THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

2010: The Year of the Lieberman

"Mr. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, is not the least troubled by his status as Capitol Hill's master infuriator..." --New York Times, 12/14/09

February 18, 2010:

On the heels of its investigation into the fairness of NCAA sports, the Senate appeared ready to pass a hugely popular college-football reform bill that would overhaul the sport's postseason, replacing the widely reviled BCS system with an eight-team playoff. But the proposal, which enjoys a 94% national approval rating (but which Republicans have denounced as promoting socialism), hit an unexpected stumbling block when Connecticut's Joe Lieberman expressed last-minute objections. In a move described by multiple sources as "inexplicable," Lieberman threatened to filibuster the bill unless his new demand is met: that the playoff be scrapped for a system in which the #4, 15, 21, and a team of Lieberman's choosing battle it out for the title each year.

Appearing on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Lieberman defended his position.

"Having the top two teams play each other be the popular thing to do, but, well, I've always liked those other numbers a great deal. You can ask anyone, I've always been a huge fan of the number 21. And I think Connecticut voters agree with me on this."

A snap poll taken by Quinnipiac poll seemed to contradict that statement, with Connecticut residents disapproving of Liberman's plan by a 97-3 margin. At a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "We are doing our best to reconcile our vision of the bill with what Senator Lieberman wants. We respect his opinion on this issue." In a private meeting, meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel urged senators to "just get the bill done."

At around the midnight hour, Senator Ben Nelson announced his new demand that the proposed championship be named the Nelson Bowl.

April 1, 2010:

A bizarre scene unfolded on the Senate floor last night. Against heavy odds, Democrats seemed poised to pass a comprehensive energy bill, including a cap-and-trade compromise that would be a major legislative victory for President Obama. But in a twist few saw coming, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman revealed that his support for the bill had been an elaborate April Fools Day prank all along, and that he had helped schedule the vote for April 1 to achieve maximum comedic effect.

"Yay," Lieberman announced when it was his turn to vote, before turning to face Harry Reid and adding, triumphantly, "Just kidding, April Fools! Nay. Lieberman out." As fellow Democrats glowered at Lieberman or slumped over in their chairs (West Virginia's Robert Byrd had what is being classified as a "cardiac incident"), Lieberman announced that he was leaving for Shabbat--though it was only a Thursday--and promptly disappeared from the chamber. Soon after, South Carolina senator Jim DeMint took the floor to call Lieberman's actions "patriotic" and express disappointment that his colleagues on the other side of the aisle couldn't take a joke.

September 16, 2010:

Wednesday, the Senate was on the verge of passing a crucial aid package that would solidify the recent Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement. The bill was expected to pass on a party-line vote (Republicans have likened a two-state solution to socialism). But the fate of America's Middle Eastern policy remained uncertain thanks to a waffling Joe Lieberman, whose unpredictable behavior of late has earned him the nickname "Crazy Joey" among his colleagues. Lieberman discussed the issue Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" accompanied by his new bodyguard, who goes by the single name Darrell.

"Yeah, peace in the Middle East sounds pretty good on paper," said Lieberman, who has taken to traveling with an entourage and who has recently favored top hats when appearing on Sunday-morning talk shows. "I just don't want to rush into anything here. I've always been very concerned with the plight of the Palestinian people." When Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out that Mr. Lieberman had never expressed such an opinion before, the Senator responded, "So?" As Darrell laughed uproariously for upwards of ten seconds, ABC quickly cut to a commercial break.

Senator Ben Nelson also voiced his concerns with the Israel bill, asking out loud whether monies for the University of Nebraska's medical program could be worked into a compromise, or, at the very least, whether abortion could be restricted in the Palestinian territories.

December 23, 2010:

If Democratic senators thought that Crazy Joey Lieberman (he legally changed his name on Tuesday) couldn't get farther away from the mainstream, they were proved very wrong yesterday. During a seemingly routine party-line vote to affirm that the holidays should be celebrated in a spirit of good cheer (Republicans object to the use of the term "the holidays"), Lieberman held up the legislation by attaching a highly controversial rider to that would effectively put a federal ban on oral sex.

"I've always thought oral sex was disgusting," Lieberman said on Meet the Press. "It's for sailors and the like. The missionary position is good enough for my wife and me, and it should be good enough for everyone in Connecticut and in America."

At a hastily called midday press conference, President Obama struck a conciliatory tone toward the senator.

"Now, look, I didn't campaign on banning oral sex. If I had my way, oral sex would be completely legal. But politics is about compromise. And this is the first time in generations that we have a bill commending the holiday spirit. It's historic. And while Senator Lieberman and I may not see eye to eye on healthcare, Israel, China policy, the BCS, the war on Christmas, whether oral sex is morally wrong, or whether it's appropriate to bring a horse onto the Senate floor, we still agree on most of the major issues. Joe Lieberman remains a valuable asset to our caucus."

Rahm Emanuel echoed the president and countered some administration critics, remarking, "If Paul Krugman likes getting blow jobs so much, why doesn't he run for office?"

When asked by Meet the Press host David Gregory why he continued to play the role of spoiler for the Democratic party, Lieberman donned a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, ordered Gregory to light his cigarette, and said, "Because I can, baby. Because I can."

According to a Gallup poll, Lieberman's approval rating in his home state is currently 3%, with a margin of error of plus or minus three points.