Politico ain’t too happy about it – yeah, I’m broken up about that, too – but Linda McMahon seems to be making it a race over in CT-SEN. I particularly enjoyed this bit from Joe Lieberman:
Even retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said Murphy has a ways to go to catch up with McMahon. Lieberman, who is staying neutral in the race, cited McMahon’s effective campaigning and the state’s independent streak. More than two in five voters is registered as unaffiliated.
“It looks like a closer race than most people would have guessed … She’s smart, capable. And what can I say, but she’s obviously getting her message across better this time. Also, to be fair, Dick Blumenthal was a very formidable candidate,” Lieberman told POLITICO.
Short version of the background: Operation Fast & Furious was a botched Department of Justice operation where the federal government catastrophically mucked up a program ostensibly designed to curtain illegal gun running to Mexico by… sustaining, encouraging, and enabling gun running to Mexico. Several hundred people have died as a result – including at least one American law enforcement official – and now questions are being asked in Congress.
Including questions by Homeland Security Chair Joe Lieberman (CT). The Daily Caller reports that the retiring Senator has instructed his staff to ‘examine’ the circumstances regarding interagency ‘miscommunication’ with regard to the Fast & Furious program; which is actually somewhat worrisome to the White House, once you translate the announcement from Political Washingtonian to Standard English. Specifically, the Daily Caller was told by a spokesman that Senator Lieberman “believe[s] that the lack of interagency coordination along the border merits further examination, and as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he has directed his staff to follow up with the relevant federal agencies on that topic.” In other words, Senator Lieberman has already determined that somebody in the federal government is to blame; indeed, probably a whole flock of somebodies. The only questions are, how many somebodies; and (not incidentally) how many careers are going to get blighted as a subtle hint (and Horrible Example) for the next generation of federal bureaucrats. Continue reading Joe Lieberman inserts himself into Operation Fast & Furious.
That’s the scuttlebutt, and it’s not really surprising; you can only be hated on a visceral level by your own party for so long before the strain gets to be too much*. Puts the total in the Senate up to three, so far:
CT (Lieberman) – probable Democratic hold
ND (Conrad) – presumed Republican pickup
TX (Hutchison) – Republican hold
…and no, we’re not going to take that Republican hold for granted. Although I expect that the DSCC will spend a ridiculous amount of money chasing that phantom.
PS: I don’t expect that the first wave of House retirement announcements to start for a while yet.
*And we’re talking hatred, here. You think that the Ladies from Maine are despised by the GOP base? That loathing is a pallid, empty thing when compared to what the netroots routinely say about Lieberman.
Lieberman Digs In on Public Option
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, speaking in that trademark sonorous baritone, utters a simple statement that translates into real trouble for Democratic leaders: “I’m going to be stubborn on this.”
Stubborn, he means, in opposing any health-care overhaul that includes a “public option,” or government-run health-insurance plan, as the current bill does. His opposition is strong enough that Mr. Lieberman says he won’t vote to let a bill come to a final vote if a public option is included.
…but I cannot resist asking: does anybody over on the Other Side sometimes, ah, regret, aiming at a king – and missing? I ask because this is the second time that Lieberman has been the grit in the gears for progressives: the last time was during the pre-Surge period, of course. His mere presence in the 110th Congress meant that Harry Reid couldn’t shut down the war before we could implement the standard American victory strategy*. And now he seems happy to do it for government-option health care. There’s obviously sound reasons for it – he goes into them – but, really, there’s a certain amount of blood-soaked revenge going on here.
I’ll spare you the lie about how I’m not enjoying this. I am. Even though I know that we’re still on track to get a no-public-option, no-abortion-funding monstrosity of a health care bill; honestly at this point there’s a certain fascination to seeing how much excrement that Congressional Democrats can dump on the sandwich and still be able to get its base to eat it.
*Systematically flail about until we come across a working solution, then throw our essentially infinite logistics behind said solution and descend upon the enemy like an asteroid from orbit. It’s not the most elegant strategy out there, but it works.
No, seriously: successful. You see, by Mary Katharine Ham’s count Reid only explicitly lost Senators Lieberman and Lincoln from his own caucus, and Senators Collins & Snowe from ours for his clumsy and ill-planned advocacy of a government ‘public’ option in the Senate health care rationing bill. It was not unreasonable to expect that Reid would not only alienate those four, but Senators Ben Nelson and Landrieu as well; so if one looks at this result and squints it sort of looks like a win for the Senate Majority Leader. If one grades on the curve, that is.
Then again, while the question is not yet moot, there’s a certain amount of mootness creeping in right now…
WASHINGTON – An independent senator counted on by Democrats in the health care debate showed signs of wavering Sunday when he urged President Barack Obama to postpone many of his initiatives because of the economic downturn.
“I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy’s out of recession,” said Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. “There’s no reason we have to do it all now, but we do have to get started. And I think the place to start is cost health delivery reform and insurance market reforms.”
…except to note three things:
Sen. Lieberman’s not, strictly speaking, against health care rationing per se; he’s just worried about what will happen to the Democrats and this administration if the House leadership keeps screaming-and-leaping on the issue. Which is a very reasonable worry, but it’s not a particularly conservative-friendly one.
That being said: if ‘health delivery reform and insurance market reforms’* can be extended to include Rep. Shadegg’s (R) ‘allowing customers to buy personal insurance across state lines‘ and Rep. Ryan’s ‘meaningful tort reform” (neither are negotiable, of course)… sure, those two features are excellent things with which to assemble a workable health care bill around. A pity that House Democrats didn’t think things through from the start, but that’s life.
I imagine that not a few members of the netroots ground their teeth at the sight of, once again, Senator Lieberman… actually, that sentence works just fine as is.
Ed Morrissey heard laughter in the above: I’m not as sure, but if it is there it’s both understandable and justified. Joe Lieberman’s taken a lot of garbage from Pelosi’s ideological cohorts over the years, and even though he’s easily given better than he’s gotten the thought of a little more payback is clearly not an unwelcome one. In fact, I think that Lieberman’s enjoying this more than the neocons are, and we’re wondering whether Hoyer’s going to try to get Pelosi removed, or just neutralized.
Personally, I’m for a nice grudge war where I can root for injuries.
Watching the video (H/T: AoSHQ) of the press conference was fascinating, particularly the parts where the Speaker of the House kept harping on weapons of mass destruction as if the subject was relevant. She looked for all the world like a pigeon who had been trained to peck at a button in exchange for birdseed; only, she kept pecking the button, and no birdseed was coming out…