When my daughter was born, my then-3-year-old son clearly felt neglected, as first children always do in such situations. And as always happens, my son started acting up in a play for attention. In his case, he regressed on his potty training, crapping his pants. In a bid for attention, that certainly worked.
Enter Joe Lieberman, and his successful bid for attention yesterday, promising to screw Democrats for the umpteenth time by joining Republicans in a filibuster of the Democratic health care plan. Whatever.
As much as our favorite boogeyman loves the limelight, there's one thing he loves even more -- being Senator. There are two possible options looking ahead to 2012: 1) he will retire, and if so, we have zero leverage with the guy. He will either vote for cloture after getting the proper feting (or behind closed-door threats) from Reid and Obama (hence the tame and diplomatic reaction to Lieberman's intransigence), or he'll deliver for his insurance industry pals in Connecticut by making common cause with Republicans. But if he 2) plans on running for reelection (the likelier choice), then his leverage is reduced dramatically. It wasn't that long ago that we polled Connecticut:
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 9/8-10. Likely voters. MoE 4%
Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
All 68 21
Dem 83 8
Rep 33 55
Ind 73 15
Granted, Lieberman is holding a serious grudge against Connecticut Democrats, but those Independent numbers aren't too far off, and even those Republican numbers are better than most (Maine Republicans, for example, oppose it by a 18-58 margin) -- and this poll was taken in the reform nadir right after the teabagging August. Health care numbers have improved in the months since.
Given that Lieberman already trailed badly in hypothetical matchups against Attorney General Dick Blumenthal and Gov. Jodi Rell while suffering from a negative approval rating (47-50 favorability before these latest antics), Lieberman can't afford to oppose his constituents on an issue of this magnitude and expect to have any hope of surviving reelection.
In other words, Lieberman is crapping his pants for attention. Call his bluff.