Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Josh Marshall asks an interesting question that I don't fully understand.

I'm fascinated by it on a personal level -- or at the level where personalities and character intersect with the subterranean tides of politics. What happened to this guy? No one seems to have had any grasp of the brittleness of his hold on the support of his constituents. Was it the sting of his rejection in 2004? The possibility of getting the Sec Def nod?

Josh Marshall keeps talking about how much he likes Lieberman, what a nice guy he is and was, and how loved he was.  The narrative seems to be that this guy fell from grace, a wonderful and brilliant man beloved by all who changed recently and suddenly, becoming out of touch and angry.  I've heard it said that he is by far our smartest Senator, traditionally with the best and most loyal staff on the Hill.  

Maybe it's because I'm inexperienced in politics, but I don't get this at all.  Lieberman's justification of torture is just a flashing red light that this guy has no moral center.  But Josh isn't the only one talking as if Lieberman were once Ghandi; it's a trend among men I know that are in their thirties or above, and had a strong connection to the political establishment prior to 2001.  

To me, Lieberman's vicious and reactionary nature seems quite clear and consistent.  Everything from his right-wing culture warring against Hollywood to his sandbagging of Clinton's health care initiative in 1994 to his fights with Arthur Levitt at the SEC to ensure that accounting loopholes could remain to his preening about Lewinsky to his undermining of Gore in 2000 indicate that he was never the stalwart and principled man his supporters imagine.  I hated each of these events separately, though I never put them together until 2001, when I really started paying attention to politics.  I just sort of thought, even as a kid, who are those putzes on TV grilling carnival freak Dee Snyder?  I hated the culture war nonsense, I always thought it was fake pandering.

The thing is, there are too many folks I respect who say he was once a great and likeable man to just discount these opinions.  What's going on here?  I'm honestly curious.  Why was Lieberman ever considered a good man?  Was it just that our moral universe is totally different now because of Bush's extremism?  If you have insight on this, please let me know.

Tags: Connecticut, CT-Sen, Joe Lieberman (all tags)



Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I think you have to go way back to find it, but it's there, pre-Senate. Now it's sort of a punchline, the "you have to go back 40 years to see he's a good Democrat," but the Civil Rights-era activism is truly worth our respect. He first got into politics becasue he was on the right side of the 60s, was an effective CT legislator, and a mold-breaking activist attorney general (although the foolish squawking about discriminatory ladies nights was a harbinger of more tomfoolery to come).

Once he hit the national scene, however, he became adept at playing the interest group pandering game. It's abundantly clear that he blows in the wind on most issues, and the ones where he's acting from some personal sense of obligation are the ones he's dead wrong about. (I will say that the Clenis rebuke is being unfairly misrepresented here. It was essentially the founding document of MoveOn--censure and move on--that Lieberman was espousing.)

He's a larger symptom of what's wrong with our political conversation. He's the living exhibition that words 180 degrees from reality commonly come to describe our political landscape. Cowards are called courageous; equivocators are called principled. It's part and parcel of  a narrative which prefers to see the people squeegied out of democracy and the tenders of interest group handouts shrouded in a cloud of dust to conceal their true nature.

I'm much less sanguine than everyone else in these parts that Lamont can change any of this, that he represents anything more than the anti-Lieberman--I'll take even money that he morphs into the next Mark Dayton. The fact though that this is preferable to Lieberman speaks volumes about what Lieberman has allowed himself to become.

by KevStar 2006-07-31 05:37AM | 0 recs
Charlton Heston marched once.

Charlton Heston and Sinatra were figures who expressed solidarity for some progressive causes when they were young. for me, the real test of a person is how he behaves as he grows older.

Springsteen is in his mid 50s and he is probably as progressive as he as ever been. With age, I think you look at some realistic modifications for some of your ideals but you do not sell out and become this bitter person of how things were better in the old days.

I have no doubt Lieberman is not evil in the same mold as Cheney and Bush. THen again, I am one of those who see good in some republicans too. So it's no big deal for me to see some good in Lieberman. Lieberman keeps bringing up his scorecard, but he has yet to explain why he shows a lot more anger towards the likes of Lamont, Dean, and Michael Moore compared to likes of Cheney, Bush, and Ann Coulter. He bitterly brings up Lamont's wealth while he never made this an issue with Cheney who, unlike Lamont, made his money off of his government positions.

While I am not naive and will pronounce Lamont as a shining beacon of honest capitalism(i do not know), I have no doubt he has made his money more honestly and independently than the likes of Cheney.

by Pravin 2006-07-31 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once

Interesting comparison. Heston is an interesting figure--some liberals attacked his hobby, so every liberal thought he ever had flew out the window. Maybe that's what happened to Lieberman...

by KevStar 2006-07-31 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once

But that's one of the things about having principles - you keep having them even when you know that some of the people who share them are assholes.

I could be a liberal or I could be a misanthrope, but if I want to be part of the human race I just have to accept that there is no one among us who isn't a jackass about something, and sometimes we are jackasses about lots of things, but liberalism is still something you can do and be right.

by Avedon 2006-07-31 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once.

I honestly did not know that about Heston.  

Great point about behavior once one grows a little older.  

by weinerdog43 2006-07-31 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once.

I've become more progressive as I've grown older.  Not sure why that is, exactly, but it may have something to do with actual life experience.

by jsw 2006-07-31 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once.

As I have gotten older, I have become more progressive  on welfare recipients, gay rights.

But I have become less lefty on taxes. I think the Bush regime has accelerated my slow growing distrust in government use of money. I strongly believe in less taxes and that any new taxes should be considered carefully after the government has shown that it is handling the current revenue responsibly. I do think the current level of taxes is more than enough to provide for a lot of services for the poor and build infrastructure for the future.

by Pravin 2006-07-31 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Charlton Heston marched once.

we are at historically low levels of taxation, certainly in modern times. and, when you factor in payroll taxes etc. we have essentially a backdoor flat tax.

