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November 18, 2008 04:42 AM UTC

Dems To Intelligently Spare Lieberman

  • by: Colorado Pols

TUESDAY UPDATE: Columnist David Sirota’s dissenting view here, and click here to read our original post on Lieberman, Ken Salazar, and the thrill of the payback.

Reuters has the story:

Bowing to the wishes of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, Senate Democrats seem ready to do what it takes to keep Sen. Joe Lieberman in their ranks despite his support for Republican John McCain in the 2008 White House race, party sources said on Monday.

Senate Democrats appear willing to allow Lieberman to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, but remove him as head of one of two subcommittees, the sources said.

Lieberman’s fate will be determined at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday of the 50-member Senate Democratic conference. Members will hold a secret-ballot vote after each is given time to make their respective cases for or against Lieberman, who was the party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee.

“Things could change depending on what happens at the meeting, but right now it looks like he stays in the caucus and keeps his chairmanship of the full committee,” one aide said.

A former Democrat turned independent, Lieberman riled Democrats by actively campaigning for McCain while also criticizing Obama.

But shortly after winning the November 4 election, Obama called Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and said he wanted to set aside differences and work together with Lieberman, party aides said.

So sorry, Daily Kos purists, it looks like the grownups win this one. But don’t let that stop you from regaling us with all the eloquent reasons why hurting your feelings matters more than a Senator who votes your way 85% of the time.

And no, you can’t primary us for saying that.


52 thoughts on “Dems To Intelligently Spare Lieberman

  1. I like Lieberman…and don’t like most things having to do with Kos.  Good news…

    And, having pointed out that 85% figure over and over here on pols in the past, keeping Lieberman just makes sense.  You may be all butt hurt because he failed to bow at the altar of Obama, but get over it.  The guy’s a Democrat whether you like it or not.  And don’t go all “Connecticut for Lieberman” on me.  As the clerk of the Senate what party Joe is in…

    1. I despise him for his words during the campaign. He could have supported McCain without trashing Obama.

      That said I support keeping him within the caucus, even if it means he keeps his chair.  He’s a bug, but I’d rather have him than not because pragmatism demands you negoatiate with all kinds of despicable people..

      1. By belonging to the Democratic party (which I do now; I changed right before this primary season), I don’t give up my right to run for office whether the Democratic Party supports my effort or not.  If Joe is registered to vote as a Democrat, then he’s a Democrat, same as you or I.  Now whether he represents the Democratic party in elected office is a different question.  Clearly he doesn’t, since they supported his opponent in the last general election.

        1. I agree.  But, at the end of the day, whether Danny wants to call him a D or not really doesn’t matter.  Party affiliation in this case is just a matter of opinion.  

          Now, when it came to stripping Lieberman of his super-delegate vote, then it matters.  

          Otherwise, he’s a Dem if he calls himself one…and the Clerk of the Senate agrees…

        2. He ran under a third party ticket – Connecticut For Lieberman.  The CT Dems haven’t officially ousted him from the party, but there’s some CT law or rule that says he’s not supposed to have been a Dem for two years after he ran against the party candidate – he was supposed to be de-registered as a Dem.

        3.    There was an attempt to challenge Lieberman’s party affiliation on voter registration rolls shortly after the ’06 election.  

            The New Haven Democratic Registrar of Voters held a hearing after which she denied the application to remove him as a registered Dem.  

            I don’t know if there have been any further attempts to remove him.  If not, I suppose technically he is still a Democrat.

            The Conn. Dem State Central Committee tabled a resolution of censure in Oct. until its December meeting.  

            They were probably hoping that the Senate Dem Caucus would make things easier for them by kicking him out.

    2. “grown-ups?” really?

      This is just fucking lame. It shows how far we have to go and that still, after all we  have done, we have to bow out again in the hopes that somehow a better opportunity to assign him elsewhere will arise.

      In the meantime we can just pray that he doesn’t do too much damage, right? We can hope that he is now willing to play nice and abide my some rules despite the likelihood er,… probability er,.. inevitability that he is going to continue on his psychotic liquidation of justice. The recent headway we have made is because of the power of the collective, not because we continued on with the status quo. We need to take the model of accountability via mass participation (not lazily calculated opportunistic manipulations of the R’s mistakes) and run with it because its strategic; it sends a message and surprise, it gets shit done.

