Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Dems vote to let Lieberman keep committee chair

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Updating my earlier post.)

Well, Senate Democrats have finally decided what to do about Joe Lieberman:

Nothing. Or, rather, not much.

As is being reported -- by, among others, NYT, WaPo, AP, TPM, TP, and The Hill -- Lieberman will keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Following the compromise proposed by Dodd and Salazar, he will be removed from the Environment and Public Works Committee, on which he was a subcommittee chair.

The vote was 42-13.

And, of course, he will remain in caucus.

Reid: "We are not looking back. We are looking forward."

Then, Senator, you are bound to repeat your mistakes.

To me, as I have written again and again, Lieberman should have been given the boot. He's simply more trouble, and poses more or a risk, than he's worth.

According to the NYT, he "did not apologize for his actions, but [instead] told his Democratic colleagues that some of his comments on the campaign trail had been misinterpreted." Really? Like which ones? It's one thing to support the other party's candidate, after all, quite another to trash your own party and its candidate. And Lieberman trashed Obama and the Democrats frequently during the campaign (for example, by implying that Obama could very well be a Marxist).

More Reid: "I am satisfied with what we did today. I feel good about what we did today. I don't apologize to anyone for what we did today."

Then, Senator, you are truly spineless.

Still more Reid: "The question is, do I trust Senator Lieberman? The answer is yes, I trust Senator Lieberman."

I don't, Senator. A lot of us don't. Do you not have a clue?

If not given the boot outright, Lieberman should have been stripped his his chairmanship but allowed to remain in caucus to prove himself. Had he lost his chairmanship, he might have left. Fine. Good riddance. But shouldn't he have been required to prove that he is (still) a Democrat? He could perhaps have been given a chairmanship again, down the road sometime, once he had proven himself. In other words, why not probation?

As Jon Chait pointed out earlier today at The Plank, Lieberman isn't just some "regular moderate" who supported the other guy but is otherwise loyal to party. He attacked Obama aggressively relentlessly during the campaign, at times making statements that "were more extreme than even many Republicans were willing to make."

And now, in response, his feckless colleagues, members of that highly exclusive cabal of bipartisan back-slappers known as the U.S. Senate, have voted to reward him by "looking forward," that is, by letting him get away with it.

Shame on you, Democrats.

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