Feel the Joementum

I wonder what he will choose to do:

Joe Lieberman essentially has two options for 2012: Retire or become a Republican.

The Connecticut senator and Democratic exile hasn’t made up his mind whether to seek a fifth term, Lieberman and those close to him say. But if he does, the GOP ticket appears to offer his best shot at reelection.

“That’s his only hope,” said John Olsen, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and a former state Democratic chairman.

Even that, Olsen and others involved in Connecticut politics say, looks like a long shot. But no other avenue appears to be open to the 68-year-old Lieberman, who won a three-way contest in 2006 after losing the Democratic primary to a challenger from the left, Ned Lamont.

Knowing Joe, he would not be content to switch to the GOP without a grand pronouncement that the party left him, so if he does switch, it will probably be early next year, and he will just cherry-pick some issue that he knows the Democrats are going to win on, whine about it, and then announce that he can in good conscience no longer remain a Democrat. The only question is what the issue will be…

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69 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    i beg of you… please, can we allow 2011 to happen before we start obsessing about 2012 ?

  2. 2
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    It’s obvious: Government debt. Like every other Republican, he can claim to care about it without actually doing anything.

  3. 3

    John, just curious, but…Lieberman is an Independent, isn’t he? So why do I still see him listed as a “D” in some media coverage?

    Still, thanks for this.

  4. 4
    Ash Can says:

    I think Lieberman’s far too much of a drama queen to retire, so switching parties it is. And I’m in agreement that it’ll be with a great deal of fanfare, and happily hyped ad nauseum by all the news outlets.

  5. 5
    Martin says:

    And it looks like the only way for Snowe and Collins to win their re-election bids is to become Democrats. Politico writing about that? No. I’m shocked.

  6. 6
    Sly says:

    You’re missing one key point: Retiring from office allows Lieberman to spend more time with his family. That family being John McCain and David Gregory.

  7. 7
    New Yorker says:

    Wait, Lieberman become a Republican? He’ll get primaried in a heartbeat. Yes, he wants to bomb the shit out of brown people, but many, many of his other stances will make him persona non grata with the lunatics who got Angle and O’Donnell on the GOP ticket.

    He’s finished.

  8. 8
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The only question is what the issue will be…

    The issue will be bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

  9. 9
    The Mick says:

    Lieberman vs. Linda McMahon for the Republican senate nomination in 2012,ugh.

  10. 10
    eric says:

    explain to me how any non-troglodyte switches to the GOP in any state and does not get tea bagged. The Connecticut GOP is not more liberal than Delaware’s GOP and Joe would have to win the GOP primary…not gonna happen.

    ETA: New Yorker beat me to it.

  11. 11
    ChrisS says:

    I can’t understand why he would want to continue. 2010 onward is going to be fucking ugly and there will have to be some incredibly unpalatable decisions that need to be made. Retire, take on a consulting gig with Goldman or a massive law firm and reap the rewards of a lifetime of political connections.

  12. 12
    Jose Padilla says:

    The Democrats probably want him to switch parties. If he switches to the Repubs, he gets tea-partied and that’s the end of Joe. If he runs as an independent, he might siphon off enough moderate votes to make the Republican candidate the winner.

  13. 13
    catclub says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: “The issue will be bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. ”

    The issue will be repaying the Connecticut based insurance companies backing bombing Iran.

    Fixed for ya.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    @Sly: FTW!

  15. 15
    DonkeyKong says:

    After a bender of manischewitz and watching Patton on his DVD machine, in his half passed out night terror on the couch, Clinton’s penis laughs at him on the floor of a darkend senate chamber.

  16. 16
    Fuck! A Duck says:

    Speaking of bombing Iran, PoliticsDaily.com (sorry, don’t have the link) has a three-part series that is trying to rehab the Image of the B-1 bomber as a necessary aircraft for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

  17. 17
    LanceThruster says:

    And this is the douchenozzle that the Dems thought was the best VP choice in 2000? What remarkably incompetent judges of character.

