The award for the worst cheap-shot political performance in the 2008 presidential campaign goes to Sen. Joe Lieberman, the so-called Independent-Democrat from Connecticut.
Lieberman seems to be eager to have himself kicked out of the Senate Democratic caucus. From his conduct of late, he is certain then to proclaim himself a martyr. The Democratic senators should nevertheless accommodate him and invite him to join the Republicans across the aisle. He'll be more comfortable there.
Lieberman's personality alone tends to grate on some colleagues—and reporters as well. He tends to be unctuous and even holier-than-thou when speaking on the stump for Sen. John McCain or the floor of the Senate.
Lieberman has been like a Siamese twin to McCain during this long campaign. Photographers are nearly certain to find him next to the GOP candidate whether they are in downtown Baghdad or downtown Baltimore. He even corrects McCain's mistakes in answers to questions.
In my view, the biggest mistake Al Gore made in 2000 was to choose the senator from the Nutmeg State as his running mate. It is hard to fathom, now that Lieberman seems to enjoy ripping his own party.
Before the GOP convention in St. Paul, Lieberman said he would speak only about McCain's qualities as a leader and would not criticize Sen. Barack Obama. Of course, he did anyway. No surprise there.
Now he is out on the campaign trail introducing Gov. Sarah Palin, who smears Obama with a guilt-by-association relationship with William Ayers, the onetime radical of the Weathermen during the war in Vietnam. Obama was 8 years old at the time.
Lieberman refers to that Obama-Ayers tie as "fair game" in the race against Obama. It recalls for me another senator named Joe, from Wisconsin, whose last name was McCarthy. In the 1950s, McCarthy was finally censured by his fellow senators for finding nonexisting Communists under every bed. His guilt-by-association rampage led to the word "McCarthyism" to describe similar tactics by politicians.
Maybe Lieberman is angling for a cabinet job in a McCain administration, say secretary of state. But that will not come to pass with a more likely Obama-Biden victory on November 4.
What will it take then for Senate leaders Harry Reid and Dick Durbin to summon Senate Democrats to deal with Lieberman? Some may call it punishment for Joe, but it is more like punching his ticket to move over with right-wing Republican pals.
Lieberman does not come up for re-election until 2112. Voters back home can then decide whether they want to send him back to Washington or send him packing.
You don't have to guess my choice.