Funny, I just posted a long-winded piece on leading too much with our want-to’s, yet here I am.
But I do think it is appropriate to make the record complete by reminding politicians from time to time of what we know, even if they think we don’t, so that, when and if they embark off in direction contrary to all their high-sounding rhetoric over the years, yes, we know. It’s just for the record, mind you.
Joe Lieberman owes Bill Buckley a lot, virtually his entire political career, to be precise. Although at the beginning I’d guess that Buckley disliked Lowell Weicker more than he liked Joe, a genuine, deep and long lasting friendship ensued. At the heart of it was a deep and abiding religious faith.
Buckley was close to several Leftists over the years, for he admired integrity with articulateness to ones beliefs, more than one’s unfortunate choice of secular “gods”, who as we all know, can muddle all logic and reason. So becoming a friend with a mere classical Liberal of the 60’s kind was never much of strain.
I know WFB was publicly a little disappointed that Joe backtracked on some of his positions while Al Gore’s running mate, but how they got on about that in private I can’t say. I hope Bill’s biographer will include a few pages, as it is important to understanding the evolving psychology that is the U S Senate, for all us analysts out here.
But even if they had a row, and never spoke those last five of six years, Joe Lieberman owes Bill Buckley a bunch, for like Krauthammer and Limbaugh now (thought you’d never see those two names in the same sentence, eh?), in a line running back through George William Curtis to Ben Franklin, Buckley wasn’t just the conscience of a movement and an ideal, he was the conscience of just about everyone who ever bumped into him, which I did for bi-monthly for over thirty years.
What passes for a soul in Joe Lieberman is partly attributable to Buckley, so yes, he owes him.
That said, everyone already knows the scam Ben Nelson is about to play on the people of Nebraska. He will get some piece of wordage from the leadership, which he knows will never see the light of day in a final bill, (plus other enticements which, like Mary Landrieu’s, will be his to keep, no matter what) then vote with his party on cloture, then, in a snit (mock-snits are always fun to watch and record) vote against the final bill after either Harry Reid or the conference committee tosses his language out. Woe is me, Woe is me.
What will happen next has already been telegraphed to Ben. (About the only way Congress is taking messages these days.) Alexander King, the Greenwich Village artist and writer from the 50’s, had a great cartoon of a naked man rolled up under his own legs, about to kiss his arse good-bye. You see, this time, the people of Nebraska and the whole country see past this fraud even before it is perpetrated. Ben may finds himself in a quandry, so may yet roll with the Plains Punch rather than the Beltway Smackdown.
Who can say? We’re betting, as so many Democrat traitors-to-their-constituents have proved, a bunch of angry, screaming, cussing Nebraskans ain’t really that big a deal if you just buy a nice estate on Chespapeake, and stay the hell away from Lincoln. In the end, Ben will follow the lucre, not what’s left of his conscience. That’s our bet.
But Joe Lieberman is different. And he is different because of Bill Buckley. Just by calling Bill Buckley his friend for over 20 years, Joe Lieberman was known to actually believe what he said. Joe Lieberman was known to actually believe in the things he said he believed in. So, unlike Ben Nelson, who is in all likelihood (I can’t know the man’s heart, only his track record), only looking for a safe way to please everyone today, and cast blame for their failing him tomorrow, Joe Lieberman holds himself to a higher standard.
Today, Joe Lieberman already knows that the things he has asked for (dumping the state-run plan) is a canard, and that by the time the law goes into effect the privately run insurance companies will either be out of business (most will anyway) or wholly-owned utilities of the United State government. Either way, “competition”, which serves as the founding principle of Lieberman’s position, will be non-existent. Ben Nelson may not be smart enough to get that,. Al Franken certainly isn’t smart enough to get that. But Joe Lieberman is…in part because of Bill Buckley.
Joe also knows that he has a target on his back by the loony Left (actually rather mainstream, these days), from DailyCuss to Howard Dean and the ever-beautiful Ariana to Cliff’s Notes intellectuals like Keith Olbermann. They will not be called off. So watch your back, Joe, as they will actually get meaner in weeks to come, no matter what.
Finally, Joe now knows, if he didn’t already, the endless capacity for dishonesty by Harry Reid and some of his closest associates in the Senate. Even he has to be alarmed at the ease with which they simply ignored rules of the Senate rules dating back to Cicero in order to move the process along. This has never been done before. He now knows they have no boundaries…including (especially) being honest with him. He also knows Harry Reid has a personal grudge against him for dragging this out as long as he has. So get a taster for your soup, Joe, and stay out of fugu restaurants.
So, in the end Joe Lieberman has to know that he will be voting with the Democrats to achieve a thing he already knows in advance will never be a reality. Only, he is not Ben Nelson, or Mary Landrieu, who in the end can always be counted on to take the money and run. He doesn’t need a halo, or a get-out-of-jail-free card to show the folks back home.
He has only to live inside himself…
…because he was friend of Bill Buckley.
Oh, and did I mention that Jim Webb used to work for Ronald Reagan? There may be a conscience there to.