There has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth about Joe Lieberman, with many trying to divine the reason for his health care obstructionism. Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly, points us to a new theory:
There’s been ample speculation about what motivates Lieberman, and what compels him to be so profoundly annoying. My hunch is that the independent senator is just spiteful, and wants to deny the left any victory at all. But Jon Chait offers an argument I haven’t seen emphasized elsewhere: maybe Joe Lieberman just isn’t very bright.
A snippet from Chait’s argument:
I think one answer here is that Lieberman isn’t actually all that smart. He speaks, and seems to think, exclusively in terms of generalities and broad statements of principle. But there’s little evidence that he’s a sharp or clear thinker, and certainly no evidence that he knows or cares about the details of health care reform.
We ignore Occam’s razor at our peril here. Joe Lieberman is not dumb. I realize that being a Yalie is not proof of intelligence (see, e.g., George W. Bush), but Lieberman was not a legacy. He was a passably good lawyer, even though he tended to grandstand as an AG, preferring a stirring press release to actual results. But that’s a politician’s way. He may have become intellectually lazy, but that’s not the same as being dumb. It just means he finds it easier to avoid situations where he has to answer challenging questions when he can choose to spout off in fora where he won’t be challenged.
No, Benen should definitely stick with his hunch. Joe Lieberman is causing much weeping and gnashing of teeth because that is his sole objective, and he has it in his power to achieve that objective. He doesn’t care about his constituents, and he no longer has any principles, if he ever did. Like the Lord, he insists that vengeance is his (as well as that cushy job in a right wing think tank after he decides not to run for re-election).