Deeper Into The Village

Ezra Klein digs deeper:

[T]hose primary challenges also broke whatever historical or pragmatic attachment Lieberman and Specter had to their traditional political homes. [. . .] Lieberman endorsed McCain and will likely vote, and maybe even filibuster, against health-care reform. Heterodox as he was, neither was likely before Lamont's challenge.

(Emphasis supplied.) I'll ignore the disingenuous goal post moving by Ezra (he wrote this the first time - "Look at the Senate right now: If Democrats [. . .] fall short, itís likely to be because liberal activists ran a primary challenge against Joe Lieberman."), and take on the wrongheadedness of his thinking - to wit, Joe Lieberman would be voting for a public option now if he had not been primaried. This is just nonsense. Joe Lieberman has been fighting against health care reform for 20 years. I know Ezra was just a kid when Lieberman started this behavior, but you can just look it up. But becoming a Village idiot is good business for Ezra.

Speaking for me only

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    No......sorry, nobody could have (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:20:26 AM EST
    written that Lieberman has newly began to suck because of a Democratic primary challenge.  I know that Jeralyn doesn't like it when anybody points out how young Ezra is, but if he were actually singularly responsible for his own existence for about 15 years more than he has, he may have more clarity about what drove Lieberman off of the progressive liberal reservation.  To be honest, I can't remember that day either.......because it never happened.

    Well, his age isn't really the point if (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:33:55 AM EST
    he is ignoring facts.  People of all ages do that.  I get the sense that if he were older, he'd just be more skilled at being so disengenuous and ignoring facts.

    And I'll add that lending any credibility to the notion that being primaried - years ago now - would be a reason to block such important legislation by even just raising it in this context, is complete bull.


    You're probably right (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:41:06 AM EST
    I get the sense that if he were older, he'd just be more skilled at being so disengenuous and ignoring facts.

    Everybody always defends how brilliant he is, therefore he most likely is and he has chosen to be a conman with his skills. He's good for a laugh at least.


    Brilliant doesn't make one (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 01:05:55 PM EST
    right...think Jesuits.  Hell, think the big dog.

    Even geniuses have blind spots.  Often they are downright embarrassing.


    Ezra's really, really good on Healthcare (none / 0) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:14:15 PM EST
    easily the most informed of any pundit with access, on virtually every other issue though he's spotty.

    Ezra checked his health care cred (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:28:21 PM EST
    at the Village gate, as near as I can tell; it was probably a pre-requisite to getting that laminated Village-resident card.

    Ezra's all about the politics-of-Obama now, working hard to master the art of fitting the square peg into the round hole, even if he has to whack the be-jesus out of it so it all works for his political theories, and doesn't cast Obama in a bad light.  

    He's no longer informative - just barely entertaining; it's too bad, really, because we needed a strong voice on health care and it could have been his.

    Oh, well.


    He used to be. No more. (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:38:44 PM EST
    Ambition and politics has clouded his view.

    Too bad.


    No (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 04:54:16 PM EST
    He's not.

    Lieberman was never a progressive liberal (none / 0) (#21)
    by jnicola on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:27:03 AM EST
    but he has moved more to the right since he was successfully primaried. He was a pain before - which is why he was primaried and why Ezra supported Lamont - but since the primary he has been worse. Consider, for instance, these quotes, from before he was primaried.

    I want to create "Medikids." Every baby born in America will leave the hospital not just with a birth certificate but with a Medikids card that will guarantee them health insurance up until the age of 25. You won't have to go down to the welfare office to sign up. You won't be mandated if you don't want to buy plans to cover health insurance. As president, I'm going to bring the right priorities: I will make every American currently uninsured eligible for a high-quality, affordable health insurance. (2003)

    We ought to start where Al Gore and I proposed in 2000: expand the children's health insurance program and let their parents buy in to Medicaid at a cheaper rate then they can get in the private market. (2003)

    [To pay for this] I am going to put the tax rate back to where it was when Bill Clinton was president, because we did a lot better under Bill Clinton than we are under George Bush. (2003)

    There is a morally scandalous fact-that that 43 million Americans don't have health insurance, 2 million more than when George Bush became president. I'm proposing to create a national health insurance pool like the one that members of Congress get our insurance from. If you don't have insurance now, you'll be able to get it, probably free, if you're among the low-income working poor. If you're a child, you will be covered by insurance at birth. If you are fired from your work or lose your job, you will not lose your health insurance. MediKids is part of my program. Every child born in America will become a member of MediKids, and it will cover them from birth through 25. Why 25? Because young adults have a hard time affording health insurance, and a lot of them think they're not going to get sick, but they do, and we need to cover them. (2004)

    Moreover, in 2004, his rating from the American Public Health Association was 100%.

