at the place in Phoenix, and we call there and you've left for another - what are there, five houses? I'm not even sure we have numbers for them. You want to meet the president in person? Oh man, that would take us into 2013. Well, if it's that important, send an e-mail. No, no, not to him. [Laughs] He's too busy with Organizing for America. Man, those kids write up a storm! And Barack likes to get back to as many of them as he can. Actually, don't send it to me, either. I'm not sure how soon I could get to it. One of my assistants, probably Krystal. She does my Hill stuff. Yeah, with a "K." Listen John, gotta run. Photo-op with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, you know how it is. Never a spare moment. And say hello to Cindy for me.
Note the First: In my initial post, I was grossly mistaken in identifying FireDogLake as having been launched as a conservative site that has since swung sharply left. This would be startling news to founder Jane Hamsher, to whom I apologize for composing too quickly. And thanks to Pogge for bringing this dumb-as-a-plank error to my attention. (See Comments.)
Note the Second: Art Singleton, who repairs automatic garage-door openers in the neighborhood, which qualifies him as art direction consultant for the site, will be asking me why no pictures with this post. I will explain the reader-imposed edict regarding images of Lieberman, et al.