Traitor Joe

From Dewayne Wickham at TRIBLIVE|Opinion:

Last year was the year of the unlikely hero. It was dominated by the ascendancy of Barack Obama, a slender black guy with a hip gait and a finely tuned political mind, into this nation’s highest office.

But 2009 has turned out to be the year of the anti-hero. It is the year in which Joe Lieberman gets my nod — cynical though it is — as “American of the Year.”

A Democrat of convenience, Lieberman has succeeded in doing what Benedict Arnold couldn’t. In a masterful act of treachery, he retains a position of trust among the very people he betrayed.

Original DVD cover

By threatening to join a Republican filibuster, Lieberman forced Democrats to strip first a public option — and then a Medicare buy-in compromise — from the Senate’s health care bill, provisions many experts and activists consider essential to effective reform.


During the Revolutionary War, Arnold — a Continental Army general — plotted to turn over West Point to the British. When his scheme was discovered, he fled to Canada on a British warship appropriately called The Vulture. Had he been caught, Arnold likely would have been court-martialed and hanged.

Instead of suffering an equivalent political fate, Lieberman remains a member of the Democrats’ caucus and continues as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. With 60 members, which is the number needed to break a Republican filibuster, Democrats would rather keep a traitor in their midst than put him to flight.


[D]uring a speech to the Republican National Convention [during John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign], Lieberman referred to himself several times as a Democrat — despite the fact that in 2006, this gadfly of political allegiance ran as an independent. Why? Because he lost the Democrat primary and this shift from D to I was the only way he could retain his seat.

But in working to strip the Senate’s health care bill of the public option and Medicare buy-in provisions, Lieberman proved to be far from a loyal Democrat. Some critics charge that Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 2000, was doing the bidding of the insurance industry in gutting the bill. He has received more than $1 million from insurance interests since 1990, the Center for Responsive Politics has reported.


While Lieberman isn’t the only “Democrat” who waffled in supporting the Senate bill, he was the most uncompromising — and appeared to take the greatest delight in tweaking the noses of his Democrat caucus colleagues. And for this you’ve got to admire the guy’s shamelessness. Somehow, he has convinced Democrats they are better off with him in their ranks. They cling to Lieberman in the hope that he’ll help them beat back a filibuster despite all that he exacts from them and the little he gives in return.

While Benedict Arnold might be his equal when it comes to guile, Joe Lieberman is unmatched in his ability to persuade those he betrays to treat him as a friend instead of the enemy he really is.

DeWayne Wickham is a columnist for USA Today.


Filed under 2008 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, humor, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

24 responses to “Traitor Joe

  1. writechic

    He’s a witch!!!!

    And he definitely sucks balls.

  2. Sells out dems and disgraces his cultural heritage would make him a 2fer. No love for “loverman”.

  3. JaxDem

    ’09 was Lieberworm’s (I can no longer bring myself to call him “man”) year. He had the dems backed into a corner over the sweet number 60 dream and was able to keep his chair. And for HCR he staged all those shit storms in which he was center stage – just where he loves to be.

    Unless WE got our Xmas wish and Santa brought the Senate dems some spine and balls and they use them to boot the bum, then we’d best get used to seeing more of the same from Lieberwanker.

    • the senate rules need to change. in fact, in my opinion, the whole senate needs to be either revamped or just done away with. it’s become the place where everything comes to die a death by a thousand paper cuts.

  4. As much as I loathe LIEberman (and I do!), I also can’t believe that any human being, regardless of their political affiliation, can listen to these real life stories– how many Americans die per day because of lack of health care, and not be compelled to support HCR.
    Not ONE Senator with a “R” by their name has a thimble sized droplet of compassion?
    They are voting in lockstep against HCR because making Obama fail is more important than helping people & saving lives?

    LIEberman is a lost cause, for sure- but he became important when this great divide, this line in the sand was drawn. Even the house was only able to muster up one lonely vote amongst Republicans- from a Congressman representing a district in Louisiana – a place still trying to recover from the Katrina double disaster.
    Any doubt he will catch all kinds of hell from the republican party for breaking ranks.

    I am appalled that these politicians barely blink to give GM over $12 billion in bailout funds.

    But when told of a child who died because his inability to find a dentist who would take someone without dental insurance, or cash up front– his simple tooth abscess turned into a fatal brain infection.

    How do these people sleep at night?

    • mary b

      Oh Fran. I couldn’t have written it better myself. You have captured my thoughts exactly.
      I would think the rethugs would have a better shot of regaining power by helping the American people instead of brainwashing them against their own self interests. It HAS to backfire on them……..eventually anyhow. They are a disgrace and should not be allowed to remain in office.
      And we have only learned a little bit among all the people who suffer and die because a lack of health care.
      The Democratic Caucus should strip LIEbermouse his Chairmanship, he doesn’t deserve it. He is not honest, he only backs what is politically viable for himself and his coffers. It’s times like these that I agree with term limits, something I’m really ambivalent about. If we did have term limits, then we would not have had Ted Kennedy for so long. The people of CT need to just vote Traitor Joe out of office. I don’t see how he even got elected as an Independent. I lived in CT for 36 years and just don’t understand why they kept re-electing the guy. Must be those Insurance executives who live in Fairfield County.
      The Dems need some balls, that’s for sure. But other than helping to get out the vote, what can we, the people, do?

      • if we had term limits, we’d have to say goodbye to russ feingold and bernie sanders. what we need is real campaign finance reform so that the incumbents don’t start way ahead of newcomers. just think how different the health care debate would have been if nurses were wealthy enough to run for office.

        • mary b

          I was only thinking term limits in cases like LIEbemann and other assorted assholes.
          It would just kill me to let Sanders & Feingold leave. There two out of a handful that should be there for life.

        • “just think how different the health care debate would have been if nurses were wealthy enough to run for office.”

          No kidding. There aren’t even enough doctors in Congress, and the ones there can be crackpots, like Ron Paul.

          • not to stereotype, but i think nurses are more compassionate, perhaps because they see the suffering more closely. of course, there aren’t enough nurses, so maybe the nurses’ aides are the one who should be in congress debating health care.

            • “i think nurses are more compassionate”

              You never met my ex-wife.

              Seriously, you’re on to something. While a doctor’s enemy is illness, a nurse’s enemy is suffering. Their goals are not always compatible.

              • it’s funny how some of the nastiest people can make really good nurses. one quality that some good nurses have is pushiness. that doesn’t translate very well in relationships, but it’s a good trait for a nurse who insists on the best for his/her patients.

    • sing it, sister! every single one of them should have to sit in emergency rooms and visit patients in icu who might not have been there if they had decent medical care earlier. they live in a bubble where the realities of life don’t intrude.

  5. sometimes it’s just good to be a Canadian. This would be one of those times. (regardless of the fact that it’s dark and about -600 degrees)

    • it’s uncharacteristically cold down here in south floriduhhhh, don, and it reminds me of the only reason i haven’t moved up to canada yet. 😉

  6. Ah, my old pal Joe, ‘Dino’ button and all. Karma’s waiting list is a little backed up, methinks…But when his number comes up I’m sure it will be glorious, Nonnie.


    • so glad you stopped by, darkblack, so i could congratulate you on your 1000th post! 😀 did i ever tell you that i bookmarked your blog a long time ago (it’s way up the list that’s about a mile long) and used darkblack blog with great photoshop as the bookmark? i just use my blogroll at the big orange to click over to your site, so i forgot all about the bookmark until i attempted to shorten the list today.