Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Tragedy of King Joe

Ned Lamont's win in Tuesday's Democratic primary was a victory for "the irate moderate," the New York Times editorializes today. It's an acute insight.

The great independent middle of America hasn't moved all that much over the past five and a half years. Rather, the Bush administration and those like Joe Lieberman who enable it have alienated moderates by "galloping in a deeply unmoderate direction."

As the Times writes:
A war that began at the president’s choosing has degenerated into a desperate, bloody mess that has turned much of the world against the United States. The administration’s contempt for international agreements like the Geneva Conventions, for Congressional prerogatives and for the authority of the courts has undermined the rule of law abroad and at home.

Meanwhile, the political discussion in Washington has become a captive of the Bush agenda. Traditional beliefs like every person’s right to a day in court, or the conviction that the United States should not pick fights it does not know how to win, have wound up being portrayed as extreme. The middle is now a place where senators struggle to get the president to volunteer to obey the law when the mood strikes him.
In other words, congressional incumbents, the Washington Beltway, and much of the mainstream media is under the mistaken impression that the end of the plank to which the Bush administration has blindly walked the nation somehow is "the middle." It isn't. It's the far extreme.

Lieberman's apparent inability to comprehend this, and his refusal to accept the judgment of a record number of voters in his own party by announcing that he will continue running for the Senate office his party has denied him, is beginning to look uncomfortably like the tragedy of Shakespeare's wilfully vile Richard III:
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;--
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore,--since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,--
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

-- Act I, Sc. 1
For Lieberman, it's no longer about Connecticut, or the nation or democracy or security or party loyalty -- or any principle whatsoever. It's just about him and his pathetic, wounded pride.

By continuing to campaign as a so-called independent Democrat he is "determined to prove a villain." And, as with the villainous Richard III in Shakespeare's drama, it soon may be said of Joe Lieberman:
He hath no friends but who are friends for fear.
Which in his greatest need will shrink from him.

-- Act V, Sc. 1

Speaking of shrinking friends, Hotline reports that Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Dodd "has been tasked by his colleagues with trying to convince Lieberman to not mount an independent bid."

1 comment:

Bryan said...

I always considered Joe as the failed jester at the Shrubbery's imperial court. Failed because the emperor is a more complete clown than any mere jester could hope to become.