Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keeping Lieberman Is Good For The Democrats… And The Nation

A guest post by Sam Adams

Why let Joe Lieberman stay a chairman? Because it’s not about Joe Lieberman. It’s not about Barack Obama. It’s about the nation and what's good for it.

Let’s start with a few basic propositions: First, Joe Lieberman supported John McCain against Barack Obama not to be churlish or disloyal to the Democratic Party but because he honestly believed his old friend would be the best president and the one this country needed. Second, though the majority of Democrats in Congress shifted (or were elected in over the past few years on a position) against a continued U.S. occupation of Iraq years ago, and this is now a difference that persists between them and Senator Lieberman, on most issues Lieberman continues to vote as a Democrat. Third, the election is over.

This last one is key. A Democratic move to eject Lieberman is based on the proposition that it won't hurt them ... and that it gives them pleasure. First, because if he honestly holds Democratic positions he would continue to hold them even if stripped of a leadership role. Second, Lieberman is no longer a real threat to Democratic leadership in Congress, even if allied to the Republicans. Third, because they feel he stepped over some invisible line; in not only supporting John McCain but it attacking Barack Obama, especially in a prime-time speech at the Republican convention. But to focus on this is short sited and erroneous.

But ejecting Lieberman WILL hurt them. There are many, many individuals that Lieberman represents better then any other person in Congress - foreign policy hawks with a liberal domestic viewpoint - and he remains their man. Many of them also supported McCain but the election is now over, McCain is off the field, and they want to return to their party and focus on the many points of overlap between them and the Democratic majority. Spitting on Lieberman is the same as driving them into the Republican camp. And for what?

A (very) brief discussion of the late King Hussein of Jordan is worth
having and not because he shares a middle name with our President-elect. When Hussein rose to the throne, Jordan was (as now) a weak and small country, fractured internally. The monarchy was weak and many expected Hussein's reign to be brief. But instead he reigned for 46 years. How? By fighting enemies that threatened him. And buying off opponents that could be bought.

If you look at the polling, for all the ability of Barack Obama to electrify so many voters and for all that he has come to represent for many, in the swing states his victory was more due to Republicans staying home then for any great shift in the numbers towards the Democrats. The victory should be cemented, not gloated over.
Gloating was the mistake of the Gingrich led Republican Revolution. It led to arrogance, corruption and blindness to alternative viewpoints. It set the basis for the collapse of the Republican Party we are witnessing now.

Lieberman can be bought. More importantly, the large component he represents ideologically... can also be bought. And the cost is actually quite cheap.

(And its worth noting that a senator, unlike a House representative, can thwart legislation in 1001 ways, acting on his own. Or, when he supports the legislation, hold it up until he gets more of what he wants. Maintaining Lieberman's vested interest in the party prevents him from being a further irritant.)

But I said this was for the good of the nation, when I started, didn't I. And I've only focused on what's good for the Democrats. But having Joe Lieberman there backing the Democratic agenda (except Iraq), reconciled with the Democratic leadership and with close relationships amongst the Republicans is in the interests of the nation. Having honest connections to all representatives benefits all, including the majority. At least if you believe the Democratic agenda is for the good of the country and look forward to years of Democratic control.


Mr. Mephistopheles said...

Why shouldn't Holy Joe (aka Willie Tanner from ALF) be kicked out of the Democratic caucus? Let me count the ways:

1) He promised to only speak positively about his "good friend" John McCain at the GOP convention, but he reneged on this promise by stating at the convention that Barack Obama does not put his country first.

2) He had no qualms about appearing on Sean Hannity's and Glenn Beck's talk shows. Don't you think it's kind of hypocritical of someone who bemoans the partisanship in Washington to appear with these two right-wing blowhards?

3) He's John Hagee's #1 apologist. Lieberman gives this bigot cover for his anti-Semitic beliefs.

I'm not calling for his removal because he supported John McCain, but rather because he is an unprincipled, backstabbing weasel.

Hey Droopy, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Raymond MacDonald said...

Joe, here's an idea;
Pick a party that you actually support and align yourself with that party. Support them. Vote with them. Campaign for them. Go on interviews and talk shows and discuss/argue why you think the way you do.
It's really simple. Let your yea mean yea. You'll feel better, your party will feel better, the country will know where you're coming from.
Right now, who knows what the hell you mean. You're apparently a liar and con man.

Stefan said...

Ok, let's say he honestly believed that McCain would have been the better president. Let's say he honestly believed that it would be dangerous giving the Democrats a larger majority in the senate. So what? That's what many Republican politicians believe, what's so special about Lieberman?

What do you mean by "some invisible line" - campaigning against your on again/off again own party is some "invisible line" - trying your best to work against your alleged party is an "invisible line"?

And all the reasons you give for keeping him, is that you think he is some sort of slime bag who'll just hurt the Democrats out of spite? How do you console that view with these "honest connections" you speak about?

Let Joe Stay said...

"And all the reasons you give for keeping him, is that you think he is some sort of slime bag who'll just hurt the Democrats out of spite? How do you console that view with these "honest connections" you speak about?" –Stefan

He was saying that, worst case scenario, the Democrats prevent someone from possibly obstructing their agenda, although that’s not something Lieberman would probably ever do. On the positive and more practical side, Lieberman is someone who appeals to the segment of the U.S. population that is progressive on domestic policy and more hawkish on foreign policy and can help bridge the gap between the Democratic majority and the Republican minority. Keeping Lieberman in the fold not only benefits him but the party too.

politicus said...

Your article is filled with inane ideas.
1. He only represents the people of the great state of Connecticut. So if you are from somewhere else, and you like him, move there.
2. Under our system of government, the party in majority in both houses, select who chairs that committiee. He is not a democrat and should not have the chair.
3. Finally, what does it say about this man, who threathens to caucus with the republicans if he loses his seat? He is a democrat in spirit, except for the war, but he is willing to compromise his principles in a fit of pique?
$. he's a douche-bag. Sorry. Not other word decribes him better. Another chicken hawk. At least McCain and Palin have children ther. Where oh where are Joe's? Bet you they are in Iraq or Afganistan.

Kick him to the curb. I have written my Senators to let them know how I feel.

Let Joe Stay said...

"Under our system of government, the party in majority in both houses, select who chairs that committee. He is not a democrat and should not have the chair." -Politicus

The Democrats were only the majority in the Senate because Lieberman caused with them. It's a 49-49 split between Democrats and Republicans with the two independents sided with the Democrats. Had Lieberman caucused with the Republicans it would have been a 50-50 split in which case V.P. Cheney would cast the deciding votes. Is that something you would have wanted to see happen? Lieberman saved us from having Cheney rule the Senate the past two years and yet you (and others) want to strip him of his chairmanship positions and throw him overboard. Clearly no good deed goes unpunished.