Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 12, 2008

SETTING A PRECEDENT.... As far as I can tell, there isn't a single Democratic senator or member of Barack Obama's team who has even hinted that Joe Lieberman should be kicked out of the Democratic caucus altogether.

And yet, media coverage seems confused about this point.

President-elect Barack Obama has endorsed keeping Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) in the Democratic caucus, suggesting to the leadership that the two sides reach a compromise in the conflict over the former Democratic vice presidential nominee's future, sources said yesterday.

In a phone conversation last week with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Obama said that expelling Lieberman for his support of the Republican presidential ticket would send the wrong signal after Obama's promises to set partisanship aside, according to a Senate Democratic aide familiar with the conversation.

Look, the proposal that's on the table is a "compromise." In fact, for Lieberman, it's a generous compromise. On one side, we have the possibility of kicking Lieberman out of the caucus. On the other side, we have the possibility of doing nothing, effectively rewarding Lieberman's betrayals. In the middle, we have Harry Reid's offer: Lieberman stays with the caucus, keeps his seniority, but gets a different committee to lead. This really isn't complicated.

One other angle that I haven't seen discussed much is the notion of establishing a bad precedent. In 1964, Rep. John Bell Williams (D) of Mississippi and Rep. Albert Watson (D) of South Carolina both endorsed Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign, and both were punished by losing their seniority. Four years later, Rep. John Rarick (D) of Louisiana endorsed George Wallace's presidential campaign, and the party stripped him of his committee seniority, too.

In other words, what Lieberman is asking for here is special treatment. Worse, he's asking for special treatment he hasn't earned, as evidenced by his awful two-year tenure as the chairman of the committee he wants to keep.

Greg Sargent reported yesterday that the full Senate Democratic caucus will vote on Lieberman's fate next week. Lieberman will, as I understand it, have a chance to plead his case before the vote.

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Comments

Tar and feathers wouldn't be good enough?

Posted by: MR Bill on November 12, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm tired of Lieberman, and in fact of politics.

I want to hear about an improving economy.

Posted by: in vino veritas on November 12, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman will, as I understand it, have a chance to plead his case before the vote.

"I'm sure you're all wondering what a Democrat like me is doing in a place like this..." crickets...

Posted by: Danp on November 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

What I haven't heard from Senator Lieberman yet -- and maybe this is under negotiation -- is some kind of public apology or recantation. A press conference in which he says, John McCain is a very good friend of his, during the heat of the campaign he may have said a few things that were upon reflection intemperate and wrong, he sincerely apologizes to his Democratic colleagues if he offended any of them, that wasn't his intent. That he has complete confidence in President-elect Obama's commitment and ability to keep the country safe, will fully support his efforts to resolve the economic crisis, looks forward to working with him, etc., etc.

I imagine that would mollify a lot of his angry colleagues. That he hasn't done it yet is a bad sign in my view.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on November 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Make Lieberman's "re-entry" to the Democratic fold (whether as chair of new committee or old) contingent on his willingness to spend several weeks in Georgia on behalf of Martin for Senator. This would force him to campaign against McCain and to publicly recant his recent nonsense.

Posted by: Rdupont on November 12, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

If ever there were a modern day Brutus, Joe the problem senator fits the bill greatly! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 12, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The campaigns seem to have the ability to review an opponents record and voting history. Like "John McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time".

One wonders if those numbers for Senator Lieberman will be put out in the media before the Senate vote. Something like: "Senator Lieberman voted with Bush 98% of the time on military and domestic security issues".

Posted by: Wapiti on November 12, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

If it was as simple as a mere endorsement, or a mere support for Bush's war in Iraq, it would be one thing. But those aren't the issues. It was the fact that Lieberman actively campaigned for McCain. It was Lieberman's eagerness to answer every call from GOPNews to undermine his own party. It's not his ideologies that make him unacceptable, it's his actions. There's room for all points of view within the party. There should be no room for saboteurs.

Posted by: JoeW on November 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

holy joe ain't going anywhere until aipac signs off. (and i suspect the silence from dems is to keep this conversation low profile, that assures the public will be wholely disengaged and unaware of his treachery.) he especially isn't gonna give up that very prominent chair of the dhs.

their priority is protecting their own kind. they could give a shit about the public.