  18. 18
    Culture of Truth says:

    Why can’t he run as an Independent again?

  19. 19
    wasabi gasp says:

    Linda McMahon already started her campaign. She’s currently running a Happy Thanksgiving commercial. <insert turkey joke here>

  20. 20
    LanceThruster says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    That sounds about right.

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    Not too far OT, but for some reason I keep seeing Gov Pataki on my TV screen. He is one of the most loathsome politicians I have seen in recent times. And that’s saying something.

  22. 22
    lamh31 says:

    My Lord, My Lord, this woman is just stupid.

    AUDIO: Sarah Palin: “We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies”

    OH, and how soon before the quitta tweets about this:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA TO BARBAR WALTERS: I don’t think about Sarah Palin

    President Obama to Barbara Walters: ‘I Don’t Think About Sarah Palin’
    In an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters from the White House, President Barack Obama says he’s not giving much thought to the 2012 election, but is focusing instead on being “the best possible president.” And, he said, he certainly isn’t focused on a potential challenge from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
    When asked specifically if he thinks he can beat Sarah Palin in 2012, the president told Walters “I don’t think about Sarah Palin.”

    I should hope that our President has better things to do than think about Sarah Palin

  23. 23
    danimal says:

    If he’s as good as he thinks he is, he’ll grandstand on a hot button Middle East issue as preparation for a run at higher office….Prime Minister of Israel.

    No, I’m not anti-Semitic (in fact, I’m partially Semitic), but it’s fairly obvious that Holy Joe’s passion is not centered in American politics any more. He’s burned his bridges beyond repair.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:


    And this is the douchenozzle that -the Dems- Al Gore’s team thought was the best VP choice in 2000? What remarkably incompetent judges of character.

  25. 25
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Sly: It’s like some nightmarish version of “Big Love.”

    Also you forgot Lindsey Graham.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: I lived in NY state for nearly his whole reign and I also would like to slap his mouth full of quarters.

    A no-idea idiot who managed not to get caught with hookers or have a big scandal. I guess that means he was a success.

    Heard a clip of him from the other day saying how mean Obama was being to big business.

    Hey George, fuck you.

  27. 27
    Poopyman says:

    The party already left Lieberman. Anybody remember remember the Lieberman Party of One?

    He has no chance of winning an election. His unfavorables is too high, and I doubt they’ll get any better.

  28. 28
    drkrick says:

    @Culture of Truth: He won as an Independent in ’06 because the GOP didn’t expect Lieberman to be primaried off the Dem ticket and nominated a placeholder candidate. They won’t clear the field for him on purpose in ’12, and with serious candidates for both the Dems and the GOP in the race there’s not enough room left for him to win. And as mentioned above, if there’s anything left of the Tea Party dynamic a year from now Joe’s chances for the GOP nomination are pretty slim.

  29. 29
    Punchy says:

    What’s Sullivan’s take on this switcheroo?

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    @Jose Padilla:

    The Democrats probably want him to switch parties.

    The Democrats in the state of Connecticut? Or the Democrats in the Senate? Because – and correct me if I am wrong – I was pretty sure everyone from Chuck Schumer to then-Senator Barak Obama campaigned for Lieberman in 2006. I didn’t see any support coming out of the DSCC for Ned Lamont.

  31. 31
    maya says:

    He’ll become the TV voice for Tylenol(R) Sinus Congestion & Pain relief.

  32. 32
    inkadu says:

    @Jose Padilla: Not so sure. CT isn’t much of a tea party state. The last Republican senate candidate was a boring old rich lady and she easily won the primary without promising any crazy.

    @Marc McKenzie: Yes, Lieberman is independent, but he caucuses with the Democrats, so some lazy news outlets feel it’s OK to put a D after his name. Plus he still has all his old committee assignments under the Democrats. If the national party had a pair, Joe Lieberman could be a lot more independent than he is now.

