Friday, November 14, 2008

Better to wait and see on Lieberman

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of calls for Joe Lieberman's head on the internet. Maybe hundreds of thousands.

Not so fast.

Democrats are poised to win a filibuster proof 60-to-40 seat majority in the U.S. Senate. It looks as though we may have won in Alaska. Counting Lieberman as a Democrat, that makes 58 Democrats, with two races yet to be decided in Georgia and Minnesota. And those are not the only potential sources of Democratic senators. A Republican senator might be convinced to switch parties in exchange for a plum committee chairmanship. Or a Republican senator from a state with a Democratic governor might be persuaded to accept a cabinet position with the Obama administration: Commerce Secretary Olympia Snowe anyone?

Too much good could be done with 60 seats in the Senate for us to toss that possibility away out of pride or anger. Barack Obama definitely sets an example for his fellow Democrats in this situation: be cool. Wait and see what happens in Minnesota and Georgia. Talk to Republicans in the Senate who don't want to stay in a party that is led by Sarah Palin and will be permanently in the minority. Richard Shelby used to be a Democrat--could he be persuaded to "come home"?

If we fall short of 60, then January is time enough to deal with Lieberman. There isn't much difference between 58 and 59 senators; there is a world of difference between 59 and 60 senators. I don't like Joe Lieberman any more than most Democrats, but for now we must be patient.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Joe Lieberman is not going anywhere in terms of caucus. So what if he goes to the Republicans? I'm sure you realize that 60 seats in a caucus is great but it doesn't mean anything if they don't vote for your cause. We could easily pick off a few Republicans here and there to suit our needs. There are going to be some tough reelection fights in 2010 for Republicans and not so much for us. If we want that mythical 60, that's when we'll get it.

Lieberman was totally wrong this election. I wouldn't have minded the fact that he didn't support Barrack Obama's policies. That's fine. But he spoke for McCain on the stump. He vigorously went to the press and championed John McCain. He spoke at the Republican Convention. He actively campaigned for Republican Senate candidates Olympia Snowe and Norm Coleman.

Lieberman didn't want to just beat Barack Obama, he wanted to defeat the Democratic Party. This is unacceptable. Sure remain in the caucus. But Democrats don't have to have this backstabber have a plum committee assignment that a more loyal Senator should have.

Lieberman's extreme hubris is the only reason that this is even being debated right now. Winning this election has consequences for some. Lieberman should lose his seat on the Homeland Security committee. He hasn't done anything since he's been there anyway. Let someone else have at it.