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November 08, 2008

Listen, Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman at Nica, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.


During the campaign, Joe Lieberman said he feared that America would not survive if Democrats got a 60-seat majority in the Senate. So, not only did this sniveling little turncoat back the Republican candidate for president and smear the Democrat, he urged voters not to vote for other Democratic senators, lest America be destroyed.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to strip Joe Lieberman of his chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, but Lieberman is taking his case to the Senate Democratic Steering Committee:

Lieberman met privately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Thursday to discuss his fate. Sources disclosed Friday that Reid told Lieberman that he was under pressure to punish him and offered the Connecticut senator another chairmanship, which is believed to be the Small Business Committee. One source said Lieberman is not interested in chairing that panel. Reid's office had no comment Friday when asked about such an offer. After the meeting, Lieberman made a short statement saying he is exploring his options, but did not take questions.

"I want to spend some time in the next few days thinking about what Sen. Reid and I discussed and what my options are at this point, and he promised me he would do the same," Lieberman said. [GovExec]

As a procedural matter, why does Joe Lieberman have options? Aren't committee chair assignments the Senate Majority Leader's prerogative?

It's time for Harry Reid to ask himself WWLBJD?--What would LBJ do? If Lieberman pulled this stunt when Lyndon Baines Johnson ran the US Senate, he'd be a greasy stain on the carpet by now.

Reporters Rowland Evans and Robert Novak described the "Johnson Treatment" in their book Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power (1966): Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint, the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.

Reid should punish Lieberman for his ingratitude by rescinding the offer of the Small Business Committee.

I've heard people argue that the Democrats shouldn't cut of their nose to spite their face where Lieberman is concerned. We're way past that now.

After Lieberman's behavior during the campaign, the question is why Democrats are giving leadership positions to a Republican. Committee chairmanships are privileges, not rights. You get plum assignments by doing good work for the party, not by defecting to the other side.

For the last several years, Lieberman has sought to undermine the Democrats at every turn. Lieberman dreads major Democratic gains in the senate because they erode his own power as a swing voter. Democrats have made sufficient gains that Lieberman's vote is not longer critical. He could caucus with the GOP and the Democrats would still have the majority.

Besides, if Lieberman is really a man of principle, he'll keep voting his conscience regardless of whether he gets to chair any committees. So, unlesss he's just a venal little twerp, we can expect him to keep voting with the Democrats on almost everything but the war. That's all we need.

By giving Joe Lieberman committee assignments, we're making him the most powerful Republican in the senate.


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Hello from Tel Aviv.

Joltin' Joe is a man of principle, just not Democrat Party principles. He should become a declared independent. In the current situation, he may be able to do more for his state and his country as someone not tied at all to a party where many don't like him, and understandably so.

"It's time for Harry Reid to ask himself WWLBJD?--What would LBJ do?"

A sign bearing that message should be a permanent fixture in the Majority Leader's office. (There'll be plenty of wall space if they trash that "What Will Make David Broder Like Us?" sign in flaming neon.)

You're a rabid little liberal, aren'cha?

Now we should follow LBJ's example?

'Punish' ? 'Ingratitude' ? Maybe if Lieberman gets on his knees, begs for forgiveness and mercy, Reid will go easy on him? Should he kiss his ring too? Maybe a sacrifice in the name of the Party is in order?

God save us. Lieberman was right -- people like you will destroy this country.

I couldn’t agree more. Joe has made his choice and should deal with the consequences of his actions. There are other deserving democrats for chairmanship of any of the committees. Joe shouldn’t be offered any.

Chicago/ Illinois politics now are in charge of The Republic of The United States of America. God have mercy on us all.

Time to heave old Joe over the side!

Lieberman should have been grateful if Reid was willing to offer him the chair of the Small Business Committee. Committee chairmanships are not rights, they are privileges. You don't earn privileges in the Democratically controlled senate by backing the Republican nominee, smearing his Democratic opponent, and urging the voters to unseat your Democratic senate colleagues.

Harry Reid's job is to assert discipline over the senate Democrats. If he doesn't get tough with Lieberman, he's not doing his job. Period. Every Democrat should urge Reid to get tough with Lieberman, even Democrats who like Lieberman's polices. Because if you don't have discipline in the senate, you're never going to accomplish anything.

Reid needs to set an example to preserve his own standing as majority leader. A man in Reid's position just can't put up with bullshit like this an expect to remain effective. His counterpart Mitch McConnell wouldn't put up with this kind of insubordination if Lieberman caucused with the GOP. I say let him go over there and see how they like his "principles."

