Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Democrats to vote on Lieberman's chairmanship

The Democrats in the Senate are going to vote on whether or not Joe Lieberman should keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. They're not kicking him out of the caucus, which is good. I like Obama's position - they don't hold grudges.

I would be surprised if Lieberman survives as chair of this committee. He's going to be running for reelection in 2012, and chances are not good that he will be reelected. Lots of liberals across the country are still mad at him, for lots of very legitimate reasons. By a strictly political calculus, how would any Democratic Senator benefit by supporting Joe Lieberman? Chris Dodd has a certain allegiance to him, which is perfectly understandable. But otherwise, what would be the logic for someone like Carl Levin to support Lieberman? Many of them have known him for a long time, but there are some strong arguments against him: first, obviously, he's not a Democrat, even if he still votes occasionally like one. Second, he campaigned against Obama. Third, chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee is an important post, with oversight of some key policy areas, and it should go to a Senator who will use it to enact some real change. Fourth, and finally, what does Lieberman have to offer in return? He's probably going to be gone in four years, he's just one Senator, and, assuming he loses, he won't have that much power in the Senate. Rumor has it that he will get the chairmanship of the Small Business Committee as consolation, but that won't be a post where he can do many favors for or exact retribution from people who vote against him.

The man is history. It's just a matter of time.

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