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OP-ED | Is Politico’s Manu Raju High?

by | Dec 17, 2010 4:00pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Congress, Media Matters, Opinion

If you ever feel like the folks in Washington (including the DC press corps) are out of touch with the reality of life outside the Beltway, reading Manu Raju’s Politico piece Wooing Joe Lieberman for 2012 will do nothing to disabuse you of the notion.

It was like reading badly written scene from a young adult novel, depicting Harry and Patty as they duke it out with John and Jim to have Joe be their BFF and sit with them in the cafeteria at lunch LOLing.  Lieberman, of course, simpers that he is “touched — and I mean, it sincerely — by the number of Democratic colleagues who have said to me that they hope I will run again.”

All I could think while reading this piece was: Did I miss the breaking news about pot being legalized? If not, can I have some of whatever the hell Raju and all these Dems allegedly urging Joe to run again are taking?

Then Chris Cillizza wrote in The Fix in the Washington Post, “Could ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ save Joe Lieberman?” He must have been out partying with Manu Raju.

From here on the ground in Connecticut, it looks like these people are high. Or else they’re so busy trying to get Lieberman to share their sandwiches in the lunchroom like teenage girls who haven’t learned that life’s so much better when you date a mensch than a schmuck, that they haven’t noticed his dismal approval ratings here at home. Face it, in an October PPP poll the guy came in third with 19% in a hypothetical three way race against Rep. Chris Murphy (39%) and Peter Schiff (25%).

You know things are grim when after 22 years in office, the voting public dislikes you even more than Peter Schiff, the guy Stu Rothenberg just dubbed “the smuggest and most clueless of them all.” If Lieberman is thinking about forming another sham political party to run as an Independent, he’s not exactly in the running for Prom King with CT’s indies either, with 56 percent of independent voters disapproving of his job performance.

The problem for Joe is, we Nutmeggers have neither forgotten nor forgiven the lies. Like when he told us back in 2006,  “I have long supported the goal of universal health care,” and then once safely back in D.C. threated to filibuster to thwart its passage.  Democrats certainly haven’t forgotten how he two-timed us by “pallin’ around” with Sarah Palin and John McCain, culminating with his speech at the 2008 Republican Convention.

As recently as this summer Lieberman refused to endorse now Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal, because his opponent, Linda McMahon “was good enough to support me financially and politically in the 2006 general election.”  Of course, Blumenthal supported Lieberman until he lost the primary to Ned Lamont, at which point he respected the voice of the voters and offered support (albeit clearly reluctant and somewhat chilly) to the Democratic nominee.  But that brief act of party loyalty was enough to break the bond of BFF-ship, as far as Joe was concerned.

Lieberman seems to be really enjoying keeping everyone guessing and pissing off as many people as possible. He’s channeled his inner McCarthy by proposing the clearly unconstitutional Shield Act, and threatening to pursue espionage charges against the New York Times.  Meanwhile by leading the drive to push through the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he’s not exactly endearing himself to the social conservatives.

So Joe had better enjoy his brief stint as Prom Queen. Because while NRSC Chairman John Cornyn might be batting his eyelashes and engaging in flirty “friendly banter” with Lieberman, he’s also planning a tete a tete with Connecticu’s one-woman stimulus package, Linda McMahon. I’m thinking maybe Joe should eat at Rob Simmons’ lunch table to offer a little gossip about how well the whole “Linda” thing worked out for him.

Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.

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(16) Archived Comments

posted by: John in Hamden | December 17, 2010  10:46pm

I tried to not shout or laugh when I read this piece in the Post. I kept my answer to his question very simple this morning. But, I think you may be on to something.  I’ll take two of whatever he’s smoking and check back on Monday because I know I’d have missed the weekend.

This is how I commented on the article about Joe’s re-election: “Worked to get him elected from his first election as Connecticut Attorney General until his election in 2006. I’ve been a delegate to every Connecticut State Democratic convention since 1983 except one. 

The answer to your question is quite simply NO! 
End of story! Next case of political fancy please!”

Joe stands two chances of re-election—- slim and none!

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | December 18, 2010  9:23am

Will Lieberman himself be voting today on DADT.  It’s the Sabbath.

posted by: LazLong | December 19, 2010  12:06am

Well said.  while I thank Joe for support on the overturn of DADT, I will work night and day for his defeat, should he choose to run, in the 2012 election.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 19, 2010  1:33am


Joe’s only real fault in CT was defying the Democratic Party elite and embarrassing the poor little tools in 2006. He will do it again in 2012.

Some never learn: Progressivism is dead.

The funniest aspect: Blumenthal’s positions are a mirror image of Lieberman’s except on gay marriage. Dick’s soft pedaled his support for the death penalty, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, CT military contracts, incremental health care change to protect the insurance companies, etc.