The problem Dems have on tax policy is they run so damned scared of the silly "class warfare" refrain. Social Security could be made solvent if they slashed the rate by one point and completely eliminated the cap. Of course, this current crop of Dems would meekly accept the MSM/Republican frame that this was a "tax increase" even though clearly the overwhelming majority of Americans (the factual kind, not the Bush circa 2000 fictional kind) would be receiving a tax break. That's just one example of our problems with perception vs. reality...

by KevStar 2006-07-31 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Maybe it's because I'm inexperienced in politics

I think that is it. Something happened to Lieberman. It took nerves of steel to travel to the deep South in the early sixties to demonstrate for civil rights. That man was a moral giant. And you still see flashes of the old brilliance, in Lieberman's work to protect the environment. If you read the technology trades you know that no one understands eGovernment, technology and the civil service than Lieberman. But something happened.

I attribute it to years of flattery, especially for be willing to criticize his own party. Moynihan pioneered this and Lieberman just walked in his footsteps. Also, politicians see the press as some sort of proxy for the voters, only recently has that begun to change.

Lieberman really lost it on impeachment, like the rest of the establishment, he really could not get it through his head that it was unpopular. And from there it was downhill.

And maybe, like to many other Americans, he just sort of lost it with 9/11.

That is my theory.

by Alice Marshall 2006-07-31 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

You're right on Moynihan; he was the Republicans' favorite Democrat before Lieberman.

Jesse Jackson called New York "Hymietown" right before the 1984 NY presidential primary in a remark that he thought was off the record and he was pilloried for it and it clung to him for many years and probably still does with some peiole.  The 1984 New York primary was all about which Democrat was strongest about moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so Jackson certainly had a point.

When Dick Cheney was in Congress in the 80's, he voted against calling on the apartheid South African government to free Nelson Mandela from prison.  But Joe Lieberman never mentioned that in the 2000 VP debate.  In fact, the Gore-Lieberman campaign never mentioned it to my knowledge.  It would have won the election for them but they were too afraid of offending white Southerners who were never going to vote Democratic anyway.  

And thats the difference.  A foolish remark that offends some Jews is grounds for hating a politician forever and ever and bringing it up every time he pops his head up.  But a politician having supported apartheid isn't even worth mentioning.

by Rowena 2006-07-31 06:38AM | 0 recs
Oh, come on!

I really, really dislike Lieberman, but...

Jesse Jackson was completely over the top with that remark.

If Mondale had refered to, say Detroit, as N___town, he would have been justifiably crucified.  His career in the Dem party would essentially have been over.  Why should some slurs be acceptable, but others vociferously rejected?

All racism is bad, and all racism should be punished.

Pinning the sensitivities of all Jews on either Israel or Lieberman is also somewhat objectionable.  The apartheid vote is hardly the only horrible thing that Cheney had in his past that Lieberman ignored in the 2000 debate.  Why focus on that, especially in contrast to a 1984 remark which had nothing to do with Joe.

by Valatan 2006-07-31 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

Well . . .  

Clinton was "over the top" getting oral sex from an intern in the Oval office, too, wasn't he?  I mean, would you REALLY say that wasn't outrageous?   Jackson also thought he was talking to someone who wouldn't repeat it.

Well, I think Clinton was outrageous but I wouldn't want to see him boiled in oil for it.  Jesse Jackson was persona non grata for years with some of the high profile Jewish Democrats in New York (people who turned out to be loonies and enablers of crooks themselves, like Ed Koch).

I think Cheney's vote on Nelson Mandela was a thousand times worse and Lieberman wouldn't call him on it.  Why aren't you outraged that Lieberman wouldn't call him on it?  

by Rowena 2006-07-31 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

Lieberman is not a high profile new york dem.  He is not a New York Dem at all.  Why should he be accountable for the actions of all Jews?  Why should all Jews be responsible for the actions of Israel? (though Joe certainly gets less help here, with his aggressive support of Israel)

The Clinton presidency/candidacy wasn't built around ending the giving of blowjobs.

Mr "Rainbow Coalition" using a racial slur, even in private, is totally hypocritical and offensive.  

Anyway, I don't get the contrast.  Lieberman sucked in so many ways in the debate, it seems weird to single out this one thing.  There is a vast array of shit that Joe did, both in the debate and outside of it that pisses me off, but the only contrast I get here is that Jackson pissed off, with good reason, some Jews in NY, and therefore, Joe, who is not from NY, should have, in the interest of making sure that Jews are equally offended about everything, been more aggressive in calling cheney out on his apartheid vote.  I don't get what one thing has to do with the other.

Not that I'm not pissed at Clinton/Gore for not running harder against Cheney when they had the chance (since he was the legitimacy builder for the bush camp), but Jackson's behavior in '84 was pretty indefensible, just from the nature of his candidacy.

by Valatan 2006-07-31 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

Which is more outrageous:  Jesse Jackson using a slur in a conversation he thought was private or Dick Cheney supporting the apartheid government of South Africa?  

I don't think its even close but it apparently didn't outrage Lieberman at all.  Jackson must have apologized for that slur a hundred times or more but there is still that lingering resentment and you know its still there.  IMO, it does reflect on "all Jews"/the "Jewish community" in the sense of complicity in humiliating a prominent black man and never letting it go.  

