The indications are that Joe Lieberman will somehow retain his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee after a secret vote tomorrow by Senate Democrats. Why? Because Lieberman threatened Harry Reid:
First, President-elect Obama told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he wanted Lieberman to stay in the Democratic caucus. Later, in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Lieberman told him it would be “unacceptable” for him to give up his gavel. That was considered by some as a veiled threat that Lieberman would jump to caucus with Republicans if he was forced to give up the gavel.
It’s time for the Senate leadership and the rest of the Senate Democrats to show some spine and stand up to this little toad. After all, how many more parties can he join?
Rewarding Lieberman is not only pragmatically absurd, as David Sirota notes; it undermines the entire idea that the Democratic controlled Congress will be an agent for change, working with the Obama administration. Liebermann not only actively campaigned against President-elect Obama (that’s fun to write!), he went along with the spurious attacks made by the McCain campaign to do so. Not satisfied with that act of betrayal, he actively endorsed two Republican candidates for the Senate, the odious Norm Coleman and Maine’s Susan Collins.
This isn’t about punishing Senator Lieberman. It seems clear that the voters of Connecticut will take care of that soon enough. Removing Lieberman will signal that Democrats are serious about enacting a progressive agenda, with or without the assistance of the Senator with no party.
Senators Baucus and Tester should do the right thing and vote against Senator Lieberman.