Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Miss Joe Lieberman's Money

Item #1 (courtesy of Atrios):
Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on Morning Sedition this morning:

I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.

Item #2 Lieberman's piece in today's Wall Street Journal titled, "Our Troops Must Stay" (subscription only):
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical.

Joe goes on from there, cheerleading Bush and the war, ignoring the realities of:
-- death squads roaming Iraq (trained and equipped by U.S. contractors -- see post, below),
-- a lack of water and electricity in most parts of the country, and
-- surging violence, both against our troops and against Iraqis by Iraqis.

Alas, Joe was but a blip on the Democratic primary screen back in heady days of the campaign in 2004. But his rah-rah support for the war today brings to mind one of my all-time favorite posts I ever put up at Daily Kos.

It was this gem (originally posted January 14, 2005) that I repost here, in full:


I was paid to bash Joe Lieberman.

Joe's campaign paid me in unmarked bills, ten bucks a bash. Each ten bucks would come with a little, hand-written thank you note from Joe. I've saved them all.

The strategy was designed to create a backlash sympathy vote for Joe by constantly tearing him to shreds in the blogosphere.

In retrospect, it was a bad strategy. The backlash sympathy vote never materialized.

Still, it was a rewarding experience to be part of a major presidential campaign. Let me give you a few of the details...

After Joe appeared on Meet the Press back in September of 2003, I ripped him here for saying George Bush was a "strong, moral leader." Joe sent me this note:

Thanks for the new asshole! Ouch! With a few more posts like that, I'll be the runaway winner in New Hampshire! Did I look okay? I was trying something new with my hair. A little different comb-over thingy. Thanks again! The tide is starting to turn and people are feeling more and more sorry for me with each passing day!

--- Your friend, Joe Lieberman

A few weeks later, I tore him to shreds here for his repeated use of his lame, new catchphrase, "I've got Joementum!" Joe sent me this missive:
Hi Bob!

Great job today! I almost believed you really DO hate "Joementum" given the amount of bile spewed forth in your post on Daily Kos. Fantastic stuff! Did I sound okay at that press conference? I'm trying something new with my voice... not so whiny and nasally. Did I sound more macho? I dropped the register an octave with the help of a voice coach. Keep up the good work. I heard someone in a crowd say to the person next to them today, "That poor Lieberman. He really thinks he's gonna' be President." Your work is having the desired effect! Sympathy is on the march and it's coming my way!

-- Your buddy in Joementum, Joe Lieberman

I continued my work even when polls showed that Joe was actually losing ground rather than gaining sympathy votes. After a Sunday morning appearance on Fox where Joe claimed that George Bush was actually "a god sent here from another universe to save us," I wrote a diary calling Joe an "unparalleled, ass-licking jackass." Joe sent me this touching note:
My good friend Bob,

You are truly creative! I do hope you understand that I have never actually licked George Bush's rectum! (Kidding!) You delivered those lines today so convincingly, that the untrained eye would have thought you really believed them! Good stuff! I feel the tide flowing our way, Bob. Joementum has caught on. I saw a woman today in Derry wearing a t-shirt that said "Dale Earnhardt had Joementum." That's something, isn't it? It's catching on.

Did you see any footage of my speech at the high school there? I was wearing elevator shoes to give me a more commanding presence. Did I look more imposing? We're going to take this thing, Bob.

Today when I said that George Bush would personally gut Saddam Hussein and roast him on a spit over an open fire, I received a huge cheer from all six people in the gym. Someone later told me only four of them cheered, but I could tell the other two felt sorry for me. The sympathy strategy is working! Keep up the good work! And enjoy the ten dollars!

-- Your future President, Joe Lieberman

There were more, of course. Many more. All told, I made $950 off my Lieberman-bashing campaign.

I continue bashing Joe to this day, even though I haven't received a personal note from Joe with a sawbuck paperclipped to it in months. I'm not sure, but I may be off the payroll.

Still, I feel a certain kinship with Joe. I only hope that someday, somehow, my Joe bashing pays off in a groundswell of backlash sympathy for one of my personal heroes.

And, hey, I'm glad I got this all out in the open. I guess there is some good to come of this kos story.

Thanks for listening. I hope you can forgive me.

Your friend,

Bob Johnson


At 12/04/2005 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, this was one of the first posts I remember reading by you at kos. Hilarious, indeed. Thanks for the reminder.


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