As to Clinton not running on ending blowjobs, oh, yes, Clinton was a hypocrite.  Remember the huge Bible he was always carrying to church?  I remember articles in the early Clinton years about how religious he was.  If Paula Jones hadn't slapped that lawsuit on him a little over a year after he took office, of course, he would have been moralizing about sex constantly.  He's the inventor of that "safe, legal and rare" line about abortion, after all. That was just moralizing and lecturing to people whose private lives were none of his business.  It was less his business if some woman had 20 abortions than it was our business that he was using an intern for oral sex in the Oval office and thats a fact.  We paid for that intern and that office but that woman has a constitutional right to her abortions.  

by Rowena 2006-07-31 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

i'm gonna go with apartheid.  now here is a tougher one - 9/11 or Iraq?  both despicable but iraq has taken far more lives in a much smaller country.  u.s. also is richer, better educated, less radical, and far more advanced than afghanistan.  hence, iraq.  

also, you lost me on clinton being a hypocrite.  you ever read the bible?  not exactly a bastion of morality.  a better argument would be that the bible served as the impetus for monica.

by hotpotatomash 2006-08-01 01:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

True.  I always knew Clinton was an Elmer Gantry-type and thats my suspicion about Lieberman and Obama and William Bennett, etc. etc. - the kind of men who talk about their "faith" so much like its a bumper sticker.

by Rowena 2006-08-01 03:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

If I were a male president, I think I'd look forward to getting a blow-job in the Oval office.  But I still wouldn't call people hymies (or kikes) or niggers or wops or whatever, because that would actually be bad.

by Avedon 2006-07-31 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

Yeah, try running for office on that.  

by Rowena 2006-07-31 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, come on!

And in all likelihood, Clinton's made many racial slurs.  He's from Arkansas and he was the protege of Sen. William Fulbright, who ran every election on "out-segging" his opponent.  If he didn't make racial slurs, he was around plenty when they were made by others and he didn't object and probably laughed along.

Same with Lieberman.  Nobody buys this Pollyanna stuff about race and racial slurs.  I'm not going to believe anybody who tells me that he/she is so pure and only has ever known and dealt with such pure people that they've never heard a racial slur and let it go.  

by Rowena 2006-07-31 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I've always wondered: When you say, "Hymie town," it sounds the same as "Jaime town." Why did everyone assume he meant Jews rather than Puerto Ricans? Or was referring to a friend in Brooklyn with one of those first names? Was it just the reporter's spelling in his transcription?

I remember a local radio talkshow host going on and on for weeks about how terrible Jackson was for that statement. Of course, he himself always referred to "the Leroys" without ever noticing his double standard.

by joyful alternative 2006-08-01 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

The analogy you draw to Moynihan is apt. Moynihan clawed his way into the Senate over the trampled bodies of several progressive Democrats who failed to get out of one another's way and split up the liberal vote in the relevant primary.

He spent several terms in the Senate not just repeating Republican talking points but, because he was actually quite intelligent and a fairly good speaker, frequently coining them.  It took forever to get rid of him and, just as with Lieberman, it was especially galling to have a powerful DINO representing New York. DINOs have their place in the Senate, no doubt, and in a big tent party, but it is just so aggravating when they occupy one of the seats from a progressive state like CY or NY.    

by Christopher Walker 2006-07-31 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I lived in NY during Moynihan's years and you are so right.  He got into the senate by grandstanding at the UN as UN ambassador, too.  

And he was an elitist who never had anything to do with the voters if he  could help it (which had the effect of making D'Amato look like a good senator).  New York's ballot access laws are the worst in the nation; half the ballot access lawsuits in the nation originate in NY, I believe.  Plus Moynihan had a Democrat governor most of the time, too, and that helped him.  Lieberman must wish he had a Democrat governor to keep those local Democratic pols in line with the power of the purse.

by Rowena 2006-07-31 07:30AM | 0 recs
"lost it with 9-11"

Agree with your statement although the seeds were there years before.

Unfortunately, so in D.C., those who "lost it on 9-11" were the "bad apples who were already cowards to principal.  For them, the downward path was easiest to run.


by Caoimhin Laochdha 2006-07-31 07:33AM | 0 recs
Staff and insiders

From what I've read in Josh's columns, I think that what's going on is that he has friends on the staff--people he respects who are being damaged by Lieberman self-immolation.

And while I wouldn't say "tragic,"  there has certainly been a train wreck quality to his campaign.  He's been jaw-droppingly incompetent in this campaign.  It's as if he just figured he'd demand the machine deny Lamont a line on the primary  ballot, and then game over. When that didn't happen, he had no other cards to play.

I may be seeing a distorted picture, reading FDL and the local bloggers, but Lieberman does seem poleaxed--unable to engage in any spontaneous interaction with voters for fear of being called out on the war.  That is itself sad to see, a sitting Senator who can't engage in interaction with voters during a reelection campaign.

Perhaps Josh is reacting to seeing a longstanding, hitherto widely respected senator just lose touch with his electorate.

by jayackroyd 2006-07-31 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

He sold out or lost his way, it doesn't matter which.

It's like Ronald Reagan's transformation from good union man to union buster and Keystone Kop Konservative.  People change, and not surprisingly the change is often in the direction of returning the favors of powerful interests.  They slowly mythologize their past and rationalize their present.

by xebecs 2006-07-31 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

This is why.  Joe Lieberman is the classic "mensch."  Although Matt's post dispels the notion the Joe Lieberman is really a mensch, I think that's how he's always been seen both by constituents and the media, and certainly his behavior illustrates the same.  Below from Wikpedia:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Mensch (Yiddish מענטש; also mentsch, mentsh, mensh, or mench, plural - mentchen) is a German noun meaning a "human".

In Yiddish (from which the word has migrated into American English), mensch roughly means "a good person." A "mensch" is a particularly good person, like "a stand-up guy," a person with the qualities one would hope for in a dear friend or trusted colleague. According to author and Yiddish popularist Leo Rosten,

by fred 2006-07-31 06:06AM | 0 recs

Could you elaborate? I don't see how those qualities apply here. A mensch is a particularly good person. Those are rare, the title is earned, and Joe's behavior during the past twenty years does not qualify him.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-07-31 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Did you just say "Never trust anyone over 30"?

by Organic George 2006-07-31 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

But I thought 40 was the new 30.

by redstar67 2006-07-31 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

no 14 is the new 30

by bruh21 2006-07-31 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Josh is on to something here.  You have to look at Lieberman's experience as Attorney General, his early Senate years and his previous experience in the 1960s and 1970s to get a good feel for what he was once like.  