Posted by: linda on November 12, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman aggravated me nearly as much as anyone during the campaign. Only Guiliani and Nicole Wallace probably bothered me more to listen to. However, it doesn't surprise me that Obama is letting him slide on this. Obama wants to end the current era of partisan trench wars and get back to getting things done. Letting Joe stand by his own opinions without punishment is a step in that direction. With my personal feelings aside, I am in favor of this "special treatment"

@in vino: Don't get your hopes up. The economy is not improving this year and probably the first half next year. We are near the bottom but not there yet.

Posted by: drew on November 12, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Joe is a hawk.

He wished that his bud John was the next president, because his pet company, Electric Boat, would benefit immensely (they're already doing fine).

Hawks like him are not good for the US economy. Yeah, we build subs and bombs, but we really need to build infrastructure in the US not IRAQ!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Take the politics out of this completely...he was SUPPOSED to monitor the executive branch, the way that the house and Wexler have...He CHOSE TO NOT DO HIS JOB...That alone requires him to be stripped of his chairmanship.

Both Obama and Biden have stated that they will investigate potential crimes by the Bush Administration...AS THEY SHOULD!!! Lieberman won't do the job; therefore, someone else has to have that position.

Case closed...

Posted by: Marty on November 12, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Yet I hear no one give a good reason Lieberman should stay, only that he needs sympathy. Thats not a rational reason.

Posted by: Jet on November 12, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

According to Greg Sargent over at TPM, its beginning to look as if Lieberman is likely to skate with little or no punishment on this. My question is: if Democrats don't have enough spine to stand up for themselves to a guy who has repeatedly implied they were traitors and worked as hard as he could to undermine their agenda this past year, why should any of us even bother defending them? If they let Lieberman get away with this, as it seems they probably will, they should just go ahead and make Lieberman majority leader. He essentially owns them anyway. He has already gotten to shit all over them with no consequences except for them smiling back at him and telling the whole world what a great guy he is.

Look, we keep wanting these jerkoffs to stand up for themselves and they keep letting us down. Even you Steve are trying to hard to maintain the pretense that these guys are going to make some kind of stand here. I was hopeful for awhile but here we are again. I think there is some value in resolving to ourselves that this is who these cats are. They don't have it in them. We will have to find other ways to use them to achieve a more progressive agenda.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

"What I haven't heard from Senator Lieberman yet -- and maybe this is under negotiation -- is some kind of public apology or recantation."

Agree completely.

"Yet I hear no one give a good reason Lieberman should stay, only that he needs sympathy. Thats not a rational reason"

Agree completely.

Posted by: Bob M on November 12, 2008 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The only valid reason for keeping Lieberman in the Democratic caucus is that his vote may be needed to break filibusters. So why not a simple deal: Joe gets to stay in the caucus if he pledges to always vote with the Democratic majority on all cloture motions?

Posted by: Tony Greco on November 12, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

"He has already gotten to shit all over them with no consequences except for them smiling back at him and telling the whole world what a great guy he is."

Nice! Agree completely.

Posted by: Bob M on November 12, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Sen. Lieberman pleads his case... I'm sure C-Span will not be allowed.

Posted by: sduffys on November 12, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Why does everyone hear want to further partisan warfare?

"He has already gotten to shit all over them with no consequences except for them smiling back at him and telling the whole world what a great guy he is."

Who cares! Aren't politicians supposed to speak their own opinions and take their own positions on issues? Is that not better than blindly lining up behind party lines? And finally, is it any surprise that some dirty things were said? It was during a presidential campaign. Politics are dirty. Get over it.

Posted by: drew on November 12, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmmmm. That's a hard one, to keep your enemies close or to oust them?

I say keep them close, feed them misinformation.

Posted by: Ozer on November 12, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I think Lieberman should be forced to wear a red "A" sewn to his butt for the remainder of his time in the Senate.

Posted by: PW on November 12, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman and the adjudication of his infamy brings new meaning to Pogo's "we have seen the enemy and he is us."

Posted by: Cycledoc on November 12, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares! Aren't politicians supposed to speak their own opinions and take their own positions on issues? Is that not better than blindly lining up behind party lines?