      When we say “now is the time” we aren’t talking about some nebulous clichГ©, we are talking about contacting the appropriate  governors to take a stand and do what he was elected to do.

      When we wait, we get over a million dead Iraqis, skyrocketing layoffs, credit failure, markets failures, deaths from deregulation of environmental standards, torture in Iraq and Guantanamo, outsourcing, Valerie Plame, The Patriot Act, Drill Baby Drill, Blackwater, Katrina, illegal wars, Orwellian media, etc. In a nutshell, the Republicans have been bullies and the Democrats are toothless vaginas but, we can change!

      And it’s change we can believe in.

      1. exactly what damage has Lieberman done that you’re so sure he’s going to continue?  Especially as chair of a committee with the jurisdiction that it has.

        If you have a problem with Lieberman and the rest of the Dem caucus do something about it.  Whining on a blog probably isn’t going to “get shit done,” as you say.  

        Just remember, the people of Connecticut reelected Lieberman.  That’s ALL the people, not just Dems.  They had a choice between Lieberman, the Dem candidate Lamont, and a Repub.  They made their choice, he caucuses with the Dems, now deal with it.

        1. “Whining on a blog” never gets shit done?

          Welcome to the next step in Democracy. Its called the internet. Thanks for participating.

          Now, lets “hug and kiss” like Ahmedinijad and Obama?

          1. Did I say whining on a blog never gets shit done?  

            Did I say lets hug and kiss like Ahmedinijad and Obama?

            Why don’t you try addressing the issue I brought up instead of posting a clip of (the wonderful) Rachel Maddow.

    3. If you bothered to read kos’s argument, you’d know they didn’t argue that he be booted from the caucus. They wanted him removed from his chairmanship where he voted and behaved like a GOPer.

      85% of the time he behaved like a Dem. 15% of the time he behaved like a GOPer. It just so happens that the 15% where he behaves like a GOPer is on the Homeland Security committee that he is chair of. Kos’s people were content to have him have a chairmanship of somewhere where he votes like a dem. But putting him as head of a Committee where he behaves like the minority party is a one way ticket to FAIL.

      1. Quote me on where I say ANYTHING about Kos’ position on Lieberman.  I don’t.  Pols does.

        Complain about it to them, not in response to me.

        Anyway, nice to know “Kos’s people” were content to place Lieberman elsewhere in the committee structure seeing as they have a vote on such matters…  Lobby your freakin’ Senator(s) if you want them to vote a particular way in caucus…whining about it on a blog clearly isn’t doing the trick.

  2. but now that his candidate has gone down in flames and Bush and his neocon buddies are on their way out of power, why should he try to undermine the triumphant Dems? So I agree with you.  He’s nothing if not self-promoting and, unlike the real Rs, he now can choose to get back on board with the winners if they let him.

    Maybe Obama sees him as part of the McCain package and there are several areas where McCain can be of use in getting legislation passed. Global warming and new energy legislation come to mind. McCain and Obama don’t disagree on everything.  

    If the Three Amigos, McCain, Graham and Lieberman, can be counted on to bring over a few more Rs to move at least some legislation quickly, why not? Whatever Obama’s reasons, he seems to make pretty smart decisions. Whatever happens tomorrow, if it’s OK with Obama I say accept it and move on.

    1. Yep. I hate to sound like a right-winger, but I think that’s going to be my philosophy for at least the next few months. If I were giving advice, I’d probably suggest castration, but Obama has done pretty well without my advice.

    2. Obama will smile, make nice with Lieberman… and at a time and place of his own choosing will ruthlessly cut Lieberman’s legs out from under him.

      Lieberman’s on borrowed time. Good riddance to Droopy the Dog.

      Now all you “toothless vaginas” anguished supporters, just give it a rest for a bit.

  3. As I posted on November 12 the worst that would happen for Lieberman is loss of a subcommittee chair.  It was not only pressure from Obama but common sense that led to this decision.

    Now liberal bloggers is DeGette going to support liberal Waxman or the most conservative Democrat in the caucus John Dingell for Chair of Energy and Commerce?

    1. Here, try some data.

      Dingell has a “liberal rating” of 73.5, about the middle of the Democrats. On some things, he’s super-liberal (every session he introduces a universal health care bill) and on others he’s more conservative (A+ rating from the NRA).