The comparison of Lieberman with Pat Moynihan by a previous commenter is a good one.  Both were intellectual giants who thought through problems and were not afraid to anger people while discussing them.  Neither were reactionaries which is why people listened to them.  They were like EF Hutton - when they talked people listened because both generally took exhaustive looks at major issues before coming to a decision.  Lieberman was always more conservative than me but I liked that he would come up with creative solution to problems even if they weren't my preferred solution.  Parties need people like this even if you don't always agree with them.

I think running for VP changed Lieberman and fed the already large ego most Senators have.  As most pols do, I suspect he loved the attention and being a national player.  You have to remember the post 2000 era was the first where Lieberman had not been in either the Senate majority or in a Senate with a Dem President.  I think he cozied up to Bush because he couldn't stand sitting on the sidelines.  His personality and temperment are clearly not suited to being in the political minority.

It is clear he forgot about home base in the last 6 years which is really why he is in trouble.  Pols lose a lot more for being absent than for specific issue stances they take.  Hillary has taken very similar votes and stances on Iraq and she is going to win in a landslide because the woman is everywhere.  Hell, she was in Queens the other day during the blackout.  I bet Lieberman went to Bridgeport a few months ago for the first time in 6 years.

I wouldn't vote for the guy if I lived in CT but there is something sad when you see a pol you once respected fall to this level.

by John Mills 2006-07-31 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I just asked my mom (now a retired nurse) who was a registered Republican in CT when Lieberman first started his career and witnessed his rise all the way through his first term in the Senate. She said she never had any use for him and he was always in the middle of everything as CT AG, whether it had anything to do with the law or not. Lieberman's career as CT AG had a few successes on the enivronment and a lot of smoke and mirrors on values. Her take (and mine) is that Lieberman is hyperambitious and has always been more concerned with getting attention than govering. I can remember reading about this ruling when I was a teenager.

"The state human-rights commission has ruled that ''ladies night'' promotions discriminate against men, Attorney General Joseph I. Lieberman said today, and Connecticut bars and nightclubs are being told to discontinue them. ''Sex discrimination is illegal in Connecticut, and ladies nights discriminate against men,'' said Mr. Lieberman said. - NYT, 6/8/85

It was an issue in search of a constituency similar to so many Lieberman positions over the years on video games and rap music.

Lieberman suffered an early defeat by being tied to Jimmy Carter and called too liberal and I think it affected him the same way George W. Bush was affected by losing in a race where he was called a Connecticut elitest. He overcompensated in the extreme. He ran to the right of Lowell Weicker and for all of Lieberman's civil rights cred as a college student Lowell Weicker was getting arrested protesting apartheid in 1988. That's who Lieberman pushed out of the Senate.

Joe Lieberman is a decent but hyperambitious man who calculated his every move out of the machine politics of his CT upbringing and his desire to never again be seen as too liberal. The pinnacle of that success was getting selected VP by Al Gore based in large part by his sanctimonius attack of President Clinton. The beginning of his downfall was placing bipartisanship ahead of the needs of the ticket in a bloody recount fight.

In 2004 Lieberman got a taste of democracy in an open primary system and the results were not pretty. What David Brooks calls an inquisition other people call primaries. Primaries are supposed to represent progress, not the dark ages.  Participatory democracy is good, right?

If people want a quick history of Joe Lieberman read the NYTimes summaries in the archive below. You can see a man putting people first - himself above others - for 30 years. Here's a bit from 11/04:

"Talking about his race for the Senate six years ago, Joseph I. Lieberman recently recalled one of the lower moments. He had just left another fruitless meeting in Los Angeles to raise money, and, utterly exhausted, lay down to nap in a park, wondering if he was about to be humiliated at the polls. "I felt like Willy Loman," Mr. Lieberman said."

Lieberman has been selling himself as a sensible moderate for a long time. Like Willy Loman he's running out of buyers. timestopics/people/l/joseph_i_lieberman/ index.html?offset=0&&&&& amp;&s=oldest&

by joejoejoe 2006-07-31 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Now that ladies night quote is a classic.

by Matt Stoller 2006-07-31 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

His race for the Senate six years ago? You mean, when he was running for VP? Raising money for his Senate campaign in LA? While he was supposed to be running with Gore? Must have been humiliating for him.

by strandedlad 2006-07-31 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Lieberman suffered an early defeat by being tied to Jimmy Carter and called too liberal and I think it affected him the same way George W. Bush was affected by losing in a race where he was called a Connecticut elitest. He overcompensated in the extreme.

I've wondered about this sort of thing before: One of Strom Thurmond's few electoral setbacks, early in his career, came when he was successfully tarred with the "too liberal" brush (!), largely because of his efforts to make sure that the segregated black schools actually had, well, books (in hindsight, of course, we can now suspect why he might have been interested the issue). He reinvented himself a wee little bit and made sure that no one would ever again be able to run to the right of him.

I seem to recall that the same thing — an early defeat by someone running to the right — happened to George Wallace, too, but I'm not sure.

by Ray Radlein 2006-07-31 11:25AM | 0 recs

Couldja spell Gandhi's name correctly?

Just a minor peeve...

by Bee 2006-07-31 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Lieberman is the poster boy for the progressive movement taking the Dem. Party to task for losing its backbone.

I know you know that but I really do think it is that simple.  If it wasn't Lieberman it would have been someone else.  

A power-vacuum was created when Dems moved toward the rethugs (starting with impeachment and exploding after 9/11) and 2006 is our most successful attempt yet to re-balance the ship.  

by aiko 2006-07-31 06:27AM | 0 recs
Not tragic, just prone to tragedy

From the NYT endorsement given to Ned Lamont:

       "On the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Lieberman  has left it to Republicans like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to investigate the administration's actions. In 2004, Mr. Lieberman praised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for expressing regret about Abu Ghraib, then added: "I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized." To suggest even rhetorically that the American military could be held to the same standard of behavior as terrorists is outrageous. . ."

                             *   *   *

Holy sh*t -- what an incredibly stupid thing to say!

