By Matthew Rothschild on November 13, 2006
Lieberman Might Jump Ship
By Matthew Rothschild

November 13, 2006

I had the misfortune of watching Joe Lieberman on Meet the Press Sunday.

He was his usual, insufferable, unctuous self.

And he was parroting the conventional wisdom that the elections represent “the return of the center of American politics.”

"I'm not ruling it out," he told Tim Russert.

That’s convenient for him, though it ignores the victory of socialist Bernie Sanders in Vermont and populists like Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Jon Tester in Montana.

Lieberman claims to be in the center, though he won 70 percent of the Republican vote, which gives you a better indication of his leanings.

And he may tip over soon.

I’m sure Democratic leaders in Congress were not delighted by his response to the following question from Tim Russert: If the Democrats “ask for discipline in the Democratic caucus, and you start to feel uncomfortable with it, would you consider going across the aisle, and joining the Republicans, if they gave you the same chairmanship that you had, and respected your seniority?”

Lieberman responded: “Yeah, well, that’s a hypothetical, which I’m not going to deal with there. I’m going to be an optimist, and take some encouragement from the fact this was an election in which, in the House and Senate, Democrats came to the majority of both chambers by electing moderates mostly.”

Russert pressed him by asking, “You’re not ruling that out at some future time?”

To which Lieberman said, “I’m not ruling it out, but I hope I don’t get to that point.” And then he added that he appreciated the support he had received from Republicans.

Lieberman also implicitly impugned the patriotism of Democrats who fight for partisan goals. Early on in his interview, he said he told his constituents in Connecticut, “I promise you I will put progress and patriotism ahead of partisanship and polarization.” Later, he added: “The American people are considering both major political parties to be in a kind of probation, because they’re understandably angry that Washington is dominated too much by partisan political games, and not enough by problem solving and patriotism.”

So if Democrats take a principled stand on, say, the issue of withdrawal from Iraq or impeachment, Lieberman already has his brush dipped in paint to smear them with the word “unpatriotic.” Then he just might jump ship.

The man who ran as Gore’s running mate on the 2000 Democratic ticket may end up a Republican yet, and swing the Senate back to Bush.

A snake is a snake.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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