Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Lieberman In Or Out?

Today is the day that the Senate votes by secret ballot to determine the fate of Holy Joe Lieberman and his Democratic Committtee Chairmanships.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "Every senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should. I am one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did. I never ask people, well you must vote for this person or that person. Everybody has to make up their mind. But I felt that some of his attacks that he was involved in against Senator Obama -- whom I did support... I was one of the very first in the Congress to support him -- I thought they went way beyond the pale. I thought they were not fair, I thought that they were not legitimate. I thought that they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama. I would feel that had I done something similar that I would not be chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress."

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND): "As a chairman of one of our significant committees in the Senate, not just going off and supporting a presidential candidate of the other side but also criticizing the candidate on our side, and also involving himself in a couple of senate races on the other side. The question is, is that acceptable? The answer is no."

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ): "He was on the wrong side of the rope line. It is a decision that is hard to comprehend."

Howard Fineman: "Interestingly, people like Dick Durbin who is the first Democrat in the Senate -- the first Senator, and from Illinois, to support Barack Obama -- is really loaded for bear about Lieberman, he wants to kick Lieberman off that Chairmanship. Chuck Schumer, the head of the Campaign Committee likewise."

It's time to put up or shut up. I've been disappointed so often by the Democratic Party's bluster but lack of action that I'm really not expecting anything different this time. The 60 vote filibuster proof majority is a red herring - Lieberman has shown his colors and I tend to believe that he will lean toward the right side of the issues, and by "right" I don't mean "correct." He'll keep his chairmanships and continue to piss off the Democrats in the Senate and everyone else that wanted him gone.

But I do hope Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is right: "...if he does retain his chairmanship, we still exert oversight over him and control over him. He doesn't have the ability to just do whatever he wants. The caucus still has the right to remove him from that position at any time if he starts going off on some kind of tangent.
So I simply think it maximizes the chances of getting progressive policies a better outcome if we have a Joe Lieberman, who is a little reticent, who apologizes for the things that he said that were way over the line, and instead is trying to do the right thing, instead of an embittered Joe Lieberman or a Republican replacement who will not be with us any of the time.

...You've got to remember, we have the right to change chairmen at any time during the session, and you know, we would expect him to conduct himself in that capacity, as someone who was supportive of the administration..."

Perhaps for fear of actually losing his position in the caucus, Lieberman will play nice, in which case keeping him on with the threat of throwing him to the curb if he gets out of line may work in the Democrats' favor. What's that saying? Keep your friends close and your meshugenahs closer.

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