Liberals have rarely been as furious as they are at Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who has threatened to withdraw his pivotal vote for health-care reform over a Medicare policy point he's previously supported. "If you think you are sick of Joe Lieberman now," says Jim Shea, a columnist in The Hartford Courant, "just wait until you get sick." Liberal bloggers have attacked Lieberman as "a joke" and a mass-murderer, not to mention, "petty, sanctimonious, childish, vindictive, thin-skinned, and monstrously self-impressed." Even so, it appears Democrats will drop the disputed part of the bill to appease him. With every possible vote needed to pass a bill, though, are liberals' "venomous" attacks short-sighted? (Watch Joe Lieberman's Medicare flip-flop)
Lieberman is behaving like a "sociopath": This is turning into "a hostage standoff," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, "with Joe Lieberman playing the role of the proverbial gunman who isn't bluffing." If Democrats don't pay his ransom, he'll pull the trigger — and in this case, if he kills health care reform, thousands of uninsured Americans will die. How is that not "sociopathic indifference"?
"Leverage and 'sociopathic indifference'"
Blithering fury is hardly the left's best strategy: "Viciously attacking Joe Lieberman" seems a funny way to get 60 votes, says John McCormack in The Weekly Standard. And the attacks against Lieberman aren't even strong ones — the idea that lack of insurance leads to death is "very disputable." Besides, this "anti-Lieberman hatefest" is rich, coming from "the folks who attack the GOP for its 'ideological conformity.'"
"The Left's anti-Lieberman hatefest"
Lieberman is not evil, just dumb: You'll go nuts trying to divine Lieberman's motives, says Jonathan Chait in The New Republic. Why does he keep "flip-flopping and explaining his shifts by making demonstrably false claims"? Because he "isn't actually that smart... [There's] certainly no evidence that he knows or cares about the details of health care reform." Democrats just need to work around this blind, knee-jerk "heroic centrist."
"Understanding Joe Lieberman"
Lieberman will pay for this…eventually: The senator can get away with these "antics" as long as he is the 60th vote, says Megan McArdle in The Atlantic. "No matter how furious Democrats are, they are not going to punish him as long as he can break a filibuster for them. But that's another year…at that point, one way or another, Joe Lieberman becomes largely superfluous. And the Democrats are going to have their knives out."
"Lieberman stabs health care in the back"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- A scientific fact-check of 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- What if The Purge was real?
Subscribe to the Week