He calls himself an independent, though he remains a member of the Senate Democratic caucus, giving it a one-vote majority. He publicly flirts with voting Republican for president in '08 - prompting speculation he might join Republican Sen. John McCain on a fusion ticket.Now, we all know Joe's track record when it comes to him keeping promises. "Dismal" is a word that springs to mind.
"No, that's not going to happen," Lieberman said Friday on his way into Ollie's. "My days of seeking national office are over. I'm very happy, particularly after what I went through last year to be the senator from Connecticut. I want to do the best job I can at that."
But I think we need to look deeper into Joe's psyche and examine what he's really saying here.
First, Joe usually doesn't tell an obvious lie on purpose. What I mean is that Joe has always been a lawyer at heart, and he retains the sharp mind of an experienced litigator. He knows how to phrase his words so that they sound like one thing, but really mean something else. Or he crafts his statements to give him an "out", should he need it.
He's a clever S.O.B., but we all know that. How else could a politician recover from contradicting every single statement he made when he first ran for the Senate, like his claims that "three terms is plenty" and "my opponent missed 400 votes" when Joe himself easily missed MORE than that in less time? How can a guy in a blue state like Connecticut recover from being the only senator ever kissed by the singularly least-popular world leader since Czar Nicholas?
Because he's clever. Devious, too.
But hey, it's served him well all these years. He's got the survival instincts of a sewer rat, which is an animal that will viciously and irrevocably turn on its friends if threatened at all. 2006 will be remembered as the year that Joe lost while winning. His pyrrhic victory will forever brand his legacy as a turncoat and a grasping, ambitious politician who cares only for himself.
Getting back to his statement, Joe said his "...days of seeking national office are over." What's interesting is what he doesn't say. Partly because nobody asked him.
The question I'd like to hear him answer is this:
"Will you serve out your full term in the Senate?"
Because that's the question that really matters. Will Joe forego a VP run on the doomed "Unity 08" ticket because he's hoping to catch a prestigious appointment as Sec. of State or maybe UN Ambassador?
Think about this for a minute. If Joe quietly serves his 6 years and retires, he'll be remembered as the sorest loser of all time. He'll be considered a Bush lackey and cheerleader, a lapdog to the man who stole his ambitions. I doubt that his ego could accept such an ignominious legacy.
So maybe he'll parlay his continued support of Bush into a final couple years in a high profile post, and simultaneously give the Senate back to the Republicans by resigning and letting Gov. Jodi "You're gonna be on my list too, CT Bob" Rell appoint his replacement.
That would be the ultimate "fuck you!" to the Democrats, who so brutally humiliated him in the primary and who now deserves to suffer all the pain that they inflicted upon his fragile self-image.
Only then would Joe Lieberman feel vindicated.
Never doubt for a minute the motivating power of pure vengence.