Whither Lieberman?

The plot thickens:

Bolstered by a newly expanded majority, Harry Reid met with Joe Lieberman on Thursday to sketch out the conditions by which the Connecticut independent could continue to caucus with Senate Democrats. But Lieberman did not accept Reid's initial offers, leaving his future in the caucus uncertain, and potentially setting off a campaign to pressure the Democratic steering committee to decide Lieberman's fate.

(Emhais supplied.) Apparently Reid asked him to relinquish his committee chairmanship:

Reid offered Lieberman a deal to step down as chairman of the homeland security committee but take over the reins of another subcommittee, likely overseeing economic or small business issues officials said.

What next? Lieberman begging and pleading I suspect:

Immediately after his meeting with Reid, Lieberman told reporters that he had not made a decision about his future in the caucus, and appeared to launch his first public appeal to members of the Democratic steering committee, whose members decide committee chair assignments. "I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get our economy going again and to keep the American people safe. That is exactly what I intend to do with my colleagues here in the Senate in support of our new president, and those are the standards I will use in considering the options that I have before me," Lieberman told reporters.

What a weaselly sh*t Lieberman is. That said, I still think the deal should be that Lieberman must never join a GOP filibuster. I would let him keep a committee if he agreed to that.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Let the people of CT decide (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:53:24 PM EST
    his fate. But campaign like gangbusters against him.

    I know the logic of what you are saying, but he makes me hopping mad. He was there standing behind McCain until the very bitter end.

    The people of Connecticut?! (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:35:05 PM EST
    What on earth do you mean? Their next opportunity to evaluate Lieberman is in 2012-- supposing that he does stand for re-election.

    In the meantime, two new Senates will need to be organized.


    2012 (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:41:32 PM EST
    ugh. not soon enough

    F$#@ NO!!!! (none / 0) (#45)
    by msaroff on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:31:04 AM EST
    If Lieberman keeps a committee, he feeds subpoenas out to serve the 'Phants on a regular basis.

    Got to hand it to the guy. He (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:59:44 PM EST
    knows which side his bread is buttered on, or something.  

    Unfotunately (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:19:14 PM EST
    his bread always lands butter side down

    Not necessarily. There he was (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:23:06 PM EST
    speaking on national TV at the RNC on behalf of McCain and nothing, absolutely nothing, happened.

    Yes it did. They lost. (none / 0) (#7)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:28:02 PM EST
    Hey...do you see a pattern here?
    Lieberman is a jinx on presidential politics, or maybe he is a reverse bellweather.

    Forget Indiana, Ohio, Missourit, (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:31:12 PM EST
    Steelers, Yankees.  At which national political convention is Lieberman speaking?

    egggg xactly. (none / 0) (#10)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:32:30 PM EST
    Isn't that (none / 0) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 12:17:27 AM EST
    Gumperson's Law?

    I think Reid has made him a generous offer (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by HenryFTP on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:24:59 PM EST
    in view of what a complete skunk Lieberman has been. Reid has effectively offered him a chance to rehabilitate himself with the party. But the Caucus has to hold Lieberman accountable for his actions. He has betrayed the trust of his fellow senators in innumerable ways over the past two years, and all the senatorial courtesy in the world can't compensate for that.

    If I were Reid or Lieberman.... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Key on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:30:03 PM EST
    I would do the same thing - wait.  No hurry here.

    Democrats now have 57 seats, with a shot at picking up 3 more.  But it's a very long shot at this point.  Having said that, picking up 2 more seats is not quite as long a shot.  And if that happens,, I sure would want Lieberman on the Democrats' side.

    Lieberman is an ass on many levels.  But he also supports quite a few of the same things the Dems support.  And while it's true he can continue to support those things and vote with the Dems to give them a filibuster proof majority, it's important to remember that -- Lieberman's an ass.  If he keeps a chairmanship, he'll go along with the Dems.  If he looses it, then he's just the kind of guy who would vote against his own interests to spite the Dems.

    At least, that's his track record.....

    60 seats means very little ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:41:00 PM EST
    and it's not worthy compromising the quality of the caucus to achieve this nominal metric. The truth about filibusters is that Harry Reid has been exceptionally supportive of Republican filibusters in the current Congress-- defining bills as 'needing sixty votes' thereby giving ample cover to Democrats who want to desert.