In some way it s Jewish War: Joe’s pseudo-Orthodoxy makes the more progressive liberal movements of Judaism and non-practicing cultural Jews uncomfortable. What are the Orthodox and Hasidim—only 10% of American Jewry?

posted by: ... | December 19, 2010  2:27am


I’ll really need to look over his record, but right now I’m about 70/30 not voting for him in the 2012 Primary.

The only way he could get my vote is if the Democratic party put up a flip flopper or personal worse than Lieberman. I have the feeling 2012 GOP will be another McMahon/Schiff/Simmons race, but much closer because of McMahon’s 2010 failure.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 19, 2010  9:59am


More on Lieberman’s Judaism and Joe’s split from Liberal Judaism in the Democratic Party.


Rabbi Fish led the Protests at Lieberman’s home last year and Reform Jews in CT and outside CT were vocal in their prayers for Joe’s Jewish soul.

I don’t know if Joe can survive a rebellion in the ranks of Judaism. The Democrats he can handle if he keeps his base.


posted by: saramerica | December 19, 2010  11:46am


GoatBoy, I worship at an Orthodox synagogue and keep a kosher home. Joe’s “pseudo Orthodoxy” as you term it, although I’m not sure what that means, has absolutely nothing to do with my objections to him as a Senator. It’s to do with like healthcare (where he flat out lied) civil liberties (investigate the NYT for espionage?). Please do not try to deflect by turning this into a “Jewish issue”. That is just plain WRONG.

posted by: hawkeye | December 19, 2010  1:52pm

Joe Lieberman has been in Congress for too long, and it’s time for him to retire.  He is part of the same Congressional crew that has insanely spent our country into near bankruptcy, over the years.

Unfortunately, Richard Blumenthal, will continue with Lieberman’s big spender role.

We can’t catch a break.!

posted by: hawkeye | December 19, 2010  1:59pm

GoatBoyPHD:  Joe Lieberman’s choice of Judaism, is his personal business.

It’s only Lieberman’s choice, and does not require to be elaborated upon.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 20, 2010  2:39am


While its easy to claim Joe’s choice of Judaic worship is his own business it’s quite obvious that the Jewish community did not take that approach in discussing the Health Care Bill and other litmus test issues.

Leading Progressive Jewish pubs like Forward and mainstream blogs like Huff Po discussed the issue.

My point: if that base fractures openly and opposes Joe in 2012 then Joe’s in trouble.

posted by: saramerica | December 20, 2010  9:44am


In terms of that base fracturing, I think it already has. In 2006, there was a very strong “vote for Joe because of Israel” pressure. I myself was livid to see ads in Jewish publications across the country trying to make it sound like if Joe didn’t win, Israel was in imminent danger. He’s not going to be able to get away with that again in 2012.There are too many other factors, and he’s not going to be able to paint Courtney or Murphy as “anti-Israel”.

posted by: hawkeye | December 20, 2010  9:48am

GoatBoyPHD:  I believe the Jewish Community, will unite, to support Joe Lieberman in 2012, as it has done is past elections.
That’s the least of Joe Lieberman’s problems.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 20, 2010  11:59am


What I see happening Sara is a maturation of the process similar to what Catholics went through between the time of JFK and Teddy. JFK could count on the Catholic Identity Vote. It was unconditional love.

Teddy’s stance on some litmus test issues like abortion and gay rights put him at odds with the Conservatives and open to criticism from fellow Catholics as a Cafeteria Catholic who’d sell his soul for politics. Catholic Identity was no longer enough.

Hawkeye may be right and there’s a return to year 2000 normalcy but I think the blogosphere and the entrenched anti-Joe opposition will hound him in the Progressive Jewish Journals and this in turn will leak over to MSM particularly if it takes the form of real political opposition such as prayer vigils led by Reformist Rabbis. Those are the type of events that resonate.

If Joe gets re-elected what’s the worse thing that happens? President Trump gives him his own Star Chamber or HUAC chairmanship to hound the Reformist opposition?

posted by: saramerica | December 20, 2010  1:34pm


Hawkeye, if Lieberman is counting on the united, unconditional love of the Jewish community, he’s in for a shock.

posted by: OutOfOutrage | December 20, 2010  4:33pm


Hmm so after generations of perpetually re-electing terrible representatives the CT electorate is going to draw the line at Joe Leiberman??  I don’t think so. 

If Joe wants re-election, Joe gets re-election.

posted by: hawkeye | December 20, 2010  5:07pm

saramerica: It would be a shock if Joe Lieberman is reelected, should he choose to run.

He’s part of the old school, which got our country into the trouble we are in!

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