Joe Lieberman has just announced that he will not seek re-election in 2012.
What is it with these politicians who feel compelled to announce years ahead of time that they will retire? Is it an inexpensive way of sending out one’s resumé? No stamps. Just a mike and the press will do it all for you? Why not open the office door and yell down the hall? One is sure to snag some powerful lobbyists with powerful employers who would be thrilled to bag a high-name recognition, ex-Senator and vice-presidential candidate.
In his tour of various talk shows, he stopped by Morning Joe on Thursday morning during which he was questioned about his continuing strong defense of our war in Iraq. [Here] When asked by Mika Brzezinski whether, in retrospect, he would still vote for the Iraq war, given that there were no WMD, he said he certainly would. When Arianna Huffington pressed him further, Lieberman answered, (as reported by Steve Benen at Washington Monthly): [Here] [The emphasis is mine.]
When Huffington said there's nothing in the Duelfer Report to bolster Lieberman's conclusions, the senator replied, ‘I don't think you've read it, sweetheart.’
Benen was as shocked as we are. He commented: [Here]
I find it nothing short of remarkable that a United States senator in 2011 would be so condescending as to call a woman ‘sweetheart’ on national television. In context, Huffington was calling Lieberman out on his transparent falsehoods, which no doubt irritated him, but frankly, I don't care what the context was. Huffington deserves an apology.
(Don’t hold your breath for a Lieberman apology.)
On Wednesday, the NYTimes’s Gail Collins reviewed Lieberman’s public career for us and I suspect he wished that she had never heard of him. Collins has roots as a Connecticut reporter in the 1970‘s and I suspect that their paths have crossed many times. She doesn’t have much nice to say about him.
Normally people look particularly appealing when they’re promising to go away. This time, not so much...Lieberman has reached a point in his public career when every single thing he does, including talking about his grandparents, is irritating.
Collins wrote that Lieberman expected to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2004 and when the party turned to John Kerry instead, he was deeply shocked and hurt. Collins quoted Bill Curry, a state Democratic politician, as saying about Lieberman that he had never seen anyone...”take anything so personally. He became so bitter about Democratic liberals.”
Two years later when young progressives came into the state to help defeat Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic senatorial primary, he became even more bitter. When he ran as an Independent, he must have felt vindicated. Collins put it another way. She wrote that the win “...cemented his sense of exceptionalism.” (Ouch!)
After campaigning hard for GOP nominee John McCain in 2008, he continued to caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, but helped to drag out the health care debate until everyone was weary of the subject. Collins ended her column with this tongue in cheek line:
You will find it all in my upcoming book, ‘Everything Bad Is Joe Lieberman’s Fault.’
Her final line was funny and in many ways eased away some of the sting of the column. However, I doubt if thin-skinned Joe Lieberman would or could read it that way.
I am sure that when Arianna Huffington flatly contradicted Lieberman the morning after the NYTimes ran the Collins column, Joe had had enough of sharp-tongued, sharp-penned, smart females. I also bet that Lieberman’s “sweetheart” was as condescending a dismissal as Arianna has heard in a long, long time.
I am amazed that more women haven’t picked up the insult and written about it.