Home / General / “We could have gotten zero.”

“We could have gotten zero.”



Joe Lieberman is definitely a man who can afford to be made to look ridiculous, and in his position as head of the NoLabelsUniteForUnity081216 floating circle jerk this will happen with even greater frequency than usual:

We had no idea when we started out down this road how many candidates would make the Problem Solver Promise,” said No Labels’s co-chairman and former U.S. senator Joe Lieberman, a longtime Democrat from Connecticut who retired as an independent after losing his party’s primary. “Today, six have! I’m glad we got six. We could have gotten zero.”

Rarely have I been more amused to see people acting this pathetically. We’ve gotten six people to agree to our meaningless plan for fiscal responsibility! And the most recent is a particularly YOOOOOOOOOOOOGE get, whose commitment to Fiscal Dignitude is reflected by his plan to use upper-class tax cuts to add eleventy trillion dollars to the deficit!

Via Pierce, who observes:

The Jon Huntsman Campaign Memorial Function Room at the Stupid Café is one of our most popular features. It’s nearly always booked, usually by the weekly luncheons of the various No Labels/Third Way/Both Sides Suck cosplay organizations that have sprung up. It’s no surprise, then, that the man for whom the room was named, and his incredibly irrelevant lollipop guild, booked the room for their annual awards. And, boy howdy, did they put on a show.


In his next life, Joe Lieberman is going to come back as a spittoon.

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  • AMK

    Doesn’t he have some kind of minor league private equity outfit to “advise?” He’s too politically clueless for real K Street work, but I guess he’s irrelevant even in the world of 3rd tier professional service firms that keep politicians on retainer so they can trot them out at parties.

    • Craigo

      I don’t think “politically clueless” is even close to accurate. Narcissistic, faithless, and vindictive, yes. But not yet clueless.

      • AMK

        Then why is he making himself the face of No Labels? One thing “both sides” really do agree on is that these outfits are the most impotent groups in Washington, to the point where the media only covers then as a go-to example of powerlessness and irrelevance. The waiters in the Senate dining room have more power. Somebody with Lieberman’s resume should have his pick of lucrative spots in law/lobby firms, trade associations, think tanks, talking-head media, academia etc, all of which have some degree of influence. But he’s at No Labels, which suggests that (1) all the other revolving doors have shut on him, because he adds no value, or (2) he genuinely believes that No Labels has a chance to make an impact on politics and policy…..which explains why he adds no value.

        • CP

          Well, couldn’t it be because he realizes that all that “bipartisan” wankery, while it doesn’t play well with voters, plays very well among the chattering classes of New York and Washington?

          In other words, that this “floating circle jerk” isn’t really meant to accomplish anything in political terms, but keep Joe Liebermann and the others in it visible in the nation’s elites? Even if it’s as shallow as continuing to be invited onto all the right talk shows and to all the right dinner parties.

        • Peterr

          Why? Because he lost the Democratic nomination to retain his senate seat in CT, and had to run as the candidate of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party to get reelected. The GOP candidate siphoned off enough votes that Joe beat the Democratic nominee who had beaten him in the primary.

          When it comes to ego, Joe is definitely ahead of the pack. Naming a party after yourself is quite the move. Of course, when your old party gives you the boot, you can’t exactly enjoy their label.

          In his next life, Joe Lieberman is going to come back as a spittoon.

          The CT Democratic party already treats him that way, so this next life career won’t come as a shock to Short Ride Joe.

          • Manny Kant

            The GOP candidate surely hurt Lieberman, to the extent that he had any impact on the race at all. Lieberman won because most Republicans abandoned their official candidate to vote for Lieberman and keep Lamont out.

        • Pseudonym

          Does he want influence or does he want a payday?

        • Procopius

          “Then why is he making himself the face of No Labels?” I dunno, does Pete Peterson pay pretty good money? I thought he had a couple, three, seats as a director on the boards of some insurance companies. Maybe Pete Peterson pays pretty good and he also doesn’t have to spend more than a few minutes a month at it? So he can collect payback from some defense contractors, too? What a loathesome guy.

  • keta

    I think promoting bipartisanship in this age of polarized American politics is a laudable goal. But when one of the two sides in this equation is dogmatically opposed to absolutely anything proposed to move the country forward, well, then you have a party acting not only in bad faith but also actively working to the detriment of the country.

