The Real Joe Lieberman

Sunday, August 06, 2006

As much as I hate to dwell on a political race I cannot vote in, I can't take my eyes off the spectacle of Holy Joe. As much as I despise his cheerleading for the illegal war in Iraq and his corporate toadying, I think what I hate most is his faux "nice guy" routine. He's a thoroughly smarmy, political animal and every so often the toothy veneer slips just enough to show the naked careerism that truly drives him. This morning's appearance on "This Week" revealed such a moment. He bobbed and weaved through George Stephanapolous's queries about his stated ambition to run as an independant if he loses the primary. Many bloggers have taken Lieberman to task for the utter disrespect for the democratic process evident in his disregard for the voters in his own party come primary day. But if his decision to keep running no matter what his party's voters want weren't enough, this morning he made a statement that could only be described as extortion, and I think it deserves a bit of examination. In attempting to brush off Stephanapolous's question, Lieberman retorted:

"Well on the last point I say to them, the way to overcome that concern is to make sure I get the Democratic nomination."

And there you have it; the real Joe Lieberman. The implicit threat: Vote for me in the primary or I will be a spoiler. Voting me out is not an option. The only way to get what you want is if you want I want, so you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

It's called extortion. He's attempting to hold Democratic voters hostage to his ambitions. It was all of a second in a slickly handled interview, but it gives the lie to every other high-minded thing he spouts.