I was beyond furious with Al Gore for picking Lieberman as his running mate in `00.  Sadly, I have NEVER regretted voting against George Bush while also NOT voting for the 2000 Dem. ticket because it included Joe Lieberman.  

Mine was one of the few legitimately "spoiled" presidential ballots that year. (Admittedly, casting my ballot in a state where Al Gore received, by far, one of his highest vote percentages made it far easier for me to cast a "principled" (mis)vote than, for instance, someone living in Fla. or New Hampshire - still it did my soul good).

For such an allegedly pious guy, the torture quote cited in the NYT's Lamont endorsement editorial is just another example of Lieberman's proclivity to cluelessly and foolishly dry-hump cowardly GOP lies and wet-kiss their blatant crimes. I don't know how I missed this particularly offensive and superciliously ridiculous quote that the NYT dredged up in its editorial, but it certainly gave me another in a long, long line of post-Lowell Weicker era blood pressure spikes.

Lieberman's problems started well before the Iraq war and do not reflect a departure from otherwise good service.  His political obituary will reflect three terms in the Senate of consistently poor judgment, selfish disloyalty and insouciance toward the bill of rights - especially first amendment freedoms.  His "sudden" appearance as a tragic figure merely reflects evolutionary gains in his ability to inflict his illiberal and poor judgment on a larger scale and from a bigger pedestal as he acquired more seniority and power over his tenure.


by Caoimhin Laochdha 2006-07-31 06:35AM | 0 recs
Revisionist History

I also want to address some of the revisionist history of Lieberman's record from the 1990s which really bothers me.  There is plenty to run on against him from the last 6 years.

1 - Lieberman did not scuttle the Clinton health care reform.  He proposed an alternative with John Breaux and a few others to the wreckage that had become the proposal in mid-1994.  While not my preferred solution, that idea was a heck of lot better than what happened which was NOTHING!!!  THe HIAA, NFIB and the Repubs DID SCUTTLE the bill.  Congressman Jim McDermott didn't help by refusing to support anything other than single payer forcing Dems on the House Ways and Means Committee to craft all sorts of compromises to get a bill out of committee.  I once again recommend The System by Haynes Johnson and David Broder to understand what really happened in 1994.

2 - I love the hype today around Lieberman's Monica speech in 1998 when at the time people were less upset with it and many agreed privately with it.  I don't think this was the intent but Lieberman's speech ended up helping Clinton because it gave him the opportunity to show the contrition he did not when he gave the angry admission of the affair on TV after his testimony.  In the end Lieberman voted against all the Repubs articles of impeachment which is really what counts.

3 - I never liked Lieberman's war on "Hollywood" but I think it should be pointed out Tipper Gore started out this movement by testifying in the Senate in 1987, a year before Lieberman was even elected to that body.

by John Mills 2006-07-31 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

on two of the point you basically argue that he did what people said he did. just to point out- thats not revising history

by bruh21 2006-07-31 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

Regarding point 2, people bring it up now because what they saw at that time as someone sticking up for his principles, however fuddy duddy and self righteous they were, was not doing the same when Bush was destroying the environment and lying to the public on many other issues, some of which Lieberman was supposedly against Bush. So now people wonder why Lieberman who now talks about civility so much had no problem piling on the attacks on Clinton. It is the lack of consistency. If he was truly bipartisan, shouldn't be equally as hard on Bush?

Regarding point 3, Tipper is not running for office.

by Pravin 2006-07-31 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

It is revisionist history to link Lieberman's remarks in 1998 to what he says about Bush because the two are completely unrelated.

Frankly, I was furious with Clinton over Monica not because I wanted him removed from office (I did not) but because:

1 - He knew the Repubs were out to get him so why do something so stupid.

2 - If he had admitted the affair at the beginning rather than wagging his finger and saying nothing happened, the whole thing would have died quickly.  People knew he had zipper problems when they elected him twice.  Come clean and move on.

3 - That angry TV speech after final admitting what everyone knew he had done

4 - He wasted his political capital saving his butt rather than advancing an agenda as he had in 1997.

With regards to Tipper, she wasn't running for office but her husband was and he helped facilitate her Congressional testimony.  It is a tad disingenuous to criticize Lieberman for this stuff when Gore was basically in the same place.

The NY Times had an excellent editorial about why Lieberman needs to go and why people should support Ned Lamont.  The quick synopsis is basically Lieberman has become a Bush enabler.  I think this extraneous stuff from yesteryear, which was not a major issue when Lieberman was the VP nominee, is weakening the case against him and providing ammunition to his supporters.

by John Mills 2006-07-31 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

but... but...  Gore is a progressive hero...

by Valatan 2006-07-31 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History


by John Mills 2006-07-31 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

Stick to the facts of why Lieberman needs to go and stay away from stuff that can easily be tagged to other pols.

by John Mills 2006-07-31 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

Right, Gore is a progressive hero. One of the reasons is that he has successfully recognized the shift in the political winds of the last decade. At a certain point, most Dems realized that their job wasn't to browbeat 1960s liberalism. Gore learned. The Lieb didn't.

by scvmws 2006-07-31 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History
Lieberman's speech did not smack of someone who was frustrated that his leader gave the other party an opportunity to get him. It smacked of self righteousness. Which was fine as I said. And how can you say the Bush thing is not comparable. If Lieberman is the type that speaks out when his moral compass tells him soemthing wrong is done, why hasn't he spoken out on Bush's conduct during his term? Even if he liked Bush since they had common goals on the Iraq war, shouldn't his moral compass point him to the abuses by Bush and Cheney in getting information to justify the war? Shouldn't his moral compass be alerted when scientists are being silenced by the administration with respect to the envirnoment?
There is a relation. It's called moral consistency.
by Pravin 2006-07-31 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Revisionist History

As I stated before, he has cozied up to the Bush Admin which is why I wouldn't vote for him if I lived in CT and why he is likely to lose his primary.  I never felt that what he said about Clinton was all that outrageous since many were thinking it.  Obviously, most people in the party felt the same or else he would not have been chosen as VP in 2000.  The man totally lost his way the last 6 years.

by John Mills 2006-07-31 12:38PM | 0 recs
The history is more relevant than revised

Recall that at the time of his self-aggrandizing and sanctimonious attack of President Clinton from the floor of the U.S. Senate, President Clinton was in Ireland on a follow-up trip to the critical (and ongoing) role our commander-in-chief was played in bringing about the negotiated peaceful settlement of intractable sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.  