      But compare that to Daily Kos darlings Nick Lampson, Joe Donnelly, Heath Shuler, etc., who rank in the 40s. Or Boulder Liberal Mark Udall, who has a 60.

      And Henry Waxman ranks at 84.5, not all that much higher than Dingell.

      1. Dingell’s “term limit” as chair is up, according to Dem rules, and he’s been a major obstacle to reform of the auto industry.  Until Hugh said something the other day, I didn’t even know there was a controversy.

        1. Didn’t the Dems adopt the same rules the Repubs had?  That would be 3 terms and, despite the fact that he’s been chairman for 16 years, that clock should have started over once Dems took over in 07.

            1. A quick search and I found this.


              Unless something changed, Dems carried-over 3 consecutive term chair limits that don’t include ranking member time from the Repubs.

              Whatever the case is, I think Waxman is just making a power grab and may have Pelosi on-board.  That might not be a bad thing…

  4. I didn’t realize that Tom Carper was Daily Kos diarist. Byron Dorgan too.

    The lengths you guys are going to to perpetuate the notion that enforcing caucus discipline is somehow only something that crazed lefties care about is amusing. I guess stereo-typing is easier than critical.

    May I suggest that you put down the Cheetos, take off the pajama pants and get out of your moms basement. 😉  

  5. Any case for Lieberman keeping the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee should be based on him actually doing the damn job–which he hasn’t in the past. What is “grownup” about that? Why is that too much to expect? It is not about hurt feelings but about government accountability.

    And Pols, you jab critics of Joe about hurt feelings, when the problem seems to be that we can’t hurt Joe’s feelings by holding him accountable for his actions or he will bolt the party and hurt the party. That makes you and Joe the grownups?  

      1. It’s a secret ballot and so what people say and how they vote can be two very different things.

        As long as Lieberman views the final result as a significant punishment I’m ok with it. But I do think there must be consequences of significance – or party means nothing.

        But I am glad Pols can take joy in the predicted outcome, although I’m not sure why they do.

        1. That’s why Holy Joe was kicked out two years ago.

          But Obama wants to get everyone, even the dicks, behind his grand plans for Glorious Socialist Revolution or whatever. He’s being extra-nice to everyone, and given that I haven’t seen him screw up yet, I have to imagine it’s for a good reason.

  6. The conversation all along should have been something like this: Joe Lieberman can support whomever he likes to support in any election, but his (a) public statements, (b) performance in this particular committee chairmanship, and (c) voting record, all indicate that he will not pursue what the American public has clearly asked for in this election.  Therefore, it’s worth asking whether he’s really the best person for the job in holding that chairmanship.

    Instead, the conversation was all about retribution.  People were making public statements that were angry and vengeful.  Talk about how Joe had “crossed the line” and there should be “consequences” and “punishment” was getting quite surreal and, to be honest, a little awkward.  Everyone involved just came across as shallow, spiteful, and more interested in their own political power than the best interest of the country.  Of course they had to back off from that!

    Unfortunately, in the effort to back off from the shallow, angry, vengeful attitude, we also lost the chance to ask whether Joe is well-suited for the chairmanship he’s asking for.  In my opinion, he is clearly not.  If Joe wanted to walk away from the Democratic party for making the best governing decisions that they could, then our Democratic senators should have volunteered to help him pack.  Ah well, lost opportunities abound, and it’s hardly the first time that a sense of entitlement and overreliance on seniority has cost us opportunities in the U.S. Senate.

  7. Lieberman should keep a minor post, and lose a major one, not the other way around.

    The Chairmanship he has is the one area where he is deeply out of step with the rest of his party, and given the majority that Dems have on that committee, he will frequently be in the minority on committee votes if he continues as chair.

  8. is that the Dems in the Senate are ultimately a bunch of spineless hacks. You can shit on their candidate, and be a really crappy committee chair to boot, and you will suffer no consequences whatseover.

    And no, there’s nothing “intelligent” or “grown-up” about letting him keep his chair. I guarantee you that in less than one calendar year, this vote will come back and bite them (and by extension, us) really hard.

    Democrats – bitch slap ’em hard enough, and they’ll apologize to you for making you mad enough to have done it in the first place.

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