    If the Democratic leadership is really interested in stymieing Republican filibusters they will find it easy enough even with just 56 or 57 seats.


    So then, the problem lies with Reid? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Key on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:04:29 PM EST
    From what you've said, it sounds like Joe isn't so much of a problem them, whether he keeps a chair or not.

    The 60 seat thing in my opinion is important, especially with all of the upcoming judicial appointments.  I don't just mean the likely big 3 SC appointments, I also mean all of the lower courts.  If you recall, the Republicans did a great job of blocking many of Clinton's appointments.  It sure would be nice for Obama not to have to negotiate on his appointments.

    We need to restore balance tot eh courts, and the best way to do that is to get some solid left of center people on the bench.


    Committee chairs hold a lot of power (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:30:19 PM EST
    That's why I think Reid's move makes sense. Lieberman's current chair is too important to leave in his untrustworthy hands.

    I feel very much as you do about judicial appointments, but there's nothing to prevent Democrats from voting against a Democratic President's appointments or legislative initiatives.

    If the President has solid support from his own party, the Republicans will be very limited in their ability to hinder him-- remember they're defending more seats in 2010 than the Democrats are. And if he doesn't ...


    But why not wait? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Key on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:51:07 PM EST
    Why not wait to see what happens with the other 3 seats?  If it turns out to be beneficial to keep Lieberman in the caucus, keep him.  If not, get rid of him.

    You know, it's possible to keep him (if that helps the dems) and give him a less significant chair.

    I'm not arguing that the party should keep him, just that there is no need to be so quick about this.  They have until January to make final decisions, and they'll know the results of the final 3 seats soon.

    Oh - and looking at the Senate seats up in 2010, I see only 1 or two possible pickups for the Dems based on the 2008 presidential results.  And I see one possible Republican pickup.  Of course, what will have the biggest impact on the 2010 elections is what happens in Obama's first 2 years.  if things improve, gains for the Dems.  If things don't improve, or get worse, I would expect some losses for the Dems.

    In my opinion, Dems ought to be acting like they've got 2 years to get things done.  That's it.  And if Republicans can successfully filibuster because the Dems threw Lieberman out, well....


    The thing is (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:57:38 PM EST
    It was important to keep Lieberman to get to 51 seats because that allows you to organize the Senate under Democratic control for a full two years.

    Whereas, there's nothing magical about simply having 60 Senators.  You still have to hold Lieberman's allegiance on every single individual vote.  And if you've already demonstrated that you're afraid to do anything to him for fear of him switching sides, you've given him an unbelievable amount of leverage.

    The ultimate question is whether Lieberman will really (to quote Barney Frank) punish the country because his feelings got hurt.  I mean, imagine filibustering universal health care simply because the Democratic Party was mean to you.  Who would want that to be their legacy?


    You're right, but you're also wrong.... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Key on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:09:16 PM EST
    You're right about the need to keep Lieberman for the past 2 years.  But I think you're wrong about the 60 senators issue, especially when it comes to non-SC judicial appointments.

    That's just the sort of thing Lieberman would use to stick it to the Dems.

    Health care?  Yeah, he'll vote his conscience and work to rebuild his damaged legacy.

    I don't think keeping Lieberman around shows the Dems fear him.  But I do think they'll be able to keep him on a very short leash by letting him have a chairmanship of some committee where he can't inflict a lot of damage.

    Why not put him as chair of the committee on the environment?  or veteran's affairs?  These are two areas where I think he potentially do some good work.  And since he's working on his legacy now, he wouldn't really want to do anything to loose that position in the future.  Would he?


    I will be very surprised (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:47:32 PM EST
    if the Republicans manage to put together a partisan filibuster of any judges, unless we nominate a real nutball.

    I just e-mailed you (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:36:46 AM EST
    Not really (none / 0) (#29)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:59:15 PM EST
    Clinton nominees were blocked because Republicans controlled the Senate and wouldn't let him noms get a vote in committee, let alone on the floor.  That's not an issue now.