The timing of Lieberman's speech was a glaring example of Joe Lieberman's lack of judgment and character, so evident that day and it continuing to this day to this day, highlights how unqualified he is to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Whipping himself into a career defining passionate lather over (someone else's) blowjob at the very moment President Clinton was playing such a crucial role in helping to build a better future in Ireland underscores Lieberman's core lack of decency when it comes to the very essence of public service.

The U.S. influence on the Irish Good Friday peace agreement was one of the greatest foreign policy achievements of any U.S. President, and an example of true U.S. courage and strength in foreign policy.  For Lieberman, however, President Clinton's ongoing efforts to showcase and strengthen U.S. influence overseas, in bringing peace and stability to an intractably violent and long-simmering conflict, was turned into a selfish opportunity for Holy Joe to tarnish the role the U.S. and President Clinton, played in one of the proudest moments in modern Irish history.  

Imagine if the President had, instead of Ireland, been meeting in the Middle East working on the peace process that Bush so cowardly abandoned when he came to office -- would Joe Lieberman have picked a time like that to sell out the President while on a critical foreign policy mission?  Never mind, rhetorical question.

by Caoimhin Laochdha 2006-07-31 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Me, I've always been wary of people whose religiosity is too conspicuous.  Instinct tells me that deep down, they're accommodating evil impulses.

by drlimerick 2006-07-31 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

     I think a lot of the positive publicity Sen. Lieberman got was because he is so ostentatiously religious. The corporate media seems to assume that anyone who is religious has good moral character.

by Ron Thompson 2006-07-31 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

As a Democratic operative told me recently, voting records mean much less than a) public statements and b) committee memberships.

The reason?  Votes on issues are usually set by the party leadership, not the pols in question.

Bear that in mind the next time someone touts Lieberman's "liberal voting record".

by Phoenix Woman 2006-07-31 06:51AM | 0 recs
Matt, you are forgetting one thing

Josh Marshall is part of the establishment but he wants to give the appearance of breaking from them. And every once in a while, you get to read the establishment talking points memo.

Josh and Kevin Drum are semi-establishment bloggers.  I'm not surprised Josh cannot see the "real" Joe Lieberman for who he truly is.

by rosebowl 2006-07-31 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I haven't liked Lieberman since his days of culture warring pre-2000 (even prior to his Lewinsky grand-standing).  For that reason I didn't like him as the VP selection in 2000.   The culture warring issue also cause me to have some reservations about Gore in 2000 as well because I remembered his PMRC days.  

by LionelEHutz 2006-07-31 07:17AM | 0 recs
Who's a "Nice guy"?

Remember, Bush is a "nice guy" would be cool to have a beer with.

Ann Coulter is nice - backstage to the producers - so she'll be asked back and can advocate killing people ON THE AIR.

I never thought my neighbor would kill 20 teens. He seemed like a "nice guy".


This shit is over, done, and dead. Anyone can be nice when they have to. It's his public record we are voting on. If the producers at NBC said, "Hey, Ann Coulter wants to kill my co-worker", they might not invite her on time after time.

I don't give a fuck if Joe's nice. People have died and will die for the political positions he has taken in support of GWB.

by zappatero 2006-07-31 07:22AM | 0 recs

when you put a old horse down, you sooth it. You don't approach it be yelling "fuck you bitch you are fucking dog food". It's not for this horse, but for all ones coming after it.

by Citizen80203 2006-07-31 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Because...

Oops, I always yell "fuck you bitch" at my horses before I shoot them.  Now I know why they dont like me.  

by Winston Smith 2006-07-31 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I think Lieberman fought in the Civil Rights days because he had the strength to speak truth to power. There was also a part of him that took advantage of the narrative.

He had the sense to see that history would remember well anyone who marched with MLK.

Over time, as he lost the strength it takes to speak truth to power, he also decided that the narrative of America has changed.

He believes that history will remember well anyone who refuses to be a Neville Chamberlain when it comes to fighting terror.

This explains his utter giddiness at going on Fox and helping bash Chamberlains - real and imagined.

by dereau 2006-07-31 07:40AM | 0 recs
So I assumed you emailed Josh

...asking him.

What did he say?

by MNPundit 2006-07-31 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

shouldn't this wait until aug 9th? just curious

by bruh21 2006-07-31 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

How the hell did Lieberman undermine the Gore campaign?  He was the one who convinced Gore to contest Florida.  And if you're referring to the VP debate, remember that Gore was equally ineffectual in that Meet The Press format and that Edwards in '04 didn't lay a glove on Cheney either.

And yes, I am over 30 and HAVE won elections with Democratic candidates.  Is that some kind of scarlett letter to you know-it-all bloggers?

by Dan Conley 2006-07-31 08:06AM | 0 recs
Lieberman wanted to count all the military ballots

..including ones mailed in AFTER the election.

Lieberman condones fraud.

by EricJaffa 2006-07-31 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Dan Conley, January 2, 2005:

I know the Democratic talking points say that we're all supposed to be against Social Security reform, but ...

If such reform gives everyone the option to accept private accounts and no future SS benefits or take traditional Social Security with reasonable benefit cuts (such as a higher retirement age) and ...

If such reform can somehow avoid borrowing trillions of dollars ...

Then I would support it. Personally, I think the private accounts are a sucker's bet -- once the Baby Boomers start retiring, they'll cash in their equities and the stock market will tank just in time for Gen X'ers like me to get screwed. But if I'm allowed to draw SS benefits instead, then I say fine, let the greedy make bad choices. Maybe future generations will learn from their folly.

