If you’ve been paying any attention to Joe Leiberman over the past ten years, you know that his dearest dream is to serve in a Republican administration under John McCain.
Even Joe knows the Vice Presidency would never fly, but SecDef, or even Secretary of Urban Sort of Housing Kind of Stuff — Lieberman believes this is well within his grasp.
And so Lieberman’s been running hard to the Right for the last two years, trying to get with the Program before McCain makes his own last run up the mountain.
On Iraq, Lieberman has gamely echoed McCain, and McCain has dutifully echoed Bush, the only man who can put him over the top in the Deep Southern primaries. Places like South Carolina, where Bush can still talk about the War on Terror without eliciting giggles.
Trickle-down ass-kissing, we might as well call it.
But suddenly, there’s a problem for Lieberman: Ned Lamont. Lamont is a Democrat, see. He wants the US out of Iraq. And Lamont has managed to force a primary showdown with Lieberman later this summer.
Lieberman responded with some dignity, like a United States Senator.
No, just kidding: he unleashed a barrage of attack ads, and now Lamont has fired back, with an ad morphing Lieberman’s words, and George Bush’s face.
If your feelings about Bush match VDB’s, it should give you a serious case of the willies. (Quicktime is here; Windows Media here.)
It’s worth noting the historical ironies here. In 1994, the year of the Republican tsunami, Bill Clinton was deeply unpopular nationwide, yet he insisted on campaigning actively in the midterms. Clinton found it impossible to believe that his personal intervention could be a net negative for aspiring or incumbent Democrats.
But so it was, and GOP strategists morphed Democrats with Clinton’s face in attack ads from Seattle to Sarasota.
Now, history looks to be repeating itself — we hope (there was no Diebold constituency to factor in back in ‘94, for example).
Only two things are painfully clear: Lieberman must go, and he must go in the most humiliating way possible. A narrow loss to Lamont in the Democratic primary, and then — after a desperate and embarrassing run as an Independent — the final blow in November.
Then, and only then, will VDB be able to drive all the way straight down to New York City, without feeling obligated to make that double-wide circle through Pennsylvania and New Jersey.