The Lieberman Redux

The Daily Howler pointed out what I pointed out regarding Lieberman’s part in Clinton’s impeachment. Except this assessment is off a bit.

Joseph Lieberman’s speech really did serve as a marker, whether he was at the front of the train by design or simply noticed it and jumped in front of it. He may or may not have “saved Clinton’s presidency” (as the New Republic now firmly believes, and I suggested in that blog look back, and I don’t really have a firm stand on, but try this anyway), by churning through that thin line in public opinion that I awkwardly described here. The question there is simply, what would it have taken for the Democratic Party to pick up those handful of seats in the midterm elections?

All of that aside, the most interesting Democratic politician in the Impeachment storyline was Russ Feingold, and I repeat something from The New Republic I posted previously.

Maybe the ultimate Feingold heresy came during the 1998-1999 Clinton impeachment fight. When Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia offered a resolution to dismiss the charges against the president, every Democrat voted for the resolution but one: Feingold. Again, the issue was process. Feingold argued that Republicans deserved a chance to make their case and put it to a vote and that the Byrd resolution would “in appearance, and in fact, improperly short-circuit this trial” and “call the fairness of the process into question.” The vote was a disaster among his Democratic constituents, according to the Wisconsin Democratic Party chairwoman, who told The Washington Post: “We’re getting a lot of very upset people calling. … Elderly people crying, other people yelling. … They’re just mad as hell.” Feingold ultimately voted against impeachment. But watching him explain his interim vote promises to amuse. One adviser to a potential 2008 rival said he could envision cutting a “Feingold favored impeachment” ad.

And, if you continue on that blog post, yes, I suspect that Russ Feingold was referenced unnamed in Christopher Hitchen’s book regarding a Democrat who hesitated on whether to vote to impeach or not.

As it were, I ponder Lieberman’s final push, which is to wrap himself in Clinton as snuggly in possible. I have a sneaky suspicion that there’s a 50-50 chance this will work. And the cycle of dead-end politicians will continue.

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