    What to do? Well, here we have yet another in the long, long list of grifts on the American public. A group with no teeth, no pull, no gravitas, and no moral conscience. No Labels is No Thing – except a vacuum for money. From a piece in July 2014:

    Much of the group’s budget goes toward sustaining or promoting itself. According to No Labels’ confidential document, the group employed 22 paid staffers and eight consultants as of May. Of its projected $4.5 million budget for 2014, only 4 percent — or $180,000 — of spending was slotted for “Congressional Relations.” By contrast, administrative and operational expenses got $1.035 million over the same time period. Another 5 percent was set for travel. A further 30 percent ($1.35 million) was earmarked for digital growth and press, and 14 percent for fundraising.

    So, basically more of the same old rogering Washington and K Street have been performing on credulous punters for the past…how long? One tends to lose track of time when one is being fucked over incessantly.

    But No Labels might yet germinate some hope. We know if one wants some skin in the game in American politics you need to raise money. I don’t want to give anyone any ideas, but it seems to me that if you sold tickets at, say, $100 a pop to be eligible in a draw in which the lucky winner gets to smack this nincompoop upside the head*, you might get a a healthy leg up on your political aspirations.

    Finally, Scott’s writeup was wonderfully withering, but I must take exception to “floating circle jerk.” Floating, in air, or on land a circle jerk gets publically desired results, and that’s something No Labels will never, ever achieve.

    *I abhor violence, but that clodpate had me unconsciously forming a fist.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I think promoting bipartisanship in this age of polarized American politics is a laudable goal. But when one of the two sides in this equation is dogmatically opposed to absolutely anything proposed to move the country forward, well, then you have a party acting not only in bad faith but also actively working to the detriment of the country.

      So imagine a blind date. You ask him/her what about dinner. You suggest Italian, but say you’re willing to compromise. He/she suggests Anthrax and Rat Poison.

      That’s what it’s like trying to be bipartisan with today’s GOP.

      • keta


        He/she orders Anthrax/Poison for you, and then he/she has the best steak in the house.

        I remain absolutely gobsmacked that a large swath of the American electorate – against seemingly endless evidence to the contrary – believe Republicans offer their best governmental option. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, knowing the pull of fear and ignorance, but it still amazes.

        • MAJeff

          Depends what you want out of government. If sticking it to the homos and sluts matters the most to you, losing Medicaid is a sacrifice you’re willing to make.

      • It’s actually Tire Rims and Anthrax, courtesy of John Cole.

        • keta

          And a wonderful bit it is.

        • Pseudonym

          Hell hath no fury like a conservative scorned.

    • Sly

      I think promoting bipartisanship in this age of polarized American politics is a laudable goal.

      Bipartisanship is only ever a means to an end, and promoting it is a pointless goal when it doesn’t accomplish anything good. Bipartisanship currently serves no real purpose other than getting a few well-heeled “former” politicians a sinecure by pretending to be above it all and what’s wrong with Washington is no one is leading with leadership and wouldn’t it be great if Mike Bloomberg was President and by the way give me money.

      Meanwhile, liberal partisanship gave us universal healthcare. I’ll take more of that, please.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Not to throw a little water on that view, but the ACA, especially as altered by the Supreme Court, is far from universal healthcare. A big step forward giving millions more Americans access to health insurance? Yes. Universal healthcare? Unfortunately not,

        • sparks

          Indeed. I have friends who positively refuse to get ACA even if it’s to their great benefit to do so. Instead they’ll see a quack once a year who charges cash for the visit, orders labs (to be paid by the patient), and writes for a year of scripts. If the penalty for not getting an ACA policy was financially painful (i.e. similar/more than it would cost to have a policy), those friends would have an ACA policy now. Alas they don’t because the penalty is wrist-slap pathetic. Me, I got an ACA policy immediately – I knew my health and knew I needed a good plan, and decided that I could drop from a higher tier plan to a lesser one if my health improved.

          • Procopius

            Well, the odds are at some point they’re going to have a medical incident that requires paying more cash than they have on hand. A *lot* more. Or, they might be lucky like a retired Army guy I knew here in Bangkok. You have to understand that retired military have to enroll in Medicare Part B, even though we get no benefit from it, in order to be enrolled in Tricare Overseas. Tricare Overseas is not very good, you have a $150 deductible every year and they only reimburse 75% after that, but it’s better than nothing if you choose to live outside the U.S. Anyway, when he turned 65 he decided to not enroll, so he wasn’t covered, but he was lucky. He didn’t get seriously sick. Instead he dropped dead at the age of 73. Just dropped in his tracks, the lucky stiff, so he didn’t have to pay all those back premiums.

