Jon Chait says maybe Joe Lieberman’s shifting policy views on the public option don’t make sense just because he’s dumb:
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. Lieberman thinks about politics in terms of broad ideological labels. He’s the heroic centrist voice pushing legislation to the center. No, Lieberman doesn’t have any particular sense of what the Medicare buy-in option would do to the national debt. If the liberals like it, then he figures it’s big government and he should oppose it. I think it’s basically that simple.
I’ve long held a related theory about Eric Cantor.
Anyways, this reminds me that at a meeting this morning I pitched the idea of trying to do health reform in a secret Christmas morning session that only Jewish Senators would attend. There’s a whole bunch — Boxer, Cardin, Feingold, Feinstein, Franken, Kohl, Lautenberg, Levin, Lieberman, Sanders, Schumer, Specter, and Wyden. It’s a very progressive bunch and Lieberman could easily be outvoted