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @Corner Stone: Al Gore was maintaining the marriage between the old school liberal Dems and the DLC conservative Dems. One of us, one of them. Clinton was a new school conserva-Dem who picked up Gore. Gore returned the favor by picking up Lieberman.

    Also, Lieberman was supposed to help with fundraising.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    I’ll say one thing for the Republicans, they are masters at message discipline. It doesn’t matter if it’s a crony robot like Pataki, or a frosh Congressman-elect, they all say the the same things, no matter what question is asked.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Zifnab: IMO, he picked him as a stark refudiation of Bill Clinton. He was sending a message that his administration would not be ethically challenged as the Clinton WH was. As well as saying he wasn’t Clinton’s buttboy.

  36. 36
    New Yorker says:


    Gaffe about our “allies” aside, it’s obvious from that audio clip that she still doesn’t have a clue about the geopolitical situation on the Korean Peninsula. I think my favorite thing about her is the way she tries to cover up her total ignorance by throwing out as many buzzwords as possible, regardless of whether they make sense in a sentence. It’s like watching a 6th grader try to fake his way through an oral report on salamanders in science class.

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @New Yorker:

    I think my favorite thing about her is the way she tries to cover up her total ignorance by throwing out as many buzzwords as possible, regardless of whether they make sense in a sentence.

    But that’s how all of them talk. She may be guilty of a little more per average but it’s evident in the way all of them speak.
    I think we’ve covered this before here, but it’s like their audience only has the ability to grasp sound byte level bursts, then they take those catch phrases and decode them in their heads.
    The Republican party essentially speaks in catch phrase.
    I think someone here referenced the excellent Star Trek TNG episode “Darmok“, regarding a race of beings that use phrases to express all meaning.

  38. 38
    suzanne says:

    The only question is what the issue will be…

    I dunno ’bout y’all, but for me, the issue is his damn eyelids.

    I just want to whisper in his ear, “Plastic surgery is okaaaaaaaay…”

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: Reminds me of that time Bart Simpson had to do a book review of a book he obviously hadn’t read.


  40. 40
    YellowDog says:

    You have Lieberman’s number.

    If McMahon runs again, that’s a lot of money to go against in the Republican primary. Plus, he would have to disavow his DINO credentials to satisfy the Tea Party. Once that happens, he will have to vote straight Republican in the Senate. When he abandons his vote as a bargaining chip, the Democratic leadership can kick him to the curb and he will likely lose his committee chair. If the Senate goes Republican, there would be no guarantees because the Republican leadership would have more reliable members to chair committees.

    Retirement could mean a gig on Faux Noise as their “liberal” commentator. He would be able to continue to whine on camera and make big bucks in the process.

    Retirement seems to be his only option, to go out with whatever shreds of dignity he has left.

  41. 41
    sukabi says:

    he’s 68, in 2012 he’ll be 70, and will have his congressional retirement package well in hand… it’s not like he’s being forced to work till he’s 70 in order to collect a tiny social security allotment…

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t see why he wouldn’t just run as “independent” again, and count on a three-way race, which worked for Murkowski but not for Crist.

    (ETA: It would provide ample opportunity for lamenting “partisanship.” And no one laments like Joe Lieberman.)

  43. 43
    ET says:

    I don’t see why he won’t run as he is now. Some of this depends on who runs as the party candidate for both of the other parties.

    I don’t know how much the tea party will influence the GOP choice and depending on the candidate that could be a big deal. The Dems, if they choose right, might be able to pull some of the former Lieberman voters away – though that isn’t certain. I don’t have a feel for how much the voters for Lieberman were and are wed to him. I assume he won last time because he pulled more GOP votes last time which if the candidate is too extreme, could happen again.

  44. 44
    debbie says:

    The only question is what the issue will be…

    Something significant, like taking offense at the Democrats’ announcing they’ll introduce the repeal of DADT on the Sabbath.

  45. 45
    John PM says:

    Lieberman and McCain are why I am now in support of term limits. After a certain point, Senators and Representatives can do nothing useful and are just hanging onto their jobs. And yes, I know that I am assuming a lot by implying that they actually can do something useful at any point in their careers.