Hmmm.  Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

by Matt Stoller 2006-07-31 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

"How the hell did Lieberman undermine the Gore campaign?"

OK, here's a quick one:  Lieberman refused to drop his bid for re-election in the Senate at the same time he was running for Veep.  If Gore had won, the REpug. governor would have named his replacement.  Joementum...always looking out for no. 1.  

by weinerdog43 2006-07-31 10:32AM | 0 recs
I'm over 30, and disliked LIeberman since 1988

...when he ran for Senate to right of Republican Lowell Weicker.

by EricJaffa 2006-07-31 08:09AM | 0 recs
I knew Moynihan and Lieberman is...

... no Pat Moynihan

Insane to compare Moynihan to Lieberman.  Moynihan was a fantastic Senator -- awful person -- who actually cared about and made a positive impact on policy.  Tax reform, welfare reform, immigration reform and many other issues that were not necessarily popular but were important were defined by the man. He worked across the aisle with real moderates like Simpson. I was in the Senate as a staffer when he was Chair of the Finance committee and he was head and shoulders above the rest of the Dem Caucus at the point.

Lieberman is an opportunist. I can't point to a single piece of policy that he was the intellectual author of (I guess the mess that is the Homeland Security Dept) and pushed through.  Moynihan's intellectual beliefs led him to positions -- welfare reform is what the critics here are talking about -- that went against progressive caucus. But, he did not abandon or take cheap shots against the caucus (like Joe does).  Lieberman's desire for press is what leads him to his contrarian positions (condemnation of Clinton, etc.).  

Final footnote, Moynihan was widely known as one of the biggest SOBs on the hill (drunk and mean).  Lieberman is actually supposed to be a nice guy (I hear this from those that work for him).  But, give me Moynihan anytime.  I long for the days when we had Senators like him who actually viewed their position as a moral and civic duty to impact national policy rather than nothing more than a national political platform.

by lojo 2006-07-31 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

EricJaffa's mom's recollection sure matches mine and while I was a major Weicker supporter, I was far to the left on most things. Lieberman looked to a lot of us as an complete opportunist, willing to take any position that would further his personal career and that's what he's done since '88. Tt's baffling to see him characterized as "the smartest guy" or a sympathetic figure, etc ...

by siun 2006-07-31 08:23AM | 0 recs
You seem to be mixing one of my post's

...with someone else's post.

I was referring to personally disliking Lieberman in 1988.

by EricJaffa 2006-07-31 02:01PM | 0 recs
Yes, it is tragic

In the Shakesperean sense of a befuddled old douche ambling around offering his kingdom for a horse, Lieberman is tragic.

But, he's still a douchebag.

by jcjcjc 2006-07-31 10:22AM | 0 recs
Don't Cry for Me, Shelton

If oppportunistic, anti-feminist, darling of AIPAC and the banks Lieberman is a mensch, then George W. Bush is a brainiac.

by baked potato 2006-07-31 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

We know that Lieberman was elected VP in 2000, and that he would have been the front-runner for 2008.  But the Supreme Court cheated him out of it.  Al Gore was able to deal with this, but it shook something loose in Joe's mind.

by Bob H 2006-07-31 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

OK I know that you are a know it all but to slam the baby boomers seems just down right stupid.

Born in the 40s and 50s makes you over 50 today.  When I look at the people who moved right over the past 20 years I see men and women in their early 40s and late 30s -- born in the late 60s and raised in the 80s.  Your generation perhaps?

People in glass houses....

by aiko 2006-07-31 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Lieberman is in bed with Neocons -- therefore he is by association a Neocon.

 In one history of the Neocons -- they are liberals who've lost their way and ended up as Neoconservatives.

 Mostly what I don't like about Lieberman he wears his brand of religion and "morality" as a mask. Somewhere along the line he misplaced his morals -- he's seen the other side and those guys are really living like he wants to live -- well taken care of.

by carbANDting 2006-07-31 12:48PM | 0 recs
It happened when he decided to run for Senate.

He was backed by the Republicans, who really wanted to get rid of their own Lowell Weicker because he was too liberal for them.  

Weicker was a good man and a good Senator but with the backing of people like William F. Buckley, Lieberman could beat him - and did.  

He's dancing with those that brung him.

by Avedon 2006-07-31 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Here is what I have observed as one of his Constituents.    ANYIME I have written with a request on how I wanted him to vote, I got a formal, flim-flam letter talking round in circles so you did not know what the hell he was really saying .   any time I called the office, or wrote and criticized HOW he voted,  the staff or his form letter fell back on "He is a man of Principles so that is why he voted such and such"!
He has consistently hidden behind the term 'Principled" in order to vote how ever he wanted!      I personally am sick and tired of hearing he is principled, so he voted for Cloture on Alito, or Energy bill, or stuck his nose in Terri Schiavo, or told rape victims to take a cab to the next hospital!

The man is a total phony and we need all the help you can give to get him out.

by Bergs 2006-07-31 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Josh's affinity for Lieberman is really about Josh, whom if you've read for a long time is recognizable as something akin to a late 1940s cold war liberal at heart, with a strong pro-Zionist bent and some earlier-style Jewish anti-racism (the latter making him seem more liberal than he really is).

As for Lieberman, it's to his credit that he participated in the Freedom Rides.  Yet, it's important to recognize that there were different political and cultural motivations that drove people to participate.  SDS, for example, was founded in 1962 by the right-wing of the Socialist movement, many of whom had a few years ealier gone to an international youth conference(s) and put out anti-Soviet propaganda on CIA money.  Yet, some of them put their lives on the line in the South.  The question is, for what program?  Another thing is that Judaism back in the '50s and early '60s was big on Brotherhood, be it the church across the street or with "Negroes" on the other side of town.  Urban rebellions/riots, the 1967 war and finally the 1973 one changed all that.  And so I wouldn't be surprised if it was thus for Lieberman, who apparently went south to promote voting rights, as opposed to more radical social change; i.e., working within the system, not against it.  To wit, he was soon in law school and supporting Bobby Kennedy, who many in the Civil Rights and labor movements (among others) considered an outright pig.  And Lieberman's taking on the CT Attorney General's post, i.e., chief state legal enforcer of the ruling order, however how much he tried to tinker with it (aka reform), reinforces that view.  