    They could filibuster nominations, but I'm guessing Dems can peel off 3-4 Republicans who would block this.  Thinking in particular of remaining members of Gang of 14.  Snowe, Collins, Graham, Voinovich, even maybe McCain.


    Blocked in committee vs blocked on the floor.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Key on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:16:46 PM EST
    And the difference is?

    Sure.  The Dems might pull a few votes from across the isle.  Then again, Republicans might play for broke and do everything they can to try to block the path to appointments long enough to try to regain some of what they lost, in 2010.

    Not saying they will regain seats, but they sure as hell are going to try.  And their best bet at doing that is to tie things up and show how incompetent Dems are.  They'll also try to say that Obama's appointments are just too liberal and they're doing everything they can to safeguard the courts, but they need voter's help in the next election to force Obama to negotiate.

    Maybe I'm just being overly cautious, but better that, than move forward with the kind of hubris Republicans had in 2004 after gaining 4 senate seats and 3 house seats.


    No (none / 0) (#32)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:36:52 PM EST
    There is a huge difference between Orrin Hatch simply not scheduling votes or Trent Lott not scheduling votes and the Republicans having to keep every member of their caucus in line for a filibuster.

    It would be exceedingly difficult for Republicans to wage a systematic war against as many nominees as they did during the Clinton years when dozens were bottled up in committee.


    Republicans (none / 0) (#39)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 12:23:40 AM EST
    had a majority in the Senate during Clinton's last 6 years.

    They controlled the committees and didn't even bother to hold hearings on many of his appointments.


    Excuses (none / 0) (#42)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:05:12 AM EST
    I don't buy into Pelosi's claim that the DEMs are not in control in Congress because they don't have a fillibuster-proof majority.  More whining and excuses.  Roll up your sleeves.  The Repubs got lots done without a bullet-proof majority.  The excuses are beginning. IMO, anyone who expects this Congress to show any muscle (progressive or otherwise) is in for a rude awakening.
    Anyone want to take bets on:
    •   Ending of Iraq war
    •   Closing of Guantanamo
    •   Amendments to FISA
    •   Real universal healthcare
    •   Holding Wall St accountable when giving them a dole?
    Add your favorite.

    Lieberman and 60 (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Ellis on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:12:25 PM EST
    And if that happens,, I sure would want Lieberman on the Democrats' side.

    Yeah, right. The only problem with that is Lieberman wouldn't be on the Democrat's side. Joe's on his own side and nothing else. Continuing to make deals with him just makes Democrats look weak and unprincipled (which, of course, they are).

    If the Democrats rely on Joe, they will regret it and probably when it matters most.


    The issue is filibusters (none / 0) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:45:13 PM EST
    Lieberman will NEVER vote for cloture on a Republican filibuster.  Never.  No matter what deal Reid tries to strike or how many committee chairmanships he has or doesn't have.

    OTOH, unless he's gone completely around the bend, which he really hasn't yet, he will vote his conscience on policy matters, which means he'll continue to be hawkish and continue to be generally liberal on domestic issues.

    IMHO, there's zero to be gained by being anything more than minimally polite to him.


    Homeland Security sounds pretty critical (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:43:35 PM EST
    What is the range of the Homeland Security Committee?

    Given issues ranging from wiretapping to port security to Katrina response to the TSA, there's no way I'd let Lieberman chair it, regardless of his filibuster stance.

    The guy should have been figuratively, if not literally pantsed and kicked down the Capitol steps this morning.  That he was left to whine to the media doesn't speak well of Reid.

    Even if Joe was seat 60, in the case of a filibuster the Dems will still have blue dog dems and other leaners to worry about.  There is no reason to beg to Joe if all we have is 60 seats.

    No accountability (none / 0) (#43)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:06:48 AM EST
    reign continues

    See how he likes being in the minority (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by progressiveinvolvement on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:02:00 PM EST
    What's the big difference between 57 or 58 senators?  Better to have 57 who know there's a price to be paid for gross disloyalty than 58 where one is a traitor.  In fact, I'd sooner reach out to McCain than Lieberman.

