Monday, July 24, 2006
Thanks for the memories
Today was supposed to be Beckett Day on this blog, but we interrupt our brief foray into Irish Literature Blogging to bring you this important Lieberman Bulletin. From yesterday’s Hartford Courant, the words of Irving Stolberg, two-time speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives:
[O]n the two biggest issues of our times, he is dead wrong.
His blind support of the Iraq war, begun illegally and a continuing catastrophe, is monstrous.
And his defense of an incompetent president, a vice president who fits the dictionary definition of fascism and an extremist administration that has perpetrated torture, illegal eavesdropping and a general shredding of the Constitution is insulting to the people who elected him in the first place.
Now, I assume you’ve already heard of this editorial, because Mr. Atrios (hat tip) mentioned it yesterday. I just wanted to chime in and say that any day on which Dick Cheney is referred to as “a vice president who fits the dictionary definition of fascism” in an American newspaper is a good day for the forces of light.
But it should also remind us of one of Weepin’ Joe’s odious moments in the spotlight. It’s a minor item in the Lieberman Canon of truly odious public moments, but a telling one. From his October 2000 vice-presidential debate with the guy who fits the dictionary definition of fascism:
LIEBERMAN: I think if you asked most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked, “Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?” Most people would say yes. I’m pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers that you’re better off than you were eight years ago, too.
CHENEY: I can tell you, Joe, the government had absolutely nothing to do with it. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)
MODERATOR: This question is to you.
LIEBERMAN: I can see my wife and I think she’s saying, “I think he should go out into the private sector.”
CHENEY: I’ll help you do that, Joe.
The government had nothing to do with it? Mother of Moloch, Senator Lieberman, the guy opposite you wasn’t a crafty software entrepreneur or a independent mousetrap salesman. He was an executive of Halliburton, for cryin’ out loud. The guy had spent eight years swelling Halliburton’s coffers (and his own estate) by means of oily federal contracts so generous that one is compelled to wonder whether the recipients of state handouts do not, after all, experience a profound personal moral decay. I mean, this was what they call an easy opening. And you couldn’t challenge Cheney to his face, and point out that the government had everything to do with his “success”?
And speaking of swollen coffers and moral decay, the metonymic Lieberman skid just keeps on skiddin’. First, swollen coffers: this seems like a good time to remember those dark days of 2002, when those of us who care about such things were insisting that there should be no more “Enron Democrats” in the party. For Holy Joe was the Enronniest of them all, as George Mundstock patriotically noted this past July 4:
more than anybody else in America, Joe Lieberman is responsible for some of the worst corporate abuses during the recent tech bubble and for the current growing options backdating scandal. The Connecticut media has noted this, but not the national media, and it is real important. In short, in 1993, Lieberman saved amazingly bad accounting for when a company pays an executive with stock options instead of cash. This caused options to flourish. Options make an executive more concerned with short-term fluctuations in her company’s stock price than in running the company well. Disaster resulted.
Hat tip on this one to Brad DeLong, who always cares about such things.
Second, moral decay:
About a decade ago, a few years before he became the Democratic party’s most fearless and outspoken critic of oral sex in the White House, Righteous Joe teamed up with
Dolores Umbridge Lynne Cheney to found this fine organization, notable most recently for its Horowitz-with-a-human-face report, “How Many Ward Churchills?” (the short answer to which is conveniently provided on page 2, in the subsection titled “Ward Churchill is Everywhere.” Yes, Ward Churchill is now Elvis. Who knew?) It’s not quite fair to say that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Lieberman and his good friends the Cheneys, but it’s entirely fair to call Lieberman a first-rate Cheney Enabler who’s repeatedly gone above and beyond the call to forge “bipartisan coalitions” with the culture-war right and the kleptocapitalist right.
So thanks for all your hard work over the years, Joe! Here’s hoping you get re-acquainted with the private sector real soon.