Posted by: mutantpoodle | November 11, 2008

Say it ain’t so, O

obama_lieberman_have_private_chatBarack Obama has been President for -71 days, and already people are freaking out about Joe Lieberman.

Let’s review.

Joe Lieberman lost his Democratic primary in Connecticut in 2006. although he said he’d abide by the results of said primary, he, um, didn’t, and went on to win re-election in a three way race against Democrat Ned Lamont and some Republican guy Alan Schlesinger. During his campaign, Lieberman said one of his priorities was electing a Democrat to the White House in 2008, and another was ending the war in Iraq as quickly as possible.

Upon his return to the Senate, Lieberman resumed his gung-ho support for the war in Iraq, and then chose to support John McCain for President over Barack Obama, who had, at Lieberman’s request, come to campaign for him during the 2006 Democratic primary. After promising not to disparage the Democratic nominee, Lieberman suggested that Obama put party before country, thought it was a “good question” whether Barack Obama was a Marxist, and belittled him in a speech at the Republican National Convention.

Obviously, it’s hard to imagine why any Senate Democrats would be upset with poor ol’ Joe. But upset they are, and many want him stripped of his Homeland Security/Governmental Affairs Committee Chairmanship. Harry Reid has apparently offered Lieberman a different committee to chair – Veterans Affairs – but Lieberman found that solution unacceptable. Lieberman’s not-so-subtle threat is to caucus with the Republicans.

Now Barack Obama has suggested that he’d like Lieberman to stay in the Democratic caucus, while steering clear of the issue of his current chairmanship. The entire Democratic caucus will, apparently, decide Lieberman’s fate.

Here’s the thing: people are freaking out that Obama suggested that he wanted Lieberman to stay in the caucus.

Which I don’t get at all. It seems to me that Obama (who, as we have discovered, never does anything without thinking it through), has taken the perfect position.

He’s said what he’d like, but punted to Senate Democrats to decide Lieberman’s final fate.

One of three things will happen.

  1. The caucus will fold, and Lieberman will stay put. He’ll be on a committee with power to investigate the Executive branch, whose future leader just did him a solid.
  2. Lieberman will fold, and get a different committee, and the Democrats will have one more slightly unreliable vote in their caucus.
  3. No one folds, Lieberman jumps ship, and yet Obama has still reached out Lieberman.

You can argue about how this affects the balance of power in the Senate, but one person has made his life better under all three scenarios, and that person is Barack Obama.

Look, I think Joe Lieberman is a sanctimonious weasel. If I could ensure that he never showed up on my TeeVee for the next four years, that would make me happy enough. But as much as cathartic punishment may make people feel better, much better is the defeat of those who would block President-elect Obama’s agenda. Those who are screaming for Lieberman to be exiled have a righteous anger; those who are trying to figure out how to keep him in the fold are looking at the big picture.

Lieberman’s done in 4 years – either he retires or he will be retired. This about doing the best thing for now.

I’m just sayin’.

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