REVISIONIST HISTORY AND WEEPIN' JOE. Two years ago, at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis, I spent a delightful evening in the company of Lanny Davis, the former Clinton lawyer. My old pal's performance on Meet The Press Sunday, where he tried to spin Weepin' Joe Lieberman's hamfisted involvement in the Schiavo case doesn't get his candidate into the Dance, I fear. Yes, neither Joe nor any other Democratic senator opposed the Schiavo resolution.
However, when Davis and Tim Russert went on to intimate that Lieberman and the rest of the Democratic senators -- to say nothing of the party in general -- were on the same page generally as regards to the Schiavo case, well, it's pretty plain from contemporary accounts that neither Carl Levin nor Ron Wyden would agree. And, in any case, Lieberman was far more than a passive legislative participant in that whole shoddy spectacle. Here he is, back in the day, again on Meet The Press. (Does he have his own locker in the Green Room? A cot? A cryogenic sleep tube?) Notice that not only does he sidle up to the religious extremists, but he also criticizes Congressman Chris Shays -- a Republican from Connecticut -- for using the word "theocracy" to describe the ongoing relationship between the national GOP and the passel of Bible-thumping whack-jobs who were making most of the noise back then.
From a purely political standpoint, the Schiavo case was one of the first egregious bungles that helped bring the Republican numbers down to the level where they are today. For pity's sake, Shays even laid out the talking points for him, and they had the added value of being true. Think of how many times Republicans have used the words of Joe Lieberman, Good Democrat, to belabor other members of his party. What does the Good Democrat do when a respected Republican from his own state gift-wraps an issue for him? Read it and weep. And, at any rate, when you're running against a political outsider who, you know, wasn't in the Senate when all this went down, is your best argument really, "I was just as gutless than all the rest of those guys?" Weepin' Joe may still win. But he's doing it with dribble glasses and whoopie cushions, I swear.
--Charles P. Pierce
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