Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leiberman Redux

Quick thought: Reid's payoff for having Lieberman in the party is n(v)-c where:
n= frequency he votes with the party from 0 to 1
v= value of Lieberman's votes
c= opportunity cost of giving the Homeland Security committee chairmanship to someone else.

As the Democrats approach 60, v increases. At the same time c might be rather small because it is good for the Democrats to have a hawk chairing HS. If v is high and c is low, n can dip and Lieberman will keep his chairmanship.*

I was wrong. He's not nuts. And he gets money from the insurance industry.

* We had a separate argument in the department about the utility Lieberman reaps by keeping his chairmanship. I don't think he needs it as much as others do, and even if he did, he seems to benefit by signaling that he will defect.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Self-radicalized, homegrown nut

Sen. Joe Lieberman has cracked under five years of alienation and pressure. After being turned aside by the Democratic party, feeling alone with no alternatives, he has cracked.

So I am responding to this article about the Ft. Hood shooting (which the FBI has said is not a terrorist incident), but also to his statements about supporting a filibuster against health care reform. CT is a fairly liberal state and all five representatives voted yea on HR 3962. So why would Lieberman not only vote against the bill (which would reduce its margin of victory), but also threaten not to impose cloture? What does he have to gain?

My detached sense (no longer in the DC world) is that he is finished with politics and wants to throw his weight around. I was not upset when he decided to support McCain, as that did not affect his legislative duties to the party. But when he not only doesn't support the party platform, but actively undermines it I just can't see how he can retain his HS chairmanship.

The Ft. Hood thing is just weird. It was a guy that cracked. Case closed. Is it really worth the time of the US Senate to understand why outliers happen?

A Special Shout Out

to Rep. Owens (NY-23) on HR 3962. I will sleep happier tonight knowing that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck made this vote possible. It would have happened without him, but it still makes me happy. The bill actually passed by 3 votes, one was Owens and another Cao of LA. So Owens's votes might have actually been fairly decisive.