We have always maintained that Joe Lieberman is petty, sanctimonious, childish, vindictive, thin-skinned, and monstrously self-impressed. But The New Republic's Jon Chait today explains that he is also stupid.
It is kind of wonderful, actually, to see The New Republic—a supposedly "liberal" magazine whose fanatical racist publisher forced them to actually endorse Lieberman for president five short years ago—outright calling the Senator who most resembles Marty Peretz (in philosophy if not tone) stupid.
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.
And Chait also says that he gets away with being stupid because he's a Jew.
I suspect that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers. Trust me, it's not true.
Oh, they are calling him stupid because he is threatening to filibuster the health care bill because it now tentatively includes a policy that he supported three months ago.
Correction: We've been told that it was not Marty's fault that The New Republic endorsed Joe Lieberman in 2004. It was, in fact, entirely the fault of then-editor Peter Beinart, a guy who decided Democrats would start winning elections once they all announced that they just really, really loved war, a lot, even more than Republicans. He is a complete tool and we are pretty sure he writes for The Daily Beast now or something. Who knows. Anyway, we apologize for the error, and please consider this a personal apology to Marty Peretz, for implying that he likes Joe Lieberman. (Oh, hah, Peter is now "a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC," because he was wrong about every single important foreign policy issue of his generation, which makes him very Serious and Respected. DC IS THE WORST PLACE.)