Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gail Gets Paid to Write Crap

Joe Lieberman doesn't like the health care plan. The reason for this is pretty simple. It will be unpopular, it won't achieve anything useful, and it is not in his political interests to be tethered to it. That, or, well... Here's Gail Collins.

Let us contemplate the badness of Joe Lieberman.


Let us contemplate the badness of this opening sentence, which also serves as an opening paragraph. This is why the New York Times is a junk bond.

Who would have thought that this holiday season we’d be obsessed with the senator from Connecticut? Really, I was hoping it would be more about shopping for mittens on the Internet.


So this whole debate has distracted Gail from trivial things. Now, she has to write about an issue of substance at her, um, job.

Lieberman’s apparently successful attempt to hijack health care reform and hold it hostage until it had been amended into something that liberals couldn’t stomach has mesmerized the nation’s political class. This was, after all, a guy who has been a liberal on domestic issues since he was a college student campaigning for John F. Kennedy. A guy who was in favor of the public option, of expanding Medicare eligibility, until — last week.


When polls began to indicate that the bill in untenable. It's all political. Thanks for the article Gail, have a merry...

The theories about Why Joe Is Doing It abound.

Why is "Why Joe Is Doing It" capitalized? What theories are abounding? What's the point of having a political class that is mesmerized by the banal?

We cannot get enough of them! I have decided to start a rumor that it all goes back to the 2004 presidential race, when Lieberman not only failed to win any primaries, but was also bitten by either a rabid muskrat or a vampire disguised as a moose.


Setting aside the staggeringly maladroit animal jokes, this is simply an excuse to get a dig in at Lieberman for being an unsuccessful presidential candidate. Who was successful? John Kerry. Yeah, he really took the ball and ran with that one, didn't he?

Other than that, my favorite explanation comes from Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, who theorized that Lieberman was able to go from Guy Who Wants to Expand Medicare to Guy Who Would Rather Kill Health Care Than Expand Medicare because he “isn’t actually all that smart.”

I'm beginning to develop a similar theory about a certain New York Times columnist.

It’s certainly easier to leap from one position to its total opposite if you never understood your original stance in the first place, and I am thinking Chait’s theory could get some traction. “When I sat next to him in the State Senate, he always surprised me by how little he’d learned about the bill at the time of the vote,”


How ironic that he stands athwart a bill that nobody has read.

said Bill Curry, a former Connecticut comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial nominee.


This is the guy who called Ho Chi Minh a political genius. Joe Lieberman is no Ho Chi Minh, that's for sure. Also, are we supposed to be surprised that someone trying to secure the liberal vote in Connecticut is critical of Joe Lieberman?

I really like the not-that-bright theory, in part because it’s as good an explanation as any, and in part because it will definitely drive Lieberman nuts.


Which, apparently, is what the New York Times pays Gail to do.

But I have a different mission today, and that is to apologize to John Kerry.

But you just spent... All those paragraphs... Wasted...

I frequently made fun of Kerry for being a terrible presidential candidate. Which he was. But there comes a point when we the people have to move on.


Who hasn't moved on from John Kerry? Is there a large swath of the Democratic party making John Kerry effigies and continuing to add Howard Dean bumper stickers.

And Kerry has been a really good former failed presidential candidate... He actually seems more interested in doing stuff than being admired.

If Gail were a competent writer, this would be seen as a dig at Barack Obama. She is not, and so I am left to assume this is accidental.

Lieberman was a terrible vice presidential candidate.


What? That's ridiculous. There was a point at which some people were talking about switching up the Gore/Lieberman ticket. He was universally regarded as a great vice presidential candidate.

(Like John Edwards, he not only lost his vice presidential debate, he managed to make Dick Cheney seem likable.)


No, the fact that Cheney was given a forum to speak at length about his policies made him seem likable, on account of he's likable. Does Gail actually remember the debate? Did she even watch it?

But instead of going back to something he could actually do well, he ran for president.


Who is it that Gail Collins wanted to see win that primary? She has already dissed Kerry and Edwards. I can't imagine she's ginned up over Howard Dean right now. Is she retroactively throwing her support to Wesley Clark?

Let’s look at our two failed-national-candidate models. You can move on, and try to make yourself useful (Kerry, Al Gore). Or you can work out barely suppressed rage by attacking things that you used to be for, like trying to control Medicare costs (McCain) or expanding Medicare eligibility (Lieberman).


Or you can get a campaign staffer pregnant (Edwards).

Kerry and Gore never believed their success was due to their innate likability.


I should hope not.

Politicians switch direction all the time, but the Lieberman experience has been weird because he doesn’t seem to feel as though he’s changed.


Gail suddenly knows what Joe Lieberman is feeling?

Observers who have known him for a long time feel as though they’re living out a scene in a science-fiction movie when the guy who’s just been bitten by the vampire-moose comes home and sits down to dinner, unaware that he’s sprouting antlers.

I'm glad we decided to bring back the vampire moose analogy.

I used to cover Lieberman when he was the majority leader of the State Senate in Connecticut.


Prior to his being bitten by the apparently proverbial vampire moose.

...he kept a Mass card from Robert Kennedy’s funeral to remind him of the principles to which he had dedicated his career. Showing me the card, he remarked casually that he hadn’t looked at it for some time. I wrote an article using the neglected Kennedy card as a metaphor for Lieberman’s fall from his old ideals into the pragmatic politics of a party leader.


Well, that's a better metaphor than the moose thing. That said, it negates the entire last half of the piece, which argues that Joe Lieberman has changed. Apparently, he has always been a pragmatist, so what was the point of this op-ed, other than to call Joe Lieberman a stupid head?


He was outraged and wounded, and I believe I apologized.
Taking back the apology now.


In summary, Joe Lieberman is really bad because he's stupid, but the point is that we really owe an apology to John Kerry, because Joe Lieberman has been bitten by a vampire moose when he ran for president that made him stupid, just like he always was.

Nice work, Gail. You write, what, two of these a week? Must be tough.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sarah said...

"It’s certainly easier to leap from one position to its total opposite if you never understood your original stance in the first place"

Take your own words Gail. It seems to me you've switched it up a few times in this article. Maybe you should understand your original stance before writing an article.

6:02 AM  

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