Thursday, December 17, 2009

Senator Lieberman and the Mayan Calendar: A Final Appeal

Now I'm concerned.

I'm concerned because my beloved junior senator has become both a laughing stock and the target of barbs that border on anti-Semitic. He's been called, among other things, "the most hated man in Washington," "a vampire disguised as a moose," and "responsible for everything evil in that's happened in the world since 1999." Even his wife Hadassah has been attacked. It has gone way too far.

So many of us considered this favorite son of Stamford a modern Jewish Maccabee, a latter-day Herzl, unafraid to play the political game, a Brandeis with hashgacha. His moral courage and independent spirit carried on the tradition of his (Republican) predecessor, Lowell Weicker. I will always admire his accomplishments, his Jewish pride, his devotion to his family and in particular love he showed for his beloved mother, whom I also admired greatly.

While I support the outline of the health care bill making its way through Congress, my feelings regarding the so called public option have been somewhat more tepid. So I appreciated Lieberman's desire to stand tall against the pressure to conform automatically to the dictates of the majority. Mavericks do that.

But the time for acting Mavericky ended with the successful launching of an upgraded Iranian missile this week. Perhaps not coincidentally, a new missile was also launched from Gaza into Sderot.

Joe - are you listening? An Upgraded Iranian Missile was fired - and you've been fiddling while those engines burned. You've been fiddling, and so has the rest of Congress, in no small part because of you. Everything we are reading about Iran is telling us that zero-hour is fast approaching.

Much of the Health Care debate has been foolishly apocalyptic in nature. Here's some breaking news: the world as we know it will not cease to exist if a bill is passed. If the bill is not perfect, and it won't be, it can be tinkered with over the coming years.

Iranian missiles, however, are not tinker toys. Zero hour is fast approaching. Want to get apocalyptic, Congress? Get apocalyptic about that!

Yesterday the House passed a toothy sanctions bill, 412-12. The Senate will not take the matter up until January, supposedly delaying at the behest of the Obama Administration, which is seeking to build an international consensus. But we all know the true reason why the Senate is dawdling. How do you say "filibuster" in Persian? Here I disagree with the Administration. If you want to show the Europeans, Chinese and Russians that we are dead serious about sanctions, we don't hold off on a vote until the eggnog is gone and the ball has dropped. How could any self respecting Senator go on vacation with this kind of urgent business unfilled? Since when do we put "prevent apocalypse" on a new year's to-do list, right next to "avoid sweets" and "exercise more?"

This week at Beth El, we started to figure out our Bar Mitzvah schedule for 2012. Someone asked me if we've taken the Mayan calendar into account - you know, those claims, now enshrined by Hollywood, that the world will come to an end on the 5th night of Hanukkah (Dec. 12). That's 12/12/12.

I suppose we'll front load on the presents that year.

But 2012 is a long time off, and that's about when we'll feel some of the impact of the Health Care bill. Israel and Europe might well feel the impact of Iranian missiles much sooner.

Like in a matter of weeks.

It would be foolish to blame Joe Lieberman for Iranian nuclear ambitions, but if it turns out that the last chance to apply crippling sanctions went by the boards because Congress was tied up in Health Care right up until its year end recess, Lieberman will join many others in wearing an albatross of shame. He will be seen by many as a prime reason why the Senate took it's eye off the Iranian ball at the worst possible time.

There are three filibustering parties ruling the day right now in the midst of critical negotiations: Ahmadinijad, the Republicans and Joe Lieberman.

Fiddle-bustering is more like it.

It's time to put the fiddle down, Joe, and let a final Health Care vote happen.

Those Iranian thrusters are burning.


RonnieVFein said...

Although I usually agree with you, all I can say is that Joe was never my favorite son. He is too smug, pompous, moralistic, self-righteous and arrogant to be thinking of Iranian missiles or of anything but his own ego. Doesn't he just love being a kingmaker! As for Hadassah, she has made a fortune lobbying for the corporate drug big wigs while he pretends to be "fair and balanced" about working for health care reform. I agree with you. He should be ashamed. For lots of reasons. He is no Lowell Weicker.

We don't have to worry about the Mayan calendar anyway. Evangelicals have already predicted the rapture will take place on October 21, 2011. The Mayans have been scooped.

Fred said...

I'm saddened (and concerned) that Ronnie is assessing her Senator on her perception of his personality traits, rather than on his political positions and how he affects her life and ours. I, for one, am thankful that Joe Lieberman has been most appropriately concerned about the bottom line effect on our country and state and their citizens, and has often refused to be stampeded by the purely political motives of too many of his colleagues. That is more true than ever now ... he has been a bastion regarding Iran and other threats to us and our allies, and he has been concerned about the unknowns and the expectation of inappropriate and unaccounted for financial costs of the health care bill. I have seen Joe at a distance on some occasions, usually follow him in the media, but have never met him in person. I suspect that Ronnie doesn't know him personally either ... so where is she getting her character assassination opinions from? The great guru Michael Moore? I, for one, believe that Joe is doing a great job under very trying circumstances, is a person of great common sense and conscience (even though I frequently don't agree with him) and hope that despite the Michaels and Ronnies of the world (and others, including some Rabbis) remains my Senator for quite some time.