    Winning matters. Succesfully primarying him, and then losing the election to him, left the Democrats objectively worse off than if the primary had not happened. It has given him more scope to act against Democratic interest than he had before and an apparent willingness to use it more than he had before. Again, you may think he sucked before, but if he was still proposing the policies he proposed above, he'd be more or less in the centre of the current Democratic Senate caucus, and in some instances would be to the left of what's currently being proposed.


    There is so much wrong in this comment (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:37:42 AM EST
    I do not even know where to start.

    First, Ezra did not support Lamont.

    Second, Lieberman was elected FROM the Right in 1998.

    Third, in 2003, Lieberman was running for the Democratic nomination for President.

    Fourth, WHEN Lieberman was primaried he moved to the LEFT.

    After he lost the primary, he moved back to where he always was - the Right.

    Fifth, before Al Gore tapped him for VP in 2000, Lieberman was well to the Right. Then he stayed in the center because he had delusions of being the Dem nominee in 2004.

    You really know nothing about Lieberman.


    Seriously? (none / 0) (#27)
    by jnicola on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    First, Ezra did not support Lamont.

    In the comment you linked to, he says that he 'supported Lamont's challenge'. On his blog at the time this was posted. I know you disagree with him, but are you actually accusing him of lying? And of posting stuff to his blog that he actively disagreed with but didn't take issue with?

    Second, Lieberman was elected FROM the Right in 1998.

    Or 88, even. And he was elected from the centre with assistance from Republicans, like Buckley, who disagreed with him, but wanted to punish Weicker. And since the Republicans effectively expelled him, Weicker has moved more to the left. They had little leverage left over him. It's a mirror image of what's happened to Lieberman.

    Third, in 2003, Lieberman was running for the Democratic nomination for President.

    Exactly. At the point at which he was seeking the most popularity within the party he was most left wing.

    Fourth, WHEN Lieberman was primaried he moved to the LEFT.

    After moving back to the right following his failure to get the nomination, but yes. It's the same point as the last one. When he wanted the party to back him he became more left wing. Which was why primarying him was a good strategy, provided we then won AND then beat him in the election. Failing to do this meant that he owed the Dems much less than would otherwise be the case. If it wasn't for his desire to keep his committee chairs and get a certain amount of pork Reid would have virtually no leverage over him at all, assuming he's given up the idea of running as a Dem ever again.

    Fifth, before Al Gore tapped him for VP in 2000, Lieberman was well to the Right. Then he stayed in the center because he had delusions of being the Dem nominee in 2004.

    Yes. When he thinks he will get a reward from it he moves to the left.

    You really know nothing about Lieberman.

    Never met the man. Nonetheless, based on his record, I'd agree with Ezra that

    The ideological prism is inadequate for understanding Lieberman. His dysfunctions are less principled than pavlovian. If his instincts are centrist, his fans are Republican. Long a reflexive compromiser, the first to condemn Clinton on the Senate floor, he gave liberal Democrats no reason to enthuse over him but offered nervous Republicans much appreciated cover. And they were appropriately grateful. So though Lieberman is a Democrat and close with his Senate colleagues, he's long understood that the good vibes and friendly tones emanate, for him, from the right. So when he faced off against Cheney, he was speaking to a friend of sorts. Like in the past, a compromising stance towards the right would result in the gush of admiration he never got from the left. And so he did as humans tend to, blindly groping towards the easy praise and away from the tense confrontation.

