President-elect Barack Obama has informed party officials that he wants Joe Lieberman to continue caucusing with the Democrats in the 111th Congress, Senate aides tell the Huffington Post.
Obama’s decision could tie the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been negotiating to remove Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security and Government Reform committee while keeping him within the caucus. Lieberman has insisted that he will split from the Democrats if his homeland security position is stripped.
Aides to the president-elect did not return requests for comment. Senate officials were unclear whether Obama would be comfortable with Lieberman maintaining his current committee post.
There is, perhaps, one measure by which Democratic leadership can still reconcile the competing realities of Lieberman’s future in the caucus. One Democratic aide said that the party was considering letting the Connecticut Senator keep his post at homeland security but forcing him to relinquish one or both of his spots on two more high-profile committees: Armed Services and Environment & Public Works.
Lieberman is in line for leadership roles in both of those committees should the current chairs leave their posts. On Armed Services, the two senators ahead of him are Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. On Environment and Public Works, current chair Barbara Boxer may face a tough reelection campaign in 2010 and second in line, Sen. Max Baucus, already heads another committee.
If Democratic leadership were to keep Lieberman on homeland security but impede any chance of ascending to these other posts, that may be enough to placate progressive activists demanding punishment while keeping the Connecticut Senator in the caucus.
There’s this sense, it seems, that “liberals” want Lieberman’s head. And we do. But it’s not just us. Lieberman endorsed the Republican candidate for president. He appeared with him at numerous rallies, including McCain’s final rally the night before the election. Lieberman dissed Dems at the Republican convention, a la Zell Miller. Lieberman accused Obama of being un-American.
These are not crimes to the far-left of the Democratic party. This is a betrayal of the Democratic party and our candidate. And it’s nice for Obama to want to make nice (not that Obama has much of a choice – what’s he gonna say, off with is head?) But at some point, Democrats need to have some backbone. And show some backbone. Lieberman is trouble. And his actions go far beyond some high school prank, contrary to Harry Reid’s suggestion. We have no discipline in our party, we can’t hold Democrats in line, because we NEVER hold Democrats in line. Because there is never any discipline. The party never gives Democrats a reason to toe the line. And we wonder why they stray?
Joe Lieberman is going to screw us again. I am just counting the days until he starts to hold hearings to embarrass President Obama and his fellow Democrats. Then the Democrats will have only themselves to blame. As always. Markos has more.