Party's and especially party leaders should care. Politics is about negotiation and when you have someone on your team who is undermining your position, then you are negotiating from distinct disadvantage. I would think that this would be too obvious to need to be explained but apparently I would be wrong.

Put simply, there is no successful organization anywhere in the world that would allow one of its members to run around undermining its agenda and its leader with no consequence. The Democratic caucus will be the only organization that I have ever heard of that would allow such a thing.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Drew, politics isn't everybody for themselves. Party members are supposed to be supportive of each other, that's one of the reasons they join a particular party.

When you have a member who actively campaigns for the opposition. Disparages his own party during the election, then it seems to me and a lot of other people that Leiberman is no longer a Democrat. He's acting like a Republican.

Hell, I don't see why Leiberman has ANY positions in the Democratic Party since he ran for re-election as an INDEPENDENT. So let him hold the senior position and committee chairs that the INDEPENDENT Party heads.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on November 12, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

The only valid reason for keeping Lieberman in the Democratic caucus is that his vote may be needed to break filibusters. So why not a simple deal: Joe gets to stay in the caucus if he pledges to always vote with the Democratic majority on all cloture motions?

Nice idea but unfortunately unenforceable. I will bet you anything you like that Holy Joe will betray the Democratic caucus on a matter of some significance inside of the first year. I absolutely guarantee it and if the Democrats then move to remove him from the caucus it will make them seem vindictive and mean spirited. It will hurt them politically. Now is the time. If they have any intention to punish him for undermining their agenda, they will never have a better time than now.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and Reid have just set up a straw man in the media. Now when they let Joe crawl back to the caucus with his tail between his legs (and at most a subcommittee chairmanship or a portfolio away from national security and administration oversight), it will appear that they held back the bitter partisans who wanted to boot him.

If Joe gets called on his bluff and walks to the Repubs, it won't be because Obama and Reid forced him out. It will be because Joe-mentum wouldn't accept a reasonable compromise.

Nevertheless, whatever side of the aisle he sits on, doesn't mean we can expect discipline and unity on cloture votes anyway. I mean would you trust him as far as you could throw him? [though given his relatively small stature, I bet you could throw him pretty far]

Posted by: Calvin on November 12, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Fineman said on Countdown yesterday that Lieberman will likely keep his Committee post because Obama has indicated that's what he wants.

Huh?

I thought Obama had given signals that he wanted Lieberman to stay in the caucus. What gives?

Posted by: Homer on November 12, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, politics isn't everybody for themselves. There is a difference between being supportive and just falling in with party lines. This election was enormously important. Before McCain'00 transformed to McCain'08, many Dems were in his corner as a friend and colleague. Lieberman happened to stay in that corner to the bitter end. Why hold a grudge for staying loyal to his friend and his beliefs on foreign policy and the war? Let's move on and get work done.

@brent - thanks for the flattering condescension :)

Posted by: drew on November 12, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

I saw the same interview and came to the conclusion that Fineman was talking out of his ass. He gave no sources, not even "anonymous" ones for that drivel.

The only thing I've heard from the Obama camp is that they don't want to kick Lieberman out of the caucus, but that it as far as commentary.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on November 12, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

The dem "leadership" daily continues to show me why I don't contribute any money to them. The dems gained seats in the House and Senate. So what, it's same old same old. joLIE will continue to caucus with them and run to report to the repugs whenever he wants to undermine the dems.

To say that Obama wants to stay out of the fray in the Senate is silly. He has indicated that he wants to keep joLIE. As far as I can see, that is telling them how he wants the Senate to run. There is no real advantage to keeping joLIE, except, as someone said, to keep on the good side of AIPAC. joLIE hasn't really supported any dems for a long time, especially in this past election.

If he stays in the caucus, the rethugs won't need to have to hack into the dem computer system, they will have the password. In addition, Obama will have "one of his own" constantly waiting to begin the hearings that should have started two years ago.

Posted by: Michael on November 12, 2008 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

My question is: if Democrats don't have enough spine to stand up for themselves to a guy who has repeatedly implied they were traitors and worked as hard as he could to undermine their agenda this past year, why should any of us even bother defending them?

