“And bitterness is an ugly thing indeed. It twists you. It curdles your soul and hardens your heart. It deadens the eyes and rots your relationships. It will drive you to say and do things that a clear-minded person wouldn't dare. Senator Obama's statement about what bitterness brings echoes like a brick ricocheting down an elevator shaft. People will cling to polarizing things as a way to express their frustrations.”
In the Fall of 2006, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut—(and the “I” stands not for “independent” but rather, “In It For My Got-damned Self”) you will ruefully recall, found himself in the race of his life for the Nutmeg State Senate seat against the “Netroots”-backed newcomer Ned Lamont. We all remember “Holy Joe's” whiny, bleating pleas to Dems in the state and beyond to put aside their huge objections to his Lon Chaney-esque transformation (or bandages-removed revealing...) into a Yankee-accented “Zell-wolf”, thanks his open embrace of the WORST elements of President Bush's most damaging, and anti-progresive policy endeavors.
It was as if he was asking for “a humble”, or a pass basically, on his one-time drift—now a headlong rush—into Lower Wingnuttia. 'Allow me this thing...this one thing as I ride off on my saggy-backed, cross-eyed mule into the political sunset' was pretty much his sad call to political comrades and Connecticut's voters. And when those Nutmegger voters rejected his selfish request in the Democratic primary, along with the nascent and table-upsetting left blogosphere, a slow curdling that had been happening inside Lieberman went into hyperspeed. He would abandon the Dermocratic party he claimed to be a member of (but for years had been sneakily jail-shanking whenever he got the chance) in a fit of rejection-fueled pique, and selfishly, willfully, and spitefully hamstring the party's thread-thin Senate majority with a so-called “Independent” general election run post-his Dem primary defeat.
Wa all know to our eternal regret how it turned out. With the aid of the GOP and more than a few DLC knuckle-dragger buddies in the Senate, he would win re-election, kind of caucus with the Dems (to hold onto some power as part of a slim majority), but because of his newfound 'freelancing fossil' status, have carte blanché to pal around with his choice of whatever wingnut he wanted and nad-kick the Dems publicly while voting out of caucus on specifically anti-GOP pieces of legislation.
What has happened since then is a textbook lesson on the “Altered States” dysmorphia that bitterness can wreak on a public servant. Lieberman is supremely aware that this is his last go-round as a Senator. His craven power-playing from '06 notwithstanding, his constituents are now experienceing “New Coke” levels of vocal buyer's remorse. Except there's no “old” formula for him to go back to as he's trashed it utterly—and in that old formula, he was no liberal firebrand to begin with. The political ground has shifted under his orthopedic-shoe clad feet. His victory in '06 was a last burp of major-state, old-school DLC acceptance before the projectile voiding of all of that thanks to the influence of internet activism and the result of nausea from too many poilitcos who should have known better enabling the 7 1/2 years of the failed Bush presidency. He's been disninvited from varfious key caucus strategy sessions as it's pretty much known that he will go back to his GOP pals and drop Sacajawea dollars—fuck dimes—on the discussions. And as he's no longer considered a power-broker on the party's PR / talking head / prestige front lines, this spoiled, spiteful, sanctimonious, hypocritical and mean-spirited attention whore has opted to go out in a blaze of glory—standing alongside the Republican standard-bearer as a pathetic human crutch, should he stumble. (And oh how he has.)
He is effectively, the guy at work who's been there forever, not really doing very much of note, who has gotten wind that he...is...done. There is no department to move him to as the company is changing drastically. His ineffectiveness and long-time non-team playerism has been noted and figured into the decision.
So what does this embittered, political, human out-take from “Office Space” do?
He “trashes” the place. He does the political equivalent of maliciously wiping his computer of necessary company files, Then tries to do the same to his co-horts' 'puters. He willfully inserts a nasty virus to infect everyone's terminals. Squirts Krazy Glue™ in the printers, sets fire to the copy paper room, and makes toxic pots of coffee with ammonia instead of water. He clogs the toilets after-hours, unplugs the refrigrator and takes a dump in the conference room and hides the evidence so it'll reek for hours, if not days—and no one can find it.
That's what he's doing as he “works out the string” when he stands with McCain and disses his one-time party. And the worst thing he does is rent himself out as an attack chihuahua against the Democratic party's presidential candidates, as he did this past week when he went into his bag of smeary tricks with his mealy-mouthed concern-trolling about ties between Hamas and the presumptive nominee Barack Obama. Via Talking Points Memo:
“It was only a matter of time, really. If you ever doubted that Joe Lieberman would be using what's left of his "Independent Democrat" credentials to legitimize the GOP's bogus "Hamas endorsed Obama" attack, here he is on CNN doing just that...
When Wolf Blitzer pointed out that Obama also labels Hamas a terrorist organization, making his position the same as McCain's, Lieberman said, "that's true," adding that Obama "clearly doesn't support any of the values and goals of Hamas."
Then, with depressing predictability, came the inevitable caveat:”“But the fact that the spokesperson for Hamas would say they would welcome the election of Senator Obama really does raise the question, "Why?"
