Jon Chait — who still owes the entire world an apology for supporting Joe Loserman back in 2006 when it was obvious to all involved that he’d lost whatever credibility he’d previously had as a Democrat — gives it the old college try and attempts to defend Loserman from charges of dishonesty. How does he do so, you ask? By claiming the poor Joe is just too principled and stupid to actually know what he’s talking about:
I also think liberals, myself included, might be driving ourselves a little nuts trying to divine Lieberman’s motives. He keeps flip-flopping and explaining his shifts by making demonstrably false claims. What’s his game? Why does he keep saying these wrong, uninformed things?
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.
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. If Senator Smith from Idaho was angering Democrats by spewing uninformed platitudes, most liberals would deride him as an idiot. With Lieberman, we all suspect it’s part of a plan. I think he just has no idea what he’s talking about and doesn’t care to learn.
Uh, well, OK. I admit that Joe’s not the brightest senator I’ve ever seen. But at the same time, he’s pretty obviously trying to shaft over Democrats and kill health care reform outright. Yesterday Lieberman rejected a policy compromise on Medicare expansion that was actually less progressive than something he supported as recently as September. Greg Sargent, being the good gumshoe that he is, has obtained the damning video:
Now there’s dumb and then there’s duuuuu-huuuuu-huuuuuuumb. And while I’m more than willing to concede that Joe’s not that bright, he’s never struck me as the sort of person to inadvertently oppose a policy that he once supported a mere three months before. That’s a level of dumb that forces you to be fed with rubber safety forks and I’m pretty sure Joe isn’t that freaking stupid.