    • alex284

      But I’m pretty sure that their goal, stated or otherwise, isn’t bipartisanship per se. It’s usually “fiscal responsibility”, and that’s usually vague enough to apparently allow candidates with deficit-exploding budget proposals to get approval. And they usually just defend policies that give rich people money while taking it away from the poor. And in the end (as you point out) they’re just grifts.

      No one wants bipartisan comity. People want to win, the No Labels crowd included. They just talk a bit about bipartisanship in the same way that most assholes in arguments will throw out a “Well, at least the one thing we can agree on is that I’m right” every once in a while, usually without any irony at all, because they just can’t imagine that they aren’t the center of the universe.

      • Procopius

        Yes, I may be wrong but as I remember their history they’re one of Pete Peterson’s deficit demonizers. Must cut Social Security benefits (“entitlements”) now or we’re going to have to cut them thirty years from now. Or the country will be bankrupt next year, or something. Completely dingbatty.

  • ChrisTS

    A) I’m sad that I thought Huntsman was not an asshole.

    B) These creeps recently tried to solicit me, which offends me no end.

  • KadeKo

    It’s late enough that I’ve forgotten the German multisyllabic (redundant) word, but dontcha just wanna punch that face?

    • West


      And backpfeifen is actually slap not punch. Like a lot of idiomatic expressions in many languages, the intent / connotation is imputed. Literal translation is slap-face or perhaps slapping-face; the “worthy of” or “makes you wanna” is understood without being expressly stated.


      To answer your last question: yes

      • MAJeff

        There’s one college administrator that our entire union team has taken to calling “the face” simply because I introduced Backpfeifengesicht to them with reference to her.

  • Breadbaker

    I find it amazing that the one thing offered by an organization called “No Labels” is a label you can be granted by signing a pledge that will not be binding on you in any way.

    It almost makes Larry Lessig’s campaign seem realistic.

    • alex284

      Kinda elegant, really.

      “We have no ideology except the hardline, unpopular ideology we promote all the time!” goes well with “No Labels, the group that gave you this label!”

  • Warren Terra

    I still prefer these wankers’ other label, the American Select.

    • Scott Lemieux

      “Write it down: Americans Elect. What Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life — remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in. Watch out.” –Little Tommy Friedman, age 10

      • Manny Kant

        God, is that real? Why on earth does this guy get paid (at least?) six figures a year to publish his idiotic opinions?

        • keta

          It’s from LTF’s wiki page. And idiotic ideas I can generally wade through if they’re delivered in artful prose, but Friedman writes like he’s got a crayon in his fist. His success remains a complete and utter mystery.

          • Pseudonym

            To be fair, it’s really quite difficult to write legibly from the back seat of a taxicab while simultaneously carrying on a conversation.

      • Gregor Sansa

        The sad thing is that this is a real thing. I mean, without the annoying metaphors, plurality voting does in fact put barriers to real competition that lead to lizard people winning. And those barriers are removable. But AmericanSelect had the wrong plan for doing so.

      • Warren Terra

        If the people who code word processors were really looking out for us, the use of the phrase “write it down” would bring forth a positive cascade of warning messages, asking us if we really wanted to look like such a prick and warning us that passages starting with that phrase almost never look good in even a few months’ time.

        • Hogan

          It looks like you’re trying to write a piece of total douchebaggery. Would you like some help in keeping that from happening?

  • junker

    How sad and desperate has poor Martin O’Malley gotten that he signed one of these pledges too?

    • Lev

      Those guys played a big part in the downfall of my mother-in-law’s Congressman, Ami Bera, once upon a time a mainstream Democratic progressive who got involved with those creeps, presumably because he likes praise. Next thing you know, he’s supporting GOP attempts to hurt the ACA and supporting the TPP, while No Labels talks about how he’s one of their favorite politicians. Ironically, they’re likely to lose him the Rep. label, as labor has cut him off altogether, and rightly so.

  • DrDick

    It is actually impossible for Lieberman to not look ridiculous and the whole “No Labels” bullshit has always been pathetic beyond redemption.

  • Hogan

    “Today, six have! I’m glad we got six. We could have gotten zero.”

    No, you pretty much got zero.

    • Charlie S

      Of the six, five are Republicans and one is Martin O’Malley! Enough said.

      • Pseudonym

        I would still totally vote for Littlefinger Aidan Gillen though.

    • alex284

      That’s always a great argument in politics: I thought we were a lot more unpopular than we actually are!

      For some reason presidential candidates prefer to be introduced as “the future president of the united states of america” rather than as “the person who could possibly get no votes at all.”

      • ASV

        Keep in mind, this is the guy who referred to finishing fifth in New Hampshire as being in a “three-way tie for third.”

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