  46. 46
    xian says:

    weren’t Clinton, Gore, and Lieberman all DLC?

  47. 47
    Chris G says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Apparently the “Connecticut for Lieberman” line he ran on is not only no longer an option, whatever new “party” he created could not, by CT law, include the words “Connecticut” or “Lieberman.”

    I have to wonder if Obama wouldn’t be willing to offer Lieberman some appointed position to help him not lose face by running and losing.

  48. 48
    salacious crumb says:

    Joe is one of the most solid rabid right wing pro-Israel supporter’s in the Senate. when he was running against Lamont, he got a lot of support and funding from pro-Israel advocacy groups. This being despite Lamont’s position on Israel being no different than Joe’s. There is no way Joe is ever losing this Senate seat, Republican, Democrat or Independent. Obama knows this, which is why he kowtows to Joe’s whims

  49. 49
    catclub says:

    “When he abandons his vote as a bargaining chip, the Democratic leadership can kick him to the curb ”

    Important if true!

  50. 50
    RyMaN600 says:

    There’s one thing that tells you everything you need to know about ol’ Joe: His independent party was actually called “Connecticut for Lieberman”, not the other way around.

    He’s a full-blown egomaniac.

  51. 51
    shortstop says:


    He began his full-time lobbying career for pharma and insurance in 2006 (the full-time part; he’s had the gig much longer). Now he’ll just have the title to go with it.


    I won’t allow my hound to watch him on TV. She gets so envious of his lips and jowls.

  52. 52
    Huggy Bear says:

    Yup, if he switches before election, who will give up a committee seat for him? If he doesn’t have seniority, why would CT bother to vote for him? His charisma?

  53. 53
    Triassic Sands says:

    Joe Lieberman essentially has two options for 2012: Retire or become a Republican.

    And he has to do one of those two because running and winning as an independent in 2006 worked out so poorly for him? It seems highly unlikely that Joe would attempt to return as a Democrat, but he already has a winning model to emulate — himself.

    Running as an “independent” might even garner him lots of positive media attention (Broder, et al.)

    I don’t know what the polling in Connecticut says about Joe’s popularity, but changing parties isn’t likely to make him more popular. So, why aren’t his choices 1) run as an independent; 2) run as a Republican; or 3) retire?

    (Three sounds awfully good to me. Go for it, Joe!)

  54. 54
    shortstop says:

    @salacious crumb: I don’t think so. The point of outside money in elections is to afford the media buys that change/make up voters’ minds. Even that can’t work when a candidate is massively unpopular. Connecticut voters of every party are right sick and tired of Joe and have expressed bitter buyer’s remorse. He will not get reelected in Connecticut.

  55. 55
    shortstop says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    I don’t know what the polling in Connecticut says about Joe’s popularity

    From the PPP poll I linked to above (October 2010):

    Only 24% of voters in the state say they would vote to reelect Lieberman in 2012 to 66% who say they will vote to replace him. Majorities of Democrats (72%), independents (63%), and Republicans (61%) alike say it’s time to swap out Lieberman for someone new.

    Lieberman is one of the most unpopular Senators in the country, with only a 31% approval rating and 57% of voters disapproving of his job performance. He’s on slightly favorable ground with Republicans at a 46/41 approval rating. But he’s lost virtually any remaining support he had with Democrats at a 20/69 approval and independents are against him as well, by a 31/56 spread.

    If I recall correctly, Republicans make up a much smaller proportion of the CT electorate than independents.

  56. 56
    shortstop says:


    Because – and correct me if I am wrong – I was pretty sure everyone from Chuck Schumer to then-Senator Barak Obama campaigned for Lieberman in 2006.

    Obama endorsed and campaigned for Lieberman before the primary. After Lamont won, Obama gave Lamont a lukewarm endorsement and $5,000 but didn’t campaign for him.