    Fast forward to tonight. Lieberman is angry, sharp, testy, quick. Why? He knows this audience dislikes him, that there's no love to be gained by sucking up to Ned Lamont. So he won't. Instead, he'll destroy his opponents, seek total triumph over those who dislike him. It's easy to attack those who hold you in contempt. And that's the impulse that defines Lieberman's Senate career: the left doesn't like him, so he reacts, naturally, with disdain and indifference. He didn't want any of those sour ol' grapes anyway! But Hannity and Bush and all the others shower him in praise and affection, and given the waves of opposition rippling from his left, he can't alienate his fans and supporters on the right. It's human nature to seek encouragement and refrain from angering your allies, so that's what he does. Unfortunately, his allies are loathsome.

    The man likes being popular; likes being liked. He gets that now from the right. Expect him to move more towards it. If Lamont had beaten him in the election, as I'd have preferred, this would have been irrelevant. However, if we weren't capable of kicking him out entirely, it would have been better, rather than failing to remove him and earning his enmity, to seduce him in further.


    This is a mess of a comment (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 01:46:30 PM EST
    I can not follow it. But to be clear - I repeat to you, Ezra Klein DID NOT support Ned Lamont. your link, which you see as proving Ezra DID support Lamont was written by "Losing Joementum -By Neil the Ethical Werewolf" - Neil Sinnahbou, not Ezra Klein.

    Ezra Klein did not support Ned Lamont.

    I honestly can not make heads nor tail of the rest of your comment.


    As I pointed out (none / 0) (#32)
    by jnicola on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 02:17:41 PM EST
    In the article of Ezra's which you yourself link to he states that he supported Lamont. Are you simply saying that he lied in the article you linked to? I presented the entry on his blog as supporting evidence for that claim, inasmuch as it was posted on his blog and he did not disagree with it or ask the poster to state that he was speaking for himself only. I did not claim that it was written by Ezra. Do you have any evidence that Ezra did not support Lamont?

    The rest of my comment was devoted to the idea that pushing Dems to the left by primarying them is fine if Progressives win, and if we don't win, it's fine as long as we don't lose any leverage we had over them in the process. If we do lose and lose that leverage - we shouldn't have started the fight, as we will now be in a worse position than we were to start with. Lieberman is a good example of this. And the lesson we should take from Lieberman is that we should fight where we can win, and where we can't - keep the powder dry and use it somewhere else.  


    Incidentally (none / 0) (#33)
    by jnicola on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 02:23:37 PM EST
    Just received an email from Lamont's mailing list saying that he's running for Governor...

    I know he said it there (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 04:53:46 PM EST
    It was stealth support. No one knew.

    I'm actually pretty sure he did support Lamont (none / 0) (#36)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:19:49 PM EST
    Back in his days at Pandagon and then Think Progress Ezra was pretty solidly left.

    I'm pretty sure he did not (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 04:48:11 PM EST
    Saying it now is not supporting him then.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:59:32 AM EST
    Lieberman was proposing all this stuff when he knew there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell of any of it ever even coming to a vote on the Senate floor.  He may as well have been proposing a chocolate fountain and a money tree in every yard.

    Yup, blaming the left ... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:28:09 AM EST
    is always good business.

    But Klein is also just playing a standard Internet game.  The kind of thing tech bloggers do all the time.

    Make some outlandish claim.  Get tons of hits.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

    And Internet arcology is so ingrained in Klein's being, I bet he's barely aware of how much it effects his views.

    He's one of many virtual cyborgs trolling the blogosphere.  He's the Internet made flesh.

    I never know what to make of the (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:35:39 AM EST
    internet hits thing.  Getting a lot of hits boosts how much you can sell ads for right?  Does Ezra encourage flame wars on his blog?

    One measure (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:49:15 AM EST
    is how many other blogs link to yours, and the number of hits on the linking blogs factors in.  Stirring the pot definitely pays off on the internet.

    Ah, linkage counts too (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:56:41 AM EST
    So everytime Booman writes something really really dumb, and I click on it from here....it isn't just my traffic to the blog.  Heh, BTD sure feeds a lot of losers out there right now.  It can't pay that well though when compared to being a blog that readers tune into for clarity and the needed information to achieve activist goals and majority of population mandated change.

