And we’re done! After 24 years, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman “retired” (read: was well aware he could not win a re-election bid) from Congress this month. While it probably won’t be the last time we hear from the erstwhile Democrat and never quite liberal politician, it is comforting to know he can’t wreak havoc in the Senate anymore.
A lot of liberals dislike Lieberman because they view him as a turncoat to the Democratic Party. (Technically, he turned “Independent” after losing his Democratic primary in 2006.) That’s not our problem — we can generally appreciate a politician who doesn’t merely tow the party line and dares to think independently. However, it’s the fact that those non-conformist beliefs are so awful and counter-productive that has us saying, “Good riddance!” Here are six reasons – which we’ve restricted to his last term (but he also basically invented the Department of Homeland Security) – that we won’t miss Joe Lieberman:
1. He LOVES the Iraq War
Although a lot of politicians were gung-ho about the Iraq War in its early stages, Lieberman is that rare unicorn who still cherishes the experience. As recently as two years ago, Lieberman declared the Iraq War a worthwhile expenditure, explained he didn’t regret his vote, and said that it was necessary to stop Iraq’s supposed development of Weapons of Mass Destruction. If even former President Bush can admit that the WMD claim was a massive error, why can’t Lieberman?
2. His Flip-Flopping Threw a Wrench in Health Care Reform
Just three months after publicly championing a Medicare buy-in on the proposed health care legislation in 2009, when it came time to be the crucial filibuster-blocking 60th vote in the Senate, Lieberman suddenly had major objections to the provisions – the same ones he was previously so excited about. Extra negotiations and concessions needed to be made just to get Lieberman back onboard.
3. He Extended the Bush Tax Cuts
You think a good way to counter the budget deficit is to tax millionaires their fair share? That’s not how Lieberman sees it. He said that the 1% needed to have that extra money to stimulate the economy and almost singlehandedly shut down the conversation on doing anything but renewing the Bush tax cuts.
4. He Wants to Take Away People’s American Citizenship
Lieberman wants you to know that he’s tough on terrorism. (How tough is he?) Well, he’s so tough that in 2010 he suggested depriving people of their citizenship if they are suspected of terrorism. To be clear, that’s not if they are convicted of terrorism, that is if they are merely suspected of terrorism. (That might be problematic if our government suspected even peaceful political dissenters of being terrorists… oh, wait.) If the NDAA is an outrage for permitting citizens to be indefinitely detained, just imagine what the government could do with newly non-citizens.
5. He Didn’t Support Contraceptives for Rape Victims
Should hospitals offer morning after pills to victims of rape to ensure that they don’t get pregnant? Not if the hospital doesn’t want to, argued Joe. After all, an institution’s moral objections are definitely more important a woman’s right to not go through the process of having an abortion or carrying her rapist’s child to term.
6. He Is Ultimately an Attention Seeker
A good politician serves the interests of his constituents – not to further his own publicity. Rather than using his status as a swing vote to make well-informed decisions, Lieberman relished in the opportunity to bask in the spotlight. As a New York Times profile reads, “[Lieberman] is at the center of everything – and he loves it. ‘My wife said to me, ‘Why do you always end up being the point person here?’’ he said, flashing a broad grin.” Like his near-Vice Presidential run with John McCain, it all comes across as self-promotion more than anything.
Photo Credit: Medill DC