Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What in the name of all that's decent can we do about/with/to Holy Joe?


Would you trust this man to get your
coffee-and-bagel order right?

"My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time,
To make each punishment fit the crime,
Each punishment fit the crime."

-- the Mikado of Japan, in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado

by Ken

Let's see if anyone disagrees. Something really has to be done about Joe Lieberman. Any takers? (Dis-agreeing, that is.)

So really, the only question is, what the heck can be done?

You know who would have known? Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado of Japan. In Act II of The Mikado, searching his memory for the statutory punishment for "encompassing the death of the heir apparent," the best he can do is:
Something lingering, with boiling oil in it, I fancy. Something of that sort. I think boiling oil occurs in it, but I'm not sure. I know it's something humorous, but lingering, with either boiling oil or melted lead.

Oh yes, I'll bet he would have known how to deal with Holy Joe.

Yesterday Noah passed on an e-mailing from New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, cobbled together from several of the congressman's "Messages" on his website), which says in part:
Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these folks in charge?

Here's an idea: how about we fight for a Democratic bill?

It's time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate.

This afternoon the New York Times and other news outlets reported that Senator Lieberman was backing away from his own health care proposal, in part because I liked it.

If this wasn't so sad, it would be amazing. Here you have the most important legislation for millions of Americans' health and welfare, and apparently Senator Lieberman backs away from his own proposal.

Why? Because I and a professor at Yale like it.

All I can say charitably is I hope Senator Lieberman looks into his heart and does the right thing. This is not the time for anyone to act for politics, but to do the right thing. Let's be clear, this is an idea Senator Lieberman has proposed, repeatedly. That others embrace it should not be the criteria for leaders to make decisions. It would be tragic if this is what it appears, a decision based on hurting proponents of reform not helping the millions who need affordable health care coverage. [Emphasis added.]

I think it's safe to guess that the congressman has some unexpressed thoughts about the senator that are, shall we say, less tactful than those expressed here. Actually, it strikes me as pretty remarkable that he went this far in commenting on the actions of a sitting congressmember -- and of his own party, at least nominally. (Not that congressional etiquette is much more accepting of plain speaking regarding members of the opposite party, or at least traditional, pre-Teabag congressional etiquette.) One has to admire the artfulness with which he manages to restrict the scope of his charges to the senator's evident betrayal of his own past proposal.

Everybody has theories about what to do about Joe, but the level of expertise on the subject may be judged by the split by those claiming to be "in the know" between those who insist his behavior in the health care debate has been all about "moving to the right" for his reelection campaign (in Connecticut???) and those who insist he has decided against running again (and is therefore impervious to any punishment aimed at his electoral prospects).

One thing we know about our Joe is that he craves attention, and thrives on it even when it's negative. When he's getting attention, it's because he's throwing his weight around, and that makes him feel important. (This is my theory as to why he's never taken the logical step and switched to the Republican Party, where people like him belong. The fact is, as a Republican he'd be just another vicious right-wing-loon egomaniac, with the added baggage of a few historically held positions that would make him suspect among his Right-ful brethren.)

Another thing we know about our Joe is that he knows how to play his old bonds of fraternity (not to mention sisterhood) with his colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus, whom he plays like a kazoo. Even now, as he spits in their faces, there seems little chance that they would acquiesce in any of the altogether appropriate punishments Majority Leader Harry Reid might wish to impose.

In that spirit, I have a few outside-the-caucus thoughts to propose:


Right now I have a hunch that our Harry is thinking wistfully about that boiling oil, or maybe lead. Somehow, he hasn't learned yet (talk about a slow learner) that, however much slack you cut His Holiness, he takes that and a few miles more. So I just want to get the Mikado's idea on the record: something humorous, but lingering, with either boiling oil or melted lead. There are probably some technicalities that could be brought to bear against this, but I would like it understood that this would get my vote.


Who wouldn't thrill at the sight of every video camera in North America trained on Holy Joe and the lovely Hadassah as they're put in leg irons for transport to the dungeon where they will await their trial(s?) on the most serious charges of bribery and corruption.

If Scenario No. 1 is out of the question, I could unhesitatingly get behind this one. How much documentation has Howie provided here of the scope of the bribes Holy Joe and his unholy cohorts have been extracting from their corporate paymasters? I realize the conventional wisdom is that you can't prove "quid pro quo" in the shelling out of all these megadollar -- i.e., prove that vote A was cast in exchange for contribution X. I don't think that's why corrupt congresscritters aren't prosecuted. I think a skillful prosecutor who actually wanted to win the case (as opposed, for example, to the DoJ clowns who "accidentally" screwed up the prosecution of Alaska's senior Republicrook, former Sen. Ted Stevens) could sell the jury on the corrupt intent of our Joe and Hadassah and many of the more blatantly corrupt congressional thugs.

The problem is that all the people who would be required to investigate and prosecute His Holiness are part of the same corrupt system that tolerates their bribery-and-extortion racket in the first place. And the only people in a position to try to demand prosecution are people who hardly want prosecutors going there,


One day Holy Joe arrives at what used to be his office to find that it has been turned into a senatorial reading room, and that his new office is in a semiconverted janitor's close in a warehouse in Virginia. Luckily, his funding for staff has been reduced to cover only two operatives in D.C. and one in Connecticut, since it would be tough to fit more than two people in the new office space, where there's only one phone to answer anyway. Outgoing calls will probably be restricted by the fact that it's a pay phone.) The new office computer, drawing on a trick once practiced by Dilbert's coworkers against the Pointy-Haired Boss, is an Etch-a-Sketch. (From the demonstrated technological prowess of the Lieberman people, as evidenced in their 2006 campaign website and the famous accusation that the Lamont people had sabotaged their guaranteed-to-crash website.

Of course His Holiness has been relieved of his committee chairmanship, and indeed of all his committee assignments, except that he is now an ex-officio member of every Senate committee and subcommittee, with responsibility for providing coffee and other light refreshments for all of them. (A strict "no tipping" policy will be enforced.)


If it is felt that the senator's catering responsibilities are too onerous under Scenario No. 3, identical arrangements can be made for obvious candidates like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, assuming they too are denied their rightful days in court under Scenario No. 2. This could entail some hardship for their caucus colleagues, since these senators are known for following instructions from their corporate patrons with rigorous exactitude but from fellow Democrats, not so much. So we can expect a fair amount of back-and-forth such as Senator Schumer expostulating, "Aw, ferchrissakes, Ben, that was cream cheese on an everything bagel, not a buttered blueberry."

I don't know about you, but I think I could live with that.

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At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

I'd settle for Harry the Paper Tiger simply bucking Obama and tossing Joe out of his chairmanship--hell, I think Obama should stop singing kumbaya, and order it done. But not out of the caucus; no, let Joe do that, himself. And look even more nauseating on television.

But then, it's remediable if the bill's killed, and they start on reconciliation. Tough? Yes, but nobody said that if the bill passed the Senate by Christmas, we'd all get magic ponies. Hell, they took off all of August, I guess they can afford a few more months to do the bill right.

And don't you know that would be the perfect revenge on Holy Joe? Rendering him unimportant. He'd loathe that.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

"Rendering him unimportant"? Absolutely, he'd loathe that!



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