    Yes, hits and time spent ... (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:56:54 AM EST
    per visit increase your ad rates.

    And conflict still remains one of the best ways to get hits and increase the time people spend on a site.

    All of the comments on Klein's blog in response to the post BTD quotes above disagree with Klein's thesis.


    The first election I was (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by dk on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:30:23 AM EST
    old enough to vote in was 1988.  I was in college in Connecticut, and it was the year Lieberman was first elected to the Senate.  It was also the only time in my life that I voted for a Republican (Lowell Weicker), and I did so because Weicker was to the left of Lieberman on most of the issues I cared about.

    It's really too bad that Weicker didn't win that day.

    It really is (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:33:03 AM EST
    Oh, geez (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:31:25 AM EST
    another missive from Ezra.

    IMO the whole problem with primary challenge with Lieberman is that he ended up winning and now thinks he's invincible and can do whatever he wants.

    Its what would have happened in NY-23 (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:21:55 PM EST
    if the GOP nominee hadn't dropped out and had ended up winning- she would have had no reason to ever listen to the conservatives on her right- as she had won without them.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Steve M on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 04:08:56 PM EST
    It would have been mathematically impossible for her to win without the support of anyone to her right.

    I stand by my theory of what made Joe Lieberman (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ellie on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:58:57 AM EST
    It wasn't being primaried that set off Whiny Joe (D-Con), as he was always a petulant right wing @sshole.


    He only fully became the powerful Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Joseph I. Lieberman) when zapped with powerful electro-magnetic radiation at the precise moment he stepped on a d0uchebag.

    Look upon him, puny squabblers, and tremble before his mighty whine!

    Joseph I. Lieberman, is now the most important politician in all of human history.


    Lieberman (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:56:19 AM EST
    We shouldn't forget that Lieberman got elected to the Senate by running from the right against Republican Lowell Weicker.  And like him or not, well before there was ever a Lamont primary challenge, Ralph Nader described Lieberman as a "political hermaphrodite who never met a weapons system he didn't like."

    Out of curiosity, (none / 0) (#11)
    by Farmboy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:17:04 AM EST
    is Tom Tomorrow a village idiot as well?  Because he makes the exact same argument about Lieberman. http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/11/02/tomo/index.html

    Pretty clear to me (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Steve M on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:29:44 AM EST
    that Lieberman is mostly being mocked in that comic.

    The point was (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:47:11 AM EST
    Lieberman was acting out of revenge for 2006, which, if that is what Tom tomorrow thinks, is just plain wrong.

    Lieberman has always been a Thorn (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Ellie on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:13:06 AM EST
    ... on the Dem side, using the whatever the marquee issue of the day is to exercise his own importance (eg, Lord Cheetoh's monthly man-periods railing about NARAL for daring to place their mandate ABOVE supporting Whiny Joe, who supposedly would be a solid D-vote on everything.)

    Did I say Thorn? I meant tiny pr!ck.


    Sure, (none / 0) (#19)
    by Farmboy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:20:41 AM EST
    for being so very, very Joe. But the point of both the cartoon and Klein's post is that while Joe has always been Joe, he used to be a passive Joe.  As Ned Lamont said about Joe and health-care reform, Joe never fought against it in the past, he just starved it with inaction and study groups.  Since the primary however, he's been actively working to block its passage - and working to block anything else the Dems want passed.  From Klein: "However disloyal they were before, the near-death experience made them worse."

    If Ned Lamont said that (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:26:28 AM EST
    he was wrong. Lieberman has always fought against health care reform.

    I repeat, you can look it up.


    I have looked it up (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:46:48 AM EST
    using your provided link. That site's cites confirm Lamont's statement about Joe's previously passive behavior. In 1993 he tried to table Clinton's plan for study and instead backed MCCA - which didn't have a prayer of passage. The next year he jumped on the Mitchell plan, then let it die. And so on.

    Perhaps it's a matter of semantics. You say Joe fought against health care reform, others see it as he used to just let it fail. In the end the result has been the same: no health care reform. And we can all agree on one thing: he's fighting against it now.


    You say poTAY to (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 12:08:15 PM EST
    Lieberman has worked against health care reform FOREVER.

