How Joe Lieberman Beat Himself
If Joe Lieberman truly were the man he claims to be—independent, fearless, thoughtful and brave—he would be well on his way to a fourth term in the United States Senate.
Instead, he faces an abrupt end to what was an admirable career.
Mr. Lieberman was rejected by the Democratic voters of Connecticut because he refused to acknowledge that he was wrong in supporting President George W. Bush’s misguided and disastrous war in Iraq. Far from being independent, Mr. Lieberman has toed the neoconservative line on the war, even as facts to the contrary, and the bodies of Americans and Iraqis, pile up.
And far from being brave, he has been afraid to admit his mistake, afraid to admit that the policy he supported has turned out to be a failure. During his campaign against eventual victor Ned Lamont, he was petulant and evasive—hardly a tower of integrity and intelligence.
The tragedy of Joe Lieberman is that in this moment of crisis, he let down his friends by becoming something other than the politician they had admired for years. It is important to remember that Joe Lieberman was, until recently, one of the Senate’s more thoughtful members. He was unafraid to speak truth to power, as he demonstrated when he condemned Bill Clinton on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the Lewinsky scandal.
It is sad to note that Mr. Lieberman apparently was more exercised about Mr. Clinton’s bad behavior, which hurt only the President’s reputation, than he has been about this horrible war in Iraq, which has killed thousands, many of them innocent civilians.
A truly thoughtful, brave and independent politician would have told the voters of Connecticut that he made a dreadful mistake.
Mr. Lieberman was hardly the only Democratic Senator who supported regime change in Iraq. At the time, given the misinformation the Bush administration was circulating, his position was justifiable. It is no longer. He has refused to acknowledge that, instead speaking in the Cheney-Rumsfeld monotone.
And now he has paid a price. In the end, he needed to be the Joe Lieberman of old. But that Joe Lieberman has disappeared.
Speaker Quinn Speaks Up for Safety
One of the most pleasant surprises in recent political memory has been the strong emergence of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as an important leader with vision. Occupying her post only since January, she has already kicked aside politics-as-usual and shown that she has no interest in continuing the City Council’s legacy of half-hearted reforms and empty rhetoric. She’s addressed the Council’s $150 million in annual pork-barrel spending by tightening the procedures that members must follow in requesting money for pet projects; she’s worked alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg to support legislation that severely restricts lobbyists’ access to city lawmakers and bars politicians from accepting gifts from lobbyists. Her fresh approach has placed her in the front ranks of talked-about successors to the Mayor in 2009.
This week, Ms. Quinn again showed her instincts for new ideas by proposing that city nightclubs be required to install security cameras at entrances and exits, as a response to the violence that has of late been growing, particularly at those clubs located in Manhattan. She is also pushing for more aggressive enforcement of drinking-age restrictions by installing identification-checking machines in bars and clubs. Both proposals will be raised at an upcoming summit meeting of club owners that Ms. Quinn has called.
While no one wants to put a cork in New York City’s nightlife, Ms. Quinn has a strong case to make for increasing the city’s role in making sure that violence is not part of the picture. In recent months, two young women were murdered during what they’d expected to be ordinary nights out on the town.
The most public opposition to Ms. Quinn’s camera plan is coming from leading gay advocates, who fear a loss of privacy. Those issues will no doubt be debated in the Council chambers, as they should be. Indeed, if there is any value as important as public safety, it is the constitutionally assured right to privacy.
Marriage Makes the Heart Glow Fonder
Before you get tempted to pick a fight with your loved one tonight, you might want to ponder some recent medical news. According to a study reported in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the benefits of living with someone are profound. In fact, your spouse may be saving your life: Having studied 138,000 subjects, Danish researchers found that, among people between the ages of 30 and 69, those who live alone are almost twice as likely to suffer from a serious heart condition, from angina to a fatal heart attack, as those who live with a partner.
Living alone, by itself, apparently doesn’t doom one to cardiac catastrophe. Rather, it seems it’s the slovenly habits that a life of solitude encourages that are to blame. Those who live with another person, the study showed, tend to take better care of themselves: They eat less fat, exercise more and smoke less than their solitary peers, who are more apt to go for the extra scoop of ice cream than to go for a jog.
This would seem to go against the conventional wisdom that, once married, people let themselves go, while single folks work out like maniacs to stay in top shape for the purpose of attracting a mate. Instead, the research suggests, coupledom encourages clean living.
For those wedded to the single life, things don’t get better as time goes on: The study revealed that for men over 50 and women over 60, the heart risks associated with living alone increase threefold.
So a long-term relationship may not always make you happy, but it will certainly help your heart.