The people that may or may not have the spine are not the "Democrats" generally, who don't get to vote on the issue, but "Senate Democrats" specifically, who do. And, insofar as they don't, I don't think "we" (that is, Democrats in the electorate who see Lieberman's past pattern of betrayal as a serious threat that is likely to be repeated in the future) will be defending them.

OTOH, some of us will continue to support them to the extent that they are right on other important issues, since the alternatively would be to support (if only through inaction) their opponents on those issues.


Posted by: cmdicely on November 12, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

It is weird beyond words that this issue is even being debated.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on November 12, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, politics isn't everybody for themselves. There is a difference between being supportive and just falling in with party lines.

I don't understand exactly what you are trying to say here but lets make it simple. If it is possible to cross a line when being a member of a caucus, then Lieberman crossed it. Forgot for a moment about the incredibly nasty shit that he said and the very real negative consequences of that on the Democratic party. If Joe Lieberman had succeeded in his goal of getting McCain elected then there is almost literally nothing he could have done that would have undermined >i>the entire progressive agenda more. I mean, I am sure there is something, but I cannot at the moment imagine what it would be. So whatever issue one cares about as a progressive, abortion rights, education, environmental causes, appointment of judges, health care, etc, Joe Lieberman wanted to elect a man to President who would have absolutely, positively made all of those matters anywhere from more difficult, to impossible to improve. Now I think members of our caucus shouldn't do things that undermine our agenda so thoroughly and should be discouraged from doing so. For some mysterious reason, you, and apparently many Democrats disagree. As I said, there isn't any organization that I have ever heard of that would allow such a thing, other than the Democratic party.

Why hold a grudge for staying loyal to his friend and his beliefs on foreign policy and the war?

Perhaps part of this is about "holding a grudge" but that is really beside the point. Parties and caucuses require discipline. It has to be able to count on its members' loyalty on key matters. Otherwise, they are not really a caucus at all. If you want to pretend that utter betrayal doesn't matter to the success of a party's agenda, then good luck with that. I take a different view and say that there are lines you don't cross as a member of any group if you want to remain in good standing with that group. If that sounds condescending then I apologize but I am afraid I don't know how to state what seems to be our disagreement over an incredibly obvious point to me any more clearly.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

In some respects, it was easier for the Democratic Party leaders to strip committee leadership from Williams, Watson and Rarick. This was a time when the segregationists were openly defying the Party. The Democrats had received support from liberal and moderate Republicans to pass both the Voting Rights and Civil Right Acts.

Of the three, only Watson had the courage of his despicable convictions to become the first major Southern Democratic politian to switch to the Republican Party and be elected to Governor of South Carolina.

Now, Lieberman meet Courage? Never.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 12, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

OTOH, some of us will continue to support them to the extent that they are right on other important issues, since the alternatively would be to support (if only through inaction) their opponents on those issues.

No question. I guess my point is more about the nature of that support. I keep wanting Dem pols to "get tough." I want them to establish a discursive approach that makes it clear that they will not be trifled with in the way they quite consistently are by Republicans and putative "allies" like Lieberman. Sometimes they do. Some Dem senators and representatives are very tough in this respect. But I am coming to the conclusion that maybe, as a party, they just don't have it in them.

This business with Lieberman ought to be a no-brainer for any party and its leader. No way in a party with any sense of toughness and dignity does he get to keep his standing after what he did this election cycle. But here we are discussing it as if it is a real possibility. Worse, we have people actually arguing that it is best to simply ignore this sort of betrayal in order to "move on." If that is how things pan out, then I think we will just have to take the line that we cannot expect these guys to play hardball. Its not their game and to the extent that we are on their team we will have to work with a different strategy.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is entitled to his opinion, and an endorsement of McCain would have been easy to forgive. But he not only actively campaigned for McCain, but he said awful things about Obama and the Democratic Party as well as campaigning for down-ticket Republicans. IF McCain had won, he was hoping for a spot in the Cabinet. He would have switched to the Republican party in a New York second so if he wasn't given a cabinet position, he could be rewarded with the chairmanship of an important committee. He bet wrong, and he knows damn well that he'll never be reelected as either a Democrat or an Independent again. So he's crawling back to the Dems with tail between legs, with only one demand. That he hold onto the Chairmanship of a committee that he did NOTHING on for two years. Bad enough the guy could be allowed to stay within the Dem caucus. If they don't take the chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee away from him, that is going to be the final straw for a lot of us on the "left."