    Lieberman Belongs To Aetna (none / 0) (#49)
    by norris morris on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 05:16:46 PM EST
    Simple. Lieberman has received well over a million from Connecticut's Healthcare giant, Aetna.

    He would not be part of the conversation as he has been pro Bush for a long time.

    But guess what?  He was given the plum  Chair of Homeland Security Committee WITHOUT EXTRACTING A COMMITTMENT FROM HIM.

    Politics 101. Since this didn't happen ole Joe is doing whatever he pleases and naturally backing the interests of Aetna and the Insurance Monopoly.
    Joe is paid for.  Are the Democrats totally inept or am I missing something?


    No (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:22:59 AM EST
    Just stupid.

    Tom Tomorrow is not someone who has ever impressed me.


    BTW (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:23:48 AM EST
    Did you click the "look it up" link I provided? Cuz, you know, you could, um, look it up.

    I guess it was luck, or karma or something (none / 0) (#29)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 01:31:27 PM EST
    that the 2000 election turned out as it did.  Yes, we got George Bush and all that meant but we didn't get Joe Lieberman running against 'the one' and splitting the Democratic Party.

    I can't quite picture Obama making Joe SOS, adding him to his team of rivals.  I could be wrong, though.

    I'll never forgive Al Gore for choosing Lieberman.  Does anyone have a link to what the Hell he was really thinking?  Then or now?

    Guess I'll go visit the incomparable one...

    You can't be serious! (none / 0) (#31)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 01:54:19 PM EST
    You prefer the 8 years of misery, death and disgrace that GWB
    brought us to an Al Gore-Lieberman administration?



    Probably not. But if you (none / 0) (#34)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 02:26:06 PM EST
    don't know how to play "what if," then I can't explain it to you.

    Don't you ever think about what might have happened if any given election had come out differently than it did?  Problem is, most people only imagine what good things would have been different.  Trust me, there is usually a downside.

    And yes, I'd prefer Al Gore to GWB any day and twice on Sundays...but Lieberman running around the world playing 'president in waiting?'  Not so much.


    Thanks for the clarification (none / 0) (#48)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 05:11:19 PM EST
    Sure, I play "what if.."  all the time, in fact, but rarely in the negative direction.  What if Teresa Lepore had designed a proper ballot?  What if Ralph Nader had had the common sense and good grace to drop out?  What if the Democratic Party ran its primaries on a one-person, one-vote basis?  

    So many possibilities... but we are where we are, aren't we?


    Sigh...yup... (none / 0) (#50)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 01:46:47 AM EST
    It does kind of sound like a Nader voter (none / 0) (#38)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:24:53 PM EST
    in 2000 who didn't learn anything from the 8 years of Bush, that said I don't think that's what they meant.

    That's right. It's not what I meant. (none / 0) (#42)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:42:09 PM EST
    See comment above.

    No link (none / 0) (#39)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:27:23 PM EST
    But in a word FLORIDA

    Lieberman & Obama (none / 0) (#47)
    by norris morris on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 05:08:52 PM EST
    The stupidity of the democratic leadership, and Obama as er, leader that never demanded a committment from Lieberman before they gave him Chairmanship of Homeland Security Committee, is hard to believe.

    The Democrats are having trouble with the business of governing, ignoring their base,and not addressing job creation and Financial Regulations as first things to attack.

    Obama has not made real committments about healthcare and his political games seem to revolve around getting re elected. Doing it all at once doesn't work as we have seen.

    Obama has been a weak,timid, and unfocused leader.
    It's the economy, stupid. And with the same jokers that gave us this financial denacle under Bush running our economy under Obama, it really isn't good.

    What happened to regulation? Job creation programs? Why was flaky Joe Lieberman allowed to get a juicy chairmanship without firm committments from him?

    This is an extremely naive administration. No one will vote for a president who cannot control his party and waits in the wings for political cover.

    Lieberman situation is especially galling when he walked off with the Boardwalk for free.

    And what did Obama talk about today???

    He travelled and talked about......Education!

    Obama must stop kissing the asses of republicans and dreaming his illusions of faux bi-partisanship.  Without a realistic and agressive agenda followed by capable execution, the democrats will be toast.