An earlier writer is correct that some people move to the left over the course of their lives and some go the other direction.  Age typically brings greater caution and better sense in daily affairs, but for many it also brings some remolding if not demoralization of the idealist's soul (cynicism).  If you're working within this political system, making the everyday compromises and giving the blind eyes it requires, it doesn't get better over time.  Being a Yale graduate, with its myriad of upper class and professional social and political connections there for a lifetime, doesn't hurt either.

Joe Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew.  Not to suggest that Orthodoxy is a monolith, but that belief and affiliation is in itself a flashing red light for the underlying social conservatism of the man, because that's its nature.  Moreover, in these days when Christian evangelicals have been allying with Israel's expansionist goals for mutual (and fundamentally contradictory) ends, it's not surprising that Joe has felt comfortable playing Bush toadie.  Thus, when you think about it, anyone who has an affinity for Lieberman is to be looked at cautiously, and anyone surprised or disappointed with him needs to go look in the mirror, not blame it on him.  I think he's been pretty up front about where he's at.

by rogilman 2006-07-31 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

I think it's the fact that they were the most spoiled generation in history. They didn't experience the depression, they didn't fight a world war, they had the heyday of the American automobile and Coca-Cola consumerism, the space program, etc, etc.

In all honesty, I deeply suspect that, as a group, the Boomers didn't buy into the 60's countercultural stuff at a deeper level than 90's teens bought into Nirvana. If they had, the world would certainly be a different place today.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-07-31 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

Great post. I don't get it either.

But I also do not understand why anyone would meet with the President or VP either.  They are clearly immoral, war criminals who should be in prison or worse.  

Why isn't this the case?  Reporters joke around with Bush, pundits continue to talk about him in weekly terms (he's had a good week), etc.  Sorry, but you don't get good weeks after what he has done.  You cannot wash away 50 or 100,000 dead like that.

Either I am really whacked out or the country is and for the sake of the country I hope its me.

by hotpotatomash 2006-07-31 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

No, hotpotatomash, you're not whacked out, just need to take a step back.  People in Congress meet with the President and Vice President all the time to talk about the various aspects of running capitalist America and its imperial ambitions.  Nothing unusual there.  The Democrats are no less a party of "immoral, war criminals" than the Republicans.  After all, it was Democratic presidents who authorized the mass slaughter of civilian areas in Germany and Japan (and France) during WWII, including the dropping of A-bombs.  And it was for a long time a Democratic President that authorized the carpet bombing and worse of Vietnam.  And then there's Iraq (and Israel/Palestine), which the Democrats have supported Bush on.  Lieberman may be an extreme example, but have Hillary and others been all that different? Check out Carroll's House of War for a recounting of much of this political-military history from WWII.

You do raise a good point about individual responsibility.  During the 1960s and into the '70s, it was common for government officials responsible for various opressive policies and despicable actions to be picketed and demonstrated against in one form or another.  Likewise, cops and their provocateurs were fingered and thrown out of political meetings.  There was this sense of collective action as being against the system, or at least against those responsible for its current policies and deeds, be it the President of the university board of regents, the governor, or the president and defense sec. of the U.S.  And it was recognized that the cops and feds were part of that system, there to infiltrate and disrupt.  With the rise of "Me Generation" politics at the end of '70s, the individual and his/her desires and feelings started coming first.  You mention meetings.  Here's an example.  In the early '80s General Alexander Haig, then (or just recently) Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan, a certified war criminal and the only man in the history of the U.S. to try to stage a coup, visited U Mich to give a talk.  Instead of demonstrations, as there would have been 10-15 years earlier, there was a signup list on campus for those who wanted to meet with him privately.  When reporters asked the latter why, typical answers were about wanting to hear the man's point of view with their own ears, as if this was not readily available public information and that they were actually going to get him to tell the unsugar-coated truth.  Likewise, in political meetings and demos/sit-ins the leaderships opposed throwing out the plain-clothed (and sometimes uniformed) cops, as a way of showing that the activists were really not "radicals" but just good boys and girls who wanted "fairness."  Nothing I've seen during the Iraq war suggests anything has changed.

I don't think this applies to Lieberman et al., however, because they long ago tossed their axe in with the ruling system, including its chief political executive.  They wouldn't have been elected otherwise (take a look at the process of corporate endorsement and fund raising).  By the way, my comments are not meant in any way to imply endorsement of Ned Lamont, who doesn't have much different to offer than that good old American fallback, "change."

by rogilman 2006-08-01 05:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Is Lieberman Really a Tragic Figure?

It's tough to deny that lots of baby boomers who were extremely anti-establishment and progressive in the 60s and 70s have turned conservative as they've aged.  They're the same people who, at every turn, are telling me that I'll grow out of my liberalism (I'm 25 in two weeks, so baby boomers are my parents) and settle down to just carve out a nice little corner of whatever the establishment serves up.

And lots of baby boomers haven't turned conservative. Yes, the conservative ones have been telling you about how you'll become just like them. I prefer to think that you'll lay off the "stupid pills" and remain a progressive.

While I'm not trying to write off the entire generation, for the most part they've gone institutional with age.  On the one hand that's understandable since, given their numbers, they're pretty unavoidably the establishment.  On the other hand, they largely decided to just stop fighting and take what they could grab, and I'm not down with that.

The establishment isn't as conservative as you seem to think it is. Remember, the folks running the government right now are wackos. They aren't "the establishment." They are nutjobs that took over a political party. So don't write off the generation. Because there are a lot of us boomers who are educated, progressive, very angry, and suddenly a lot more active in the political process then we've ever been before.

You are using an overly broad brush. Maybe you need different baby boomers in your life. :-)

by KB 2006-08-01 06:53AM | 0 recs


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