May 6th, 2009

Forget Arlen Specter And His Crazy Antics, Because Joe Lieberman Will Not Be Upstaged When It Comes to the Craven

by Philip Baruth

So while you had your eye on one seemingly unprincipled political shape-shifter, Arlen Specter, another even more craven opportunist was generating big, bad headlines back in his home state. A hint: this politico remains the biggest name in the burgeoning Connecticut for Leiberman Party.

That’s right, Big Joe is under fire again. Why? Well, back in the days when Lieberman was trying desperately to fend off the challenge from Ned Lamont, his campaign staffers were apparently handing out big sacks of cash to whoever could deliver the odd dozen votes here or there.

The Friends of Joe Lieberman agreed a few days ago to pay a $50,000 civil penalty, which is only mildly shocking compared to the notion that Joe Lieberman has Friends.

Just to recap, then, in the heat of the 2006 election, Joe Lieberman swore three things on his mother’s grave: 1) that Ned Lamont’s campaign had hacked his website, causing it to crash in a shower of digital dust; 2) that said Ned Lamont would stand in the way of electing a Democratic President in 2008, whereas he, Joe Lieberman, would put the Democratic nominee on a glide path to the White House; and 3) that never in High Horrible Hell did anyone on his election campaign staff hand out creased paper bags full of untraceable small bills.

Which is now a perfect record, any way you look at it.

Late Update, Wednesday 3:44 pm:

Okay, fine, let’s talk about Specter too. Much has been said and written in the last several days about Specter’s overcorrections, first Left and then Right, a dizzying few days of foot-in-mouthism that ended in Democrats voting unanimously to consider Specter a junior rather than a senior Democratic Senator.

But what’s most obvious, when you watch the man carefully, is just how out of it Specter seems to be these days.

Physically, mentally.

Take his startling insistence that his switch had most to do with avoiding a GOP primary he would lose. The first time Specter ran out that argument, everyone laughed and grimaced.

Yet Specter continues to run out this painful talking point, as though it were a profile in courage. And in this interview, he refers to his seniority (now stripped) as an “entitlement.” What working politician, with his faculties unimpaired, uses a word like that, in a situation like this?