Joe Lieberman (I, CT)
I ran into Senator Lieberman in the Russell Rotunda as he navigated between television appearances.
I may be wrong, but I don’t think so… and I’ll leave it to others to pick apart his record and substantiate my gut feeling here. But it seems to me as if Lieberman was once a reliable progressive. After (or during) the 2000 election debacle, he navigated toward the center. Then came 9/11, and then Iraq… Lieberman enjoyed his status as “statesman” and for a while, he was deluded by a fawning press into thinking that he was a renaissance man of modern politics – adored by everyone, left and right.
Then, in 2003-4 and again in 2006, reality bit him in the ass. And he was completely blindsided. All of the people that wrote nice things about him in the op-ed pages of the Washington Post… Sean Hannity… George Bush and Dick Cheney…. they all adored him! How could it be that the people – the riff-raff – weren’t equally in love?
Well, it must’ve been the new guys on the block – those “bloggers” and the rest of the lunatics on the far-left. They pissed in Good ‘ol Joe’s punch-bowl and ruined everything.
But Joe just knew he was loved. And ultimately, he was right. All it took was a party switch and he won re-election handily in 2006. Of course, his love comes from George Bush and Dick Cheney fans… Friends of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck… tea-baggers, birthers and assorted extremists… But in the end, Joe Lieberman is in the Senate and Ned Lamont is not.
I don’t think that lesson has been lost on Joe. I think he knows who butters (and buttered) his bread, and he’s changed political stripes to stay in the good graces of his new-found base. I don’t think the Joe Lieberman of 1998 would have in a million years opposed a public option. (Yeah, I know, he was too busy criticizing Bill Clinton, even then. So, like I said, maybe I’m wrong about this).
Anyway, the question on everyone’s minds is whether or not Joe will stand with Democrats and vote for cloture if it is necessary to bring a health care bill with a public option to the floor of the Senate for an up or down vote.
In the video, he tells me he hasn’t decided.
So I ask him if it would matter if support for the public option was running at 60-65% in his state.
He tells me he is always interested in what the people have to say, and then goes on to do a bit of filibustering of his own to end my interview.