I know I’ve already said my piece on Lieberman, but I’m just wondering.
It’s 3:30 and going through my rss reader right now, I see some 15-20 odd things about Lieberman, and how he’s going to keep his gavel, and how that’s unacceptable and all that stuff. Obviously, I agree, but is there really anything we can do about it?
The 110th Congress has voted against the will of the Liberal Blogosphere over and over and over. From unconditional funding, to FISA, to you name it. I’m not trying to belittle the blogs, or anything like that, but the reality is that Senators and Congressmen are going to do whatever they damn well please, and apparently, keeping a backstabbing, whiny, self-absorbed, douchenozzle in charge of the Senate’s version of an executive oversight committee is what they want to do!
This has less to do with the blogs than it does with the Senators themselves. If they slap Lieberman around for disloyalty, they’re opening themselves up to the same fate, or so the excuses go. The reality is that I can only think of a few Senators who would have the gall to go Lieberman on the caucus; Bill Nelson (FL), Mark Pryor (AR), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Jay Rockafeller (WV). Notice where almost all of them are from?
The thing here is that they haven’t. They may have voted from time to time against certain things, but they haven’t gone out on the stump for Republican candidates. They haven’t called or associated with those who have called the Democratic President-Elect a “terrorist sympathizer”. They haven’t colluded to immediately undermine this incoming administration…unless you call being part of the Lieberman Whip team collusion.
Lieberman made a choice. He chose the losing candidate, something he should be familiar with. Lieberman chose the candidate that votes against his values 80% of the time. Because Lieberman is not a Democrat (remember he’s an independent), that’s ok, but actually going out on the stump for the opposition candidate AND expecting to keep your plumb chairmanship? That’s asking an awful lot. In most other countries that’d get your ass booted to the back bench.
And that’s what needs to happen here. Lieberman can vote with the Democrats all he wants, he can caucus with them if he chooses, he can keep his subcommittee crap if they let him, but he needs to be put out of the Chair of Homeland Security, if for no other reason than to regain a certain sense of party loyalty within the caucus. If people don’t think there are consequences to their actions, this would be a sharp signal that there are, and if that pisses Lieberman off so much that he leaves the caucus, then so be it.
Will it happen? Probably not.
Senators are just too damn collegial to kick someone out of the bed for crapping on it. I don’t know if this is spinelessness, or what, because I’ve personally never had a problem calling someone out when I felt they had demonstrated disloyalty, or done something contrary to the values that they purport to hold. In short, if the Senate Democratic Caucus votes to keep Lieberman in his seat, then they are voting to absolve Lieberman of any accountability for his actions, which is dangerous to the long-term viability of the caucus.
So what happens when Lieberman keeps his gavel? I think you end up seeing a leadership challenge, if not this year, in 2010. I think Lieberman apologists like Ken Salazar (CO) get primaried. I think you see a Senate Majority that splinters along the lines of the vote. I know you’ll hear all sorts of loud and angry hollerin’ from the liberal blogosphere, but we should know better. The Senate will do what it thinks is best for the majority of it’s Senators, not the party, not the country. That’s the reality.
That’s really sad.