Sen. Joe Lieberman lost not only his re-election this week but also all of his political power and capital. As I was watching CNN earlier this week I couldn’t help but notice how one reporter claimed Joe Lieberman was the most powerful man on the hill that day. She was wrong. He is the least powerful. And here’s why:
True power does not stand alone. If Joe Lieberman had any real influence he would not be standing alone in his opposition to the Medicare expansion and/or public option.
Recent Polls from Connecticut indicate that folks in his home are seeing him quite differently now and Democrats especially no longer trust him. If he’s doing what his constituencies wanted he would be more popular with them and that would translate to power. After all – even politicians bought by corporations need to get elected. (darn that Democracy)
Joe Lieberman is desperate in a manner rarely seen in Politics. He left his own party and split his home state ticket to assure job security – possibly hoping that a conservative Democrat would replace President Bush (he did not see Obama coming) – and with that Joe would regain some political capital and influence with a like minded administration. That didn’t happen.
And let’s not forget that the Republican’s do not like Joe Lieberman. He’s about as popular as his best friend John McCain with them – useful perhaps in a Party crisis. And as the Republican party realigns itself to the far right (an odd decision that shows their lack of power, but that’s for another blog) Joe Lieberman’s chances of being welcomed warmly into the arms of the RNC is not likely.
And Joe’s also the least powerful man on the hill because it is a lose/lose for him. If Health Care passes without the Public Option or some replacement name for it (Medicare expansion, etc) It’s Joe’s fault.
If Health Care passes and manages to include a public option, he’s spent so many months being against it, his voters will question his integrity and sincerity – and that’s if he changes his mind suddenly and votes for it. Ultimately he will be unable to run away from his prior position of being against the public option.
And if Health Reform passes with a public option but without Lieberman voting for it, he will be on the losing end of a popular piece of legislation. And his inability to stop it will be the bumper sticker for his opponent for re-election. People vote on leadership, not stubbornness.
Now why is Lieberman making this huge mistake? A power play with no real power?
Joe doesn’t know what era it is. He is playing by a 1900’s paradigm. He thinks Cable News is new. And he doesn’t understand that memories, though short, can be jogged with a simple YouTube montage.
Way to go Joe!