    As far as filibusters, let's have one.  In fact, let's have several.  Let the American people see the Republicans full-throated opposition to popular measures.  

    filibusters ... full-throated opposition (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:04:44 AM EST
    The thing is, Reid hasn't made the R's actually have to do the full-throated thing.  They've been getting the benefits of a filibuster by merely threatening one, without paying a penalty of any sort.  In fact, the Dems have paid the penalty by looking as spineless as they've been acting.

    OT: BTD, please write a post on Kerry as SecState (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by robrecht on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:06:50 PM EST
    NO, NO, NO!

    That agreement would last (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by blogtopus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:34:42 PM EST
    about 30 seconds after the GOP announced a filibuster, the time period it would take Joe to decide he would pal with his buddies.

    Meanwhile, until then, what decisions will he be a part of until that moment comes?

    GET. HIM. OUT.

    I think (4.00 / 1) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:22:35 PM EST
    the risk of giving Joe a chance to find a face-saving way to rejoin the D's outweighs the understandable urge to punish.

    Furthermore, Pres-elect Obama campaigned with a 50 state philosophy, he should be given the chance to see how many R's he can attract into his ("not Red State nor Blue State") "but United States" mantra. He can use his "we're all in this together" theme with the Lieberman and the 60 vote filibuster thing. Let's see President Obama go to work.

    I don't think Mr. Obama is looking to start his administration with a fist fight. (not yet anyway)
    He deserves a chance to "do it his way." If it succeeds, great! If not, well............(that's what we've got Rahm(bo) for.,

    Starting out in business as a young trainee many years ago, my wise old billionaire mentor told me, "Son, don't go looking for trouble, it'll find you."

    Sound advise.

    Better Yet (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:54:58 PM EST
    Wither away, holy joe.

    Just Say No To Joe (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:38:57 PM EST
    From FDL:

    Please sign the petition to the Steering and Outreach Committee, telling them it's time for Joe to go.

    Let him stay (none / 0) (#16)
    by robrecht on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:46:45 PM EST
    and wallow in his irrelevance.

    Forget Joe (none / 0) (#17)
    by caseyOR on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:56:00 PM EST
    If we need to cut some deals, let's offer something sweet to Snowe and Collins.  I certainly trust them more than I would ever trust Joe.

    I like the terms BTD (none / 0) (#24)
    by WS on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:54:41 PM EST
    proposed.  As long as he never joins a Republican filibuster and doesn't start Republican prodded investigations from his chair, he could stay in.  He can be stripped of the committee chair at anytime right if he breaks his word?

    Let's Joe off the hook (none / 0) (#44)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:09:16 AM EST
    without any responsibility for what he has done.

    drop-kick him now. (none / 0) (#26)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:19:29 PM EST
    no need to wait. set an example: you're with us or against us, there is no compromise. lieberman has demonstrated, time and again, what a rank opportunist he is. he should be rewarded appropriately.

    once his constituents realize he has no power, especially to bring pork home, they'll get rid of him in 2012. in the meantime, completely neutralize him, and move his office to the basement men's room.

    What to do with Lieberman? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Bart Brown on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:42:03 PM EST
    Joe Lieberman is no Democrat. In terms of American politics, he sucks up to whichever political faction is most likely to increase his own personal power and advance his personal agenda. Lieberman's personal agenda has absolutely nothing to do with the State of Connecticut, which for Lieberman is simply a marriage and residence of convenience. The only State Lieberman owes fealty to, cares about, legislates for, and politically represents is the State of Israel. Period.

    The last time I checked, Israel does not have a seat in the United States Senate. If Lieberman wants to legislate for Israel, let him move to Tel-Aviv (I doubt he has the personal courage to try living in Jerusalem). Otherwise, he is simply an agent provocateur -- or minister without portfolio, if you prefer that term -- for a foreign government that has not always been friendly and aboveboard with its proclaimed "greatest ally," the United States.

    Forget merely taking away Lieberman's committee chair -- it's WAY too many years until his next election cycle. Lieberman should be impeached, period. Then whatever mechanism is appropriate, appointment by the Governor or special statewide election, should put someone in Lieberman's seat who actually puts Connecticut ahead of his or her own self interest.

    Republican governor (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:01:51 PM EST
    We need a dump LIEberman campaign (none / 0) (#35)
    by pluege on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:45:54 PM EST