How Out of Touch Can A Washington Politician Be?

It strikes me that there is something very telling about Joe Lieberman's new "don't worry be happy" ad - something that shows exactly why Connecticut voters are so ready to throw him out of office. The ad asks voters to simply relax and think about all the "good stuff" that ol' Joe thinks is going on in the world. Do you realize how so totally divorced from reality you have to be to look at the world today and think that by sheer repetition of 30-second ads, you can make everyone believe that "it's morning in America?" I mean, really - what's next - is Lieberman going to break out a pocketwatch and start waving it in front of voters faces and say "you are getting sleepy...everything is great...vote for me"?

Consider this:

- The ad telling people to relax and focus on the "good stuff" came out the very same day the Census Bureau reported that an increasing number of Connecticut residents are in poverty and without health insurance. Specifically, almost one in 10 Connecticut residents now lives below the poverty line and has been forced to go without health insurance at some point in the last year - dramatic jumps from just a few years ago.

- The ad telling people to relax and focus on the "good stuff" came out the same day that 50 people were killed in gun battles and suicide bomings in Iraq.

- The ad telling people to relax and focus on the "good stuff" came out the same week as the anniversary of the Katrina disaster - the same week we see that a wide swath of our own country has been left to rot after our top White House and congressional leaders did nothing to protect the area.

Lieberman, of course, wants us to forget about his aggressive support for corporate-written trade deals like NAFTA and China PNTR that have destroyed Connecticut's economy by driving wages, job security and benefits into the ground. He wants us to forget that he co-wrote the legislation authorizing the President to invade Iraq, and that he has used his Senate platform to attack those in Congress who are pushing for an exit strategy from Iraq. He wants us to forget that he confirmed and lavished praise on the federal disaster management officials who allowed Katrina to happen - and then after the disaster struck, bragged that his default position all along is to simply confirm Bush nominees without asking questions.

But beyond the dishonesty is the sheer out of touch nature of Joe Lieberman. Beyond him trying to distract attention, we have to ask ourselves - how totally out of touch with reality does someone have to be to look at the period we are in, and then air television ads telling people to kick back and just pretend everything is swell? How out of touch does a campaign have to be to look out on the crises unfolding in our country, and then, as Lieberman hack Dan Gerstein did today, spend time insisting to reporters that the image in their insulting "good stuff" ad is not a sunset but, "is actually a sunrise - it's very much a sunrise"? Is that really what the Lieberman campaign has devolved into - a campaign that is so blinded by its own desperate desire to hold onto power, that it spends its time and resources telling people to simply forget about the world we live in and focuses its media message on making sure everyone knows an image in a 30-second spot is a sunrise?

The fact is, life may be good for people like Lieberman - he and his wife, living large off her drug industry-sponsored salary, can kick back in the Senate club and think about all the "good stuff." He is, after all, the Senator who went to Iraq and came back saying how wonderful everything looked to the point where Time magazine's Baghdad bureau chief told a radio interviewer that "Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line."

Lieberman, who has already likened voters to terrorist sympathizers, will likely at some point dip down into Sprio Agnew-like vitriol about America being filled with "nattering nabobs of negativism" (his red-baiting neanderthal buddies at the editorial board of one paper have gone ahead and started this mantra today). But the truth is, America hasn't lost the plot, isn't inherently predisposed to negativism and can't simply create storylines about "good stuff." We actually live in the real world - the place that Lieberman's ads want to pretend doesn't exist, the place where people are forced to actually live through the messes that Lieberman helped create. And the more Lieberman tells everyone to simply forget about the crises that continue to unfold, the more he telegraphs exactly why voters in Nobember should send him out of the Senate and packing for that fat K Street job he's clearly preparing himself for. If Lieberman knows one thing - he knows that all the "good stuff" that he alludes to in his ads are available to him there as a high-paid lobbyist.