I wrote somewhat jokingly that Lieberman was suffering from a persecution complex. I say "jokingly," because I'm not exactly sure where the legal definition of "libel" stands in regard to a public person, but I'm fairly confident I haven't burned that bridge just yet!
From an article by Peter Beinart discussing Joe's swing to the right in The Daily Beast:
So why is he doing this? Because he’s bitter. According to former staffers and associates, he was upset by his dismal showing in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. And he was enraged by the tepid support he got from many party leaders in 2006, when he lost the Democratic primary to an anti-war activist and won reelection as an independent."Bitter", "upset" and "enraged" aren't words normally associated with an elected representative. Unless, of course, you're talking about a very angry man. And that anger has indeed pushed the "personal" to become "political".
Gradually, this personal alienation has eaten away at his liberal domestic views. His staff has grown markedly more conservative in recent years, and his closest friends in Congress are now Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. For Lieberman, the personal has become political, and it has pushed him further to the right.
This isn't about what you or me wants. Joe Lieberman couldn't possibly care less about either of us or his constituents in general. This is strictly the politics of rage we're talking about, the politics of payback.
I can't help but think about how badly it must have stung the senator's fragile ego last year when McCain chose that dingbat from Alaska over him as his Veep candidate. Lieberman did everything humanly possible to suck up to the GOP, and his reward was a viscous kick to the ass and an inchoate promise to make him something like Secretary of Defense should McCain have won.
The way things turned out for Lieberman fills me with an inhumane amount of schadenfreude, which I'll admit is shameful. I can't help it; I'm weak, and subject to bouts of chastisement rather than forgiveness when it comes to politicians.
However, the long-expected Democratic backlash against the senator never materialized, and Joe Lieberman somehow escaped the comeuppance he so rightly earned. I can't help but think how the Republicans would have acted when faced with a betrayal of Lieberman's magnitude. Alas, nobody will ever give Harry Reid a nickname like "The Hammer".
Anyway, two things remain certain. We'll absolutely have Joe Lieberman to kick around for a few more years; and more and more people are catching on to the senator's game of political payback. If Lieberman remains instrumental in the GOP efforts to defeat health care reform, I can only hope that Harry Reid finally wakes up and starts acting like a leader.