Senator Joe Lieberman was on Fox News Sunday this week speaking on the Ft. Hood tragedy proclaiming his committee was going to “investigate” what he believes is “the most destructive terrorist act to be committed on American soil since 9/11.” So, instead of what would usually and regretfully be called a “fragging” or “friendly fire” or some other euphemism, Lieberman used the Republican Party line to define our two wars as Holy Wars. Any act by a Muslim is a terrorist act. We are in a crusade against evil. Therefore Muslims are evil. We’re good, they’re bad.
Then the Senator from the great state of Connecticut is asked about the Health Care Reform bill. Lieberman brushes up against yet another GOP talking point and says, “The public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance.” Government takeover of health care. Raise taxes. More debt. You lie.
As I was watching the interview, I thought to myself, ”Wow this schmuck came dangerously close to being one heartbeat away from the presidency.”
Then it occurred to me: Joe Lieberman is the Left’s Sarah Palin.
Now stay with me here. No need to think of Joe in high-heeled boots with a prop baby on his hip. These two folks share roles in their respective parties, not wardrobes.
Both personalities are failed veep candidates and now both have this swarm of melodrama around them as much as possible. Neither can be taken on their word: Palin has a track record of not showing up to events that have advertised her as a speaker, Lieberman has a track record of saying he’s a Democrat.
Sarah goes “mavericky.” Joe goes “GOPy.”
Sarah has an uncanny ability to make it all about her. Who knows why we’re still talking about her. She can’t even get it together enough to get her own website built so the nation flutters over her Facebook status. Joe has an uncanny ability to make it all about him. When the Democrats won the White House, and bigger House and Senate majorities in ‘08 somehow he became the story. Apparently campaigning against your own party is noteworthy to the press.
Do the Republicans like Sarah Palin? Well, sure some of them do. They like the fact that other people like her. She’s more popular because she’s popular. Which is the same assessment I give for American Idol’s ratings. But really, conservative intellectuals agree she does more harm than good to their cause.
Do Democrats like Joe Lieberman? Well he’s been a senator for 20 years, so unlike Sarah Palin, he’s actually been re-elected. He has run for president a couple of times. Someone had to have donated money to keep up the “Joementum.” Joe is liked most now because he’s the super majority. He’s the 60th senator who sometimes says he’s a Democrat and sometimes an “independent” (code for Republican in New England). He’s needed. And when he’s needed he acts out. Goes on Fox News Channel. And “goes rogue” boasting about his conscience.
When Sarah Palin was needed by her party, she doesn’t have a party. Her most recent act of gratitude to her GOP supporters was to support the Conservative candidate in New York’s 23rd District special election. And the result was the Republican Party losing yet another seat in the House.
So the Democrats are waiting on what Joe will do or say next. The Republicans are wondering if a Sarah Palin endorsement isn’t magic to the opposition. But what it really means is that both major parties are being held hostage by their least predictable (think unstable) minorities.
Which is not democratic. It’s dramacratic.
This piece originally appeared on True/Slant.