So sure, laugh it up, Big Joe. You’ll keep your coveted Chair over at Homeland Security. And Democrats won’t spank you publicly. And Fox News will continue to refer to you as “Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman,” rather than “Connecticut-For-Lieberman Senator Joe Lieberman.” But the folks back home are not amused. From The Hill:
54 percent of Connecticut voters said they disapproved of the way Lieberman is handling his job, while 38 percent said they approved. The numbers are the lowest approval ratings Lieberman has faced since the poll started tracking his popularity.
“This is the highest disapproval rating in any Quinnipiac University poll in any state for a sitting U.S. senator – except for New Jersey’s Robert Torricelli, just before he resigned in 2002,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. And of course, this makes it all the more likely that Big Joe will feel constrained to support the bulk of the coming Democratic legislative agenda. Very publicly support. If VDB had to bet, this is what we’d bet:
1) Obama comes out with either his first or second signature bill, either the massive public works bill Pelosi has promised on Inauguration Day, or the health-care revamp scheduled for later in the year.
2) The national press begins the vote whipping, and they realize that this one is a nail-biter in the Senate. It’s beginning to look like Clinton’s first budget package, but this time it’s Big Joe, rather than Bob Kerrey, who begins the highly public shilly-shallying. Lieberman mugs for the press for weeks, looking like he’s going through extreme cramping, lamenting the high price tag, fiscal discipline, yada yada.
3) Kerrey reportedly went out to the movies in order to make his decision, with “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” on the bill. For his turn in the spotlight, Big Joe opts for “Austin Powers IV,” which will apparently be written almost entirely from Dr. Evil’s point of view.
4) Lieberman strides into the Senate Chamber, votes “aye” and commences a period of strained but public friendship with Obama.
5) Lieberman’s numbers soar back in Connecticut, reaching the low to mid-40’s. [Hat-tip to Seeds of Doubt for the creepy but arguably accurate image above]
Late Update, 3:21 pm:
Oh, and don’t miss tonight’s big vote on “censure” at the Connecticut Democratic Party’s statewide confab (apparently the two forms of the resolution being circulated have had the actual word “censure” removed, while retaining the facts of the matter, that Lieberman induces hair loss and nausea in most rank-and-file Democrats). News as details warrant.
Later Update, Thursday, 10:33 am:
Okay, so details now warrant. You guessed it: the CT State committee decided to issue a stern letter, with no other punishment. Oh, and they threw in some Cadbury chocolates for Big Joe, to make it clear that there were no hard feelings.
Now, that’s amore.