December 22, 2009 | Commentary on Health Care
The Left is lost without a villain. You can't have victims without one.
To maintain its cult of victimology, the Left must identify (or create) bad guys. Hence, according to the narrative from the Left:
The Democrats' choice for Vice President in 2000, Sen. Lieberman (I, CT) is now Public Enemy Number One to the Left.
Heaping blame on him is also a convenient way to hide the divisions among Democrats, including several other Democrat Senators who did as much as Lieberman to quash the most recent version of health care legislation.
It's easier to scapegoat a villain than to admit your ideas fail because they're flawed. The Left prefers to drop someone from hero to zero than to acknowledge that liberals have overreached.
When Lieberman helped kill the "public option" and Medicare expansion provisions of the Senate's health care overhaul, moveon.org placed a multi-million-dollar bounty on his head. Within 24 hours, the far-left group had raised the first $1 million of this amount through their web site.
Fellow-stater Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D, CT) wants Lieberman recalled.
Liberal blogger Jane Hamsher went after Lieberman's wife, Haddaseh. The proprietor of firedoglake.com insisted that the Susan G. Komen breast-cancer charity fire Mrs. Lieberman. (The punishments to be rained on the Lieberman children and family pets have yet to be determined.)
Michael Moore tweeted: "People of Connecticut: What have u done 2 this country? We hold u responsible. Start recall of Lieberman 2day or we'll boycott your state."
A poll of HuffingtonPost readers found 81% want Lieberman stripped of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) says that's not likely. That only pushed Reid into the target sights of angry left-wingers.
But "What to do about Joe Lieberman?" is an old question for the Left.
It was asked when he supported the Iraq war. That position led to his defeat in the 2006 Democratic primary. But Lieberman then ran as an independent candidate and won re-election to the Senate.
It was asked when he supported Sen. John McCain (R, AZ) for President and even spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2008.
The question remains. The answer still eludes.
Lieberman's gutsiness has endeared him to conservatives. But much of his politics does not. He remains a leader in efforts to impose cap-and-trade burdens on our economy. He just pushed through committee an expansion of federal benefits for same-sex partners. As one Democrat blog noted, "He's a liberal on the environment, civil rights, taxes, abortion, gun control."
But he bucks the party often enough that dyed-in-the-wool liberals give the Grinch more love than they give Joe. While they condemn the GOP's supposed lack of tolerance and diversity, the Left speaks of Lieberman in terms that would be labeled hate speech if uttered by a conservative.
As CNN reported:
"The Huffington Post asked readers, what would you give Joe Lieberman for Hanukkah? And got suggestions like a muzzle or a horse's head like in 'The Godfather.' The left-wing Daily Kos posted a poll asking which word describes Joe Lieberman and offering only the same word (a vulgar term for a donkey's anus) -- so much for multiple choice. On YouTube, Joe Lieberman's eyes and other body parts were fried in hell (video of eggs frying)."
Other samples from the left side of the web:
He also takes the heat when others won't. The Medicare expansion was not doomed single-handedly by Lieberman. It was doomed when 10 Senate Democrats wrote Majority Leader Reid a letter saying their states' doctors and hospitals could not survive the lower fees they would be paid under his plan.
But 10 Senators are too many to make an object lesson. The attractive alternative? Pick on an already-unpopular Joe.
(Signers of that letter were Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota.)
Liberals want to send "their" party a strong message: Conform or else. Joe Lieberman is the most convenient whipping boy. To them, he demonstrates the old adage that if nothing else, you can always serve as a bad example.
Ernest Istook is recovering from serving 14 years in Congress and is now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in Human Events