Pretty obvious, isn't it? The Democrat leadership wants to count on Lieberman's vote as much as possible.

When you start driving scumbags out of the party, you won't have much left.

Joe the Turncoat should resign. If not he should be shunned. It's embarrasing for Demoncrats to associate with him. Bye, bye, Joe the Benidict Arnold.

Th J.

Joe Lieberman is a man who speaks his mind, not a sniveling coward like the politicians that LBJ cojoled and intimidated to do his will.
Obama has promised change. Maybe part of the change is away from a politics that seeks to destroy those who disagree to an politics that includes those who disagree, so that all ideas can be explored.
It sounds like you are a practitioner of the old, destructive politics. You need to change.

Why doesn't Lieberman just join the Republican Party?

Yes, there are conservative Democrats. Yes, senators and representatives sometimes vote across party lines. That's just politics as usual. But Lieberman has repeatedly and actively worked to undermine the party that got him elected in the first place -- both at the state and national levels. And, despite declaring himself "independent", he seems to spend more time and energy needling and badmouthing Democrats than doing anything positive for either Democrats or Republicans -- or for the country as a whole.

As for "punishing" Lieberman: The Democratic Party should stoop to neither taking revenge nor demanding apologies. The party and its committee chairs should simply cut him loose. Enough, Joe. You're an adult. Stand up for whatever you believe in, but we won't give you any power within a party that you clearly dislike so much. 'Bye.

Joe Leb did not fight for this country instead he wanted US money and our bloods to fight for Isreal. He crossed his party line because he believe W.B and Mc Cain will fight Iran for Isreal.

"He crossed his party line because he believe W.B and Mc Cain will fight Iran for Isreal."

Joe should move to Israel and consider a political career there if his allegiances are so misplaced. I doubt he'd last a day though, the Middle East hangs their traitors.

Its very important to understand Joe governs from with in.

I don't care if Lieberman is speaking his mind, even if he had campaigned for McCain I could see how the Dems could forgive him. But if Lieberman's been arguing that the country would be so bad with the Democrats in charge of the Senate, why should those same senators he's been trashing feel any obligation to Lieberman? Starbug has it right; cut him loose, not for revenge but because Lieberman's made it clear he doesn't want to associate with the Democratic party except when he can get power from them.

It's not about revenge, it's about pragmatic power politics. A leader in Harry Reid's position can't afford to appear ineffectual. It's not good for him and not good for the party. We want an effective leader in the senate who can keep Senators from indulging their narrow self interests at the expense of the larger agenda.

If you don't have effective leadership, nobody will ever get what they want. You need leadership and teamwork in the Senate to get stuff done.

Look, there are really only two issues here and by order of importance they're:

1) We don't want to piss Lieberman off so much that we'll lose his votes on important domestic issues

2) A lesson needs to be made of him so that others don't have the balls to do what he did in the future

All in all, I don't know enough about politics to be able to decided what to do but it does appear to me that these are the ONLY two matters that ought to be taken into account. Emotions should serve no role in this decision.


I couldn't agree with you more, LB. In fact, I wish he'd cross the aisle. We'll pick up more senate seats next cycle.

Lieberman should be rendered as irrelevant as the Conservatives he supports.

The rational course of action is clear.

The Democrats do not need Lieberman to caucus with them in order to hold onto the majority.

He's not even a Democrat, he's been an independent since he ran against the winner of the CT Democratic primary in 2006.

If Lieberman caucuses with the Republicans, there's nothing preventing him from voting with the Democrats. The Republicans, being in the minority, will have less leverage over him because they can't hold out incentives like committee chairmanships. So, Lieberman's probably going to keep voting the way he's always voted. The question is whether we want him taking up a committee chair that could go to someone who is loyal and effective.

"sniveling little turncoat"

Well put.

Lieberman is no democrat, by any definition of the word.

He's undependable when he is needed. Dems would be better off relying on some of the moderate republicans that are left than Lieberman.

He makes me sick.

Reid was being very nice to offer Lieberman an alternative. We should all be continuing to pressure Reid in this little showdown, which frankly should have gone down years ago.

I think the options that Lieberman hinted at are very clear: he either remains an independent and loses his Democratic tenure and committee spots, or he officially crosses the aisle.

Your argument is that it goes beyond Senator Lieberman's support of a Republican for President. Well, you are completely on the mark.

The anger against Joe Lieberman goes back to 2006. He was not the only Senator who continued to support a forever occupation.

But even then he was unique as a Democrat in going out of his way to taunt">">taunt those whose support he demanded.

I took the picture, above, during the Lieberman/Lamont primary in 2006. I remember the taunting well.

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