Kowtow to Lieberman Watch


Amid Kate Zernike’s NYT story about the back-scratching/stabbing, camera mugging, stump practicing, circus that was yesterday’s Congressional hearing (ostensibly, the reason was to ask Gen. Abizaid what he thought of the more troops/less troops, timetable vs. facts on the groud debate on Iraq strategy), came sickening evidence of the games that Joe Lieberman is playing with both sides of the asile:

There was the self-described “Independent Democrat — capital I, capital D,” who is at risk of bolting and taking his party’s new narrow majority with him. (Was that red tie a hint?) And there were the two parties, trying to bolster their positions on the war after an election that each side seemed to interpret in wildly different ways…

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, began acting the role of cross-examiner, leading Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American military commander in the Middle East, to say that such a withdrawal would increase violence and instability.

“I take it by your answer that you profoundly disagree?” Mr. Lieberman asked. With the Democrats, he meant. “We have a window of opportunity and, really, responsibility now, after the election,” he said, “to find a bipartisan consensus for being supportive of the efforts of our troops and our diplomats there to achieve success.”

To this, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the leading Democratic contender for the 2008 race, knocked back the remains in her coffee cup [Easy, Hill.]…

As [Flordia Dem. Senator] Mr. Nelson questioned General Abizaid, the Arizona senator [that’d be McCain] stood up to confer with Senator Susan M. Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine. At this, Mr. Lieberman got up and walked to the Republican side to join them in a brief, chuckling huddle, then ambled back to his party’s side with a glance at his colleagues as if to say, “You watching?”

In his questions, Mr. Lieberman noted that he was “picking up on” points Mr. McCain and [GOP Sen] Mr. Graham had made.

Sigh. Six more years of this.

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  • Clara Jeffery

    Clara Jeffery is Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones and recipient of a PEN America award for editing. You can follow her on Twitter.