Posted by: impeachcheneythenbush on November 12, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

LBJ must be rolling in his grave. When will the mushy Dems learn? You don't get the Great Society passed by playing nice. This is why I am now an Independent.

Posted by: Frak on November 12, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

And yet Lieberman is so distraught he turned to an ape for therapy:

http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/election-08/phd-ape-flies-to-liebermans-side/

STAMFORD, CT In the midst of helping John McCain grieve, PhD Ape took a red-eye flight Monday night to be with Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: grizzlyfish on November 12, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'm feeling very frustrated. I am not one of Senator Hilary Clinton's constituents, but I was a contributor during her campaign, had sent money on her debt payoff, and felt this had earned me the right to ask her not to vote for supporting Lieberman's chairmanship.
Email contact is impossible--I gather email from any other state is jettisoned with polite words. I phoned and was told to contact my own state Senators (which I had already done) and that Senator clinton's office was for her own recipient's requests.
I do not send money through any of the internet means (act blue,etc) because I don't want my credit card number out in cyberspace, but, for my financial situation I'm a generous political contributor, and I make very few requests of any politician I contribute to.
I was very unhappy about this and will not be sending any more money for Sen Clinton's debt retirement.
In the meantime, I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping NOT to see Joe Lieberman sitting in that Homeland Security chair.

Posted by: Lolly on November 12, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, why does Obama have any say in this at all, one way or the other? Why are we expecting Obama to have a say in this? Isn't this Harry Reid's call? Shouldn't Harry Reid be making the call without input from the executive?

Posted by: DBake on November 12, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Lolly. I am Clinton's constituent and I did email her on this subject so consider that from the both of us. And, yeah, don't send her any more money.

Posted by: Frak on November 12, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Put him in the corner wearing the dunce cap, make him take out the trash every day, make him clean the erasers after hours, make him wear his gum at the end of his nose, take away television rights, cell phone priveleges and send him to bad without any supper.

Posted by: iggy on November 12, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

brent said:

I will bet you anything you like that Holy Joe will betray the Democratic caucus on a matter of some significance inside of the first year. I absolutely guarantee it and if the Democrats then move to remove him from the caucus it will make them seem vindictive and mean spirited. It will hurt them politically. Now is the time. If they have any intention to punish him for undermining their agenda, they will never have a better time than now.

I agree completely with this.

I'd also like to add this thought:

What would Lieberman have done if McCain had won? Or if the GOP regained the majority in the Senate?

Is there any doubt that he would have switched allegiances to go where the power was? Of course not. Of course he would have turned on the Dems.

But since his only shot for power is sticking with the Dems, that's what he's doing. I just dont see why the Dems are kowtowing to him and the Israel lobby to this ridiculous degree.

Posted by: TG Chicago on November 12, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"@in vino: Don't get your hopes up. The economy is not improving this year and probably the first half next year. We are near the bottom but not there yet."

Thanks a bunch, drew. I'm sure you're right, but I have a house in Georgia I really need to sell.


Al used to be a real right-wing poster-we don't have nearly as many as we used to-but then the story circulated that he died. However what is posted over his name here is dead on to the sort of thing he used to say.

Posted by: in vino veritas on November 12, 2008 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Just one minute here. Lieberman is a self avowed Independent, not a Democrat. He's getting special treatment just by being allowed to caucus with Dems, never mind his latest Republican hack fiasco.
He screwed Gore in 2000 and has been busy screwing Democrats ever since. Fuck him.

Posted by: Palinoscopy on November 12, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I blame Connecticut, the Oklahoma of New England!

Posted by: anon on November 12, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Come on now...to refer back to 1964 to justify the discipline that Senator Lieberman ought to face is ridiculous. Especially in light our our new President elect's clear effort to introduce a new kind of politics, less partisan and more solution orientated. Lots of dems and others are bothered by Lieberman's actions to help McCain. It's over, lets find the high road and take it...we can find solutions with Lieberman a part of the dem caucus and holding his chair. Its not about Lieberman and party discipline its about solving our nations problems. Lets move on!