    Later, Lieberman’s campaign staff told the story of having literally begged for Obama’s pre-primary endorsement, which they characterized as a “lifesaver.” Lieberman, angry (with his characteristic self-absorption) that Obama wouldn’t endorse anyone but the Democratic candidate after the primary (although Obama had given him the gift of not enthusiastically supporting or campaigning for Lamont), repaid Obama by backing John McCain for the presidency in 2008.

  57. 57
    aimai says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yeah, I remember a really good discussion of that episode (which I’ve never seen)–its not that they speak in cliches its that they speak and think mythically, in stories. You have to know the story and its common interpretation to grasp the implicit analogy they are making. In the case of the teabaggers it goes like this: memorize a faulty version of american history, refer to iconic moments/people/phrases as a sort of total burst of information that your listener decodes.

    This just came up when Palin seems to have observed that Abigail Adams famous “remember the ladies” letter to her husband, –which actual human beings who read the actual fucking letter knows was a plea to grant women civil rights equivalent to that of men because the absolute power of the patriarchy was guaranteed to work out badly for some women just as the power of the slave master works out badly for the slave–was some kind of plea to remain in a subordinate position in a middle class leave it to beaver style family. Because there’s no such thing as original thinking or original thought on that side of the aisle you can bet this is actually some bit of common wisdom that is being punted around out there. From now on expect to see Abigail Adams understood and referenced not as a proto feminist but as a submissive christian wife.


  58. 58
  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: It will be something related to Israel & how we are failing her. All said in a droopy dog voice.

  60. 60
    Paul in KY says:

    @LanceThruster: VP Gore, in one of his bone-headed decisions, thought Mopey Joe was the best man to fire up us libs.

  61. 61

    @shortstop: Do you remember who were the only Democrats that unabashedly campaigned(or endorsed) Lamont in ’06? IIRC, it was only Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and a few others.

  62. 62
    Paul in KY says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I think he’ll probably do that. The key will be the Repubs have to nominate a complete loser (like they did in 2006).

  63. 63
    Allan says:

    Can we get DADT repealed, THEN resume bashing Lieberman? Thanks!

  64. 64
    Andre says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I think someone here referenced the excellent Star Trek TNG episode “Darmok“, regarding a race of beings that use phrases to express all meaning.

    Shaka when the walls fell!

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:


    Shaka when the walls fell!

    I was going to end my post using that phrase but I couldn’t figure out how to convey the sadness that goes with it.
    “Shaka…when the walls fell :-(”
    Just doesn’t seem to quite get there.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @aimai: This wasn’t the conversation I was remembering but this comment I found from El Cid is pretty darn close. Not to mention funny to boot.
    WINGNUT: Hannity’s mouth filled with Alinksy!

  67. 67
    BC says:

    As I recall from 2006, Connecticut doesn’t allow someone to run as an Independent – Joe had to create the Connecticut for Lieberman party and get that on the ballot with him as the senate candidate. But the CfL party is now controlled by anti-Lieberman forces, so there’s no way for him to use that strategem in 2012. He’ll have to come up with Joe Is Cool party then, and get enough signatures to put it on the ballot with him as the candidate. Not easy with low favorables. Funny, isn’t it, that Joe can’t be the candidate for the two parties he’s run on?

  68. 68
    Acharn says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I don’t think bombing Iran (or just its nuclear facilities) is going to come up until late in 2011, say November or December. I think Obama has decided to start the war in March or April 2012, to make sure he’s widely seen as a War President in time for the election. Since Obama’s going to pre-empt that issue, I don’t think that would work for Lieberman. Oh, wait, yeah, he can make a big deal out of becoming a Republican to protest Obama’s indifference to the danger, and then claim that his action moved Obama to action. Yeah, that’ll work.

  69. 69
    Triassic Sands says:


    Thanks for the polling data. If true, then good for the Nutmeggers, though they have much to answer for for re-electing him in 2006.

    Few people deserve involuntary retirement more than holier-than-thou-Joe. Even fewer ever get it. I hope if Joe chooses to run again in 2006, that the Nutmeggers will humiliate him at the polls.

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