So let's see...a congressman gets exposed as a child sexual predator, having Internet sex with underage pages between House votes. A fellow Republican congressman exposes evidence that the Speaker of the House was informed of the sexual predator's behavior, and did nothing about it for months or even years. The Speaker does not deny the evidence. Yet, when lawmakers call for the Speaker to resign, what does Joe Lieberman do? He focus his major attacks not on the sexual predator, not on the Speaker who covered up the scandal - but instead, he attacks critics of the Speaker.
No really, this is not a joke. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Joe Lieberman's comments from today in Torrington about the scandal, in which he reiterates his earlier attacks on Ned Lamont and others for calling for Hastert's immediate resignation in the wake of the sexual predator scandal:
"Right now I'd say this thing is spinning out of control, it's become another partisan frenzy in Washington, that's the wrong way to go at it."
So let me get this straight: Joe Lieberman's major reaction to this awful, disgusting and horrific scandal is to berate as "partisan" those who want just a smidgeon of accountability? Of course, he never explains how it can be "partisan" when many of the loudest calls for Hastert's immediate resignation are from conservatives. But even beyond the dishonesty is the sheer shamelessness of it all. These pious declarations are coming from the same man who used the consensual affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky to build his own name recognition by parading himself all over the Washington talk show circuit as Mr. Moral.
Just step back and think about this for a second: think about how much of a career politician you have to be to have your first reaction to a sexual predator scandal be "Dammit, the people who want answers are too partisan!" Think about how bloodless you have to be to look at a situation where a minor was seized on as sexual prey by a Congressman and react to it by defending from attack the people who covered it up.
Many have been disgusted with Lieberman's refusal to hold the White House accountable when it came to the Iraq War, and his vicious attacks on those who have criticized the war. But this goes from disgusting to nauseating. Watching him, you think you are watching a smarmy politician in a B comedy movie about Washington. You know, the guy who goes before cameras to claim to be a moral pious man, and then turns around, pockets a huge amount of Republican cash from moneymen funding the legal defense of indicted government officials, and then goes back out and attacks those demanding action to deal with the cover up of a child sexual predator scandal.
Put another way, this is the kind of behavior that confirms all the awful stereotypes people think about politicians. As Lamont told reporters today in reiterating his call for Hastert to resign immediately, people in Washington like Lieberman are reacting to this story as if children are just props in morally challenged politicians' never-ending quest to hold onto power. It's sick and its wrong - and it's time for a change.
(DISCLOSURE: I have long been a volunteer supporter of Ned Lamont's candidacy and written extensively about the race. As of Labor Day, I am officially working with the Lamont for Senate campaign on research. The writing on this blog is my own, and not the official work I do for the Lamont campaign.)