Posted by: joe smith on November 12, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Screw Lieberman. At a minimum, he should be stripped of his committee posts. If he wants to remain part of Democrat caucus fine, if not, just as well. Lieberman is looking out for himself, no 'Country First' for him. Ken

Posted by: Ken on November 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

hahaah yes I saw the Weekly World News "ape consulting" thought it was pretty funny too...

Posted by: Leslie on November 12, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote my (Dem) Senator: Lieberman shouldn't chair an important committee (especially one he hasn't done much with, so far). Especially when there are other !Democratic! senators who deserve a shot.

I've donated and canvassed to help Democrats obtain the majority. What's Lieberman done? Not talking 'vindictiveness' -- just basic fairness.

Posted by: Sophie in VA on November 12, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's over, lets find the high road and take it...we can find solutions with Lieberman a part of the dem caucus and holding his chair.

I really find this sort of attitude mystifying. What world do people live in where you can act to deliberately undermine your organization's agenda and face no consequences? I mean, is that how it goes where you work joe? Are you rewarded for deliberately and publicly acting against your company's best interests? Would your company "take the high road" if you went around suggesting that your company's leader was a secret Marxist who very well might be a traitor to his country? What if you went around promoting the marketing slogans of a competitor? Would they just welcome you back in good standing and "move on?" Well perhaps that is how it works for you but I have never seen anything of the sort in my lifetime.

Its not about Lieberman and party discipline its about solving our nations problems.

What exactly are you talking about? What's not about Lieberman and party discipline? Why does whatever that is prevent us from solving our nation's problems? Why would removing Lieberman from a chairmanship which he has quite steadfastly refused to use to any good ends prevent us from solving any problems at all? I am asking seriously because I really have no idea what it is you are trying to argue here.

As far as I can tell, this is all extremely simple. Parties, if they mean to succeed, require a fundamental level of loyalty. That doesn't mean that every member has to agree on every issue but it does mean that its members cannot be actively attempting to harm the party and its larger goals. Lieberman did. No one, not even Lieberman, is pretending that he didn't. And if a party wants to discourage this kind of behavior, it has to come with some negative consequences for the person who violates that trust. I have yet to see anyone even attempt to make a reasonable argument as to why this should be otherwise.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Brent,
You make some strong points. I am only suggesting that there are bigger problems to overcome regardless of the Lieberman status.
Dems will likely face some tough party line votes in the Senate where Lieberman could be helpful and may not be given the recommended discipline. Perhaps you are correct and I am not. We will see. Your comparison of a company taking action to punish one for acting against their better interests is hardly logical given that we are discussing a political body and not a corporate one. But like I hear you and you make some valid points.

Posted by: joesmith on November 12, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Your comparison of a company taking action to punish one for acting against their better interests is hardly logical given that we are discussing a political body and not a corporate one.

I hear you but I used a corporate example because I think people will be more familiar with it. The truth is that this type of betrayal is even more harmful to a political organization and its agenda than it ever could be to a political one. Either way, I simply don't know of any type of successful organization, public or private, where this sort of thing would be allowed.

If your general argument is that, all things being equal, it is better to have Lieberman's vote than not, then I think there is something to that and you have a point. But everything, Senate votes included, comes with a price. If the price of Lieberman's vote is that we give him anything he wants and allow him to smear Democrats and act against the best interests of our agenda in a number of other ways, then I say it costs way too much.

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

this type of betrayal is even more harmful to a political organization and its agenda than it ever could be to a political one.

Obviously should read: "this type of betrayal is even more harmful to a political organization and its agenda than it ever could be to a corporate one"

Posted by: brent on November 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Brent,
I understand, point made. Final thoughts...
Todays betrayer in politics sometimes becomes tomorrows coalition partner. Logic doesn't always rule. The optomist hopes for the best and that with or without Lieberman we will
find solutions. The pragmatist thinks we will need Lieberman and can live with him. Don't know
how it will work out but thanks for the exchange.

Posted by: joesmith on November 12, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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