And it suggests the difference between these two candidates.”
That was exceptionally shady shit from the wrinkled nad-faced little hit man. In that droning, faux-gravitas tone of his, he farted out the ugly spectre of “Oh nooooooes! Beware the Black dude with the funny name! He iz down with the terra-iztz I will remind you about once every seventeen seconds!” He's taking up that mantle to allow his fellow bed-wetting fear-o-con™ plausible deniability to say, “Hey, my friend! I didn't say that. Joe Lieberman, member of the Dems Senate Caucus did. So it must really mean something! Now excuse me as I go yell at clouds.” But even the craven little Lieber-bot knows he has as much of a real, listening constituency as a field mouse in a bobcat's den.
No. I take that back. He does have a constituency. A small number of fear-addled, single-issue, small “r” moder-racists™, and of course, the rope-belted, foot-slapping mob who cheer him on one minute and then would dance like they were on “Soul Train” the second Lieberman and everyone like him God forbid were to disappear from the face of the earth, as that would herald a prophesied paradise where a glowing Jim Caviezel hands out candy apples and fat-ass tax cuts. Praise the Lord and pass the xenophobia!
This is all he has left.
Say what you will about Senator Clinton's noxious doings of late as a result of bitterness (and boy, there have been some doozies), at the very least, and being fair—her creepy deeds can at least be traced to some core sense of abandonment and a feeling (justified or not) of having been “wronged”. People once steadfast in her corner walking away. Whether just to try something different, or out of upset with intransigence on her part over important issues, I can empathize with her having angry feelings about her change in status. Lieberman on the other hand abandoned his party, and is angry that they will not continue to support him—as if he's accumulated a cache of “asshole points” over the years that would allow him in his puke-green, pre-storm sunset years to be as big of a retrograde jerk as he pleases and not see any repercussions for it.
Senator Clinton is the paramour now spurned, who after years of companionship is angry that things seem to be over. And if in the end she can't get what she feels she deserve for her service, she'll do what she can to get what she can, even if the getting is a bit unseemly. Lieberman is the flighty, annoying not-so-significant other who walked away on his own accord, but still wants an allowance. And access to the house. And car. And wants to fuck everyone you hate, but wants you to cuddle and tell him how much you love him. And when you don't—he'll try to screw things up for you at work, will put out rumors about you and sneak by at night to key your car. Just a nasty piece of work.
His bitterness (“This Time...It's Personal”) is the sequel that is so much worse than the original. It has absolutely twisted him into a grotesque caricature of what he was—which quite honestly wasn't all that great to begin with, and I fairly thirst—and know I'm not alone—for an increased Senate majority that would enable him to lose his chairmanships, cushy committee seats, his sprawling office that goes with all of that, and be relegated to legislative “armpit” status. I want him in the fucking basement of the Russell Senate Office building. Next to the boiler and a supply closet of foul smelling, toxic solvents. Not even an office. A cube. In fact, a crappy, bile-green half-cube to be shared with whoever maintains the building's sewer traps and that person's work equipment.
And spare us please, the droning “But I marched with Dr.Martin Luther King” drivel. Again, a symbolic “good deed” in the past does NOT accumulate one an allotment of down-the-road “asshole points” to be used for those moments when you want to throw ostensible comrades-in-arms (however weakly you've locked arms in the past) under the Goddamned bulldozer. The hell with your progressive “moment”. I prefer to let a lifetime of deeds stand as the measuring stick. And Lieberman has spent the last ten years or so committing a slew of anti-progressive acts and jail-shanking people he should have been supporting, or at least been fair with. (Remember, he became a Senator via a vicious, right wing-financed campaign against then sitting Senator Lowell Weicker) Chuck Heston also marched with Dr. King, but it is his final years incarnation, of ugly, retrograde opinioneering and championing that many see him in the harsh light of. Lieberman's bitterness over the Dems not being cool with his hard rightward swing and his naked perfidy in taking down his “fellow” Dems shows through in his spiteful, nyah-nyah-ing daily acts of subterfuge and outright hostility.
There is bitterness you may grudgingly forgive, and there is bitterness you fight a son-of-a-bitch over. Lieberman's is the latter. And I won't be satisfied until he is politically headwhipped so much that when three fingers are held before him and he's asked “How many?”, he says “Mallomars”. You want to call it a purge? A litmus test? Fine. Call it that. I say this—A “friend” who keeps kicking you in the nuts, not softly and for play, but to cause pain and help out an enemy—is not your fucking friend. And that person should be dealt with accordingly. Screw his pious mewlings about “feelings”, and “history”.
That person needs to be punished. End of story.
And for all this talk of “Dr. King, who I marched with...” I think that a lout like “Short Ride” Joe would probably make even the non-violent MLK have the occasional fantasy of cracking him across his lying, evil-enabling lips. He wouldn't actually do it. But bad people sometimes make you think bad things about them.
Me? I have no such scruples. And a rap in the grille would be getting off easy from me. Besides...why sully your hands when a well-and-swiftly placed Size 12 will do?