Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

This needs to be done, for reason I will explain in more detail later on. For now, it is good to know that some Democrats in DC are looking into it. If this Connecticut for Lieberman nonsense actually takes place, they better follow through:A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week.

If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides.

In recent days, Lieberman has rankled Democrats in the upper chamber by suggesting that those who support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq by a certain date would bolster terrorists' planning attacks against the U.S. and its allies. He also sparked resentment by saying last week on NBC's Today show that the Democratic Party was out of the political mainstream.

Democrats are worried that Lieberman may be giving Republicans a golden opportunity to undermine their message.

"I think there's a lot of concern," said a senior Democratic aide who has discussed the subject with colleagues. "I think the first step is if the Lieberman thing turns into a side show and hurts our message and ability to take back the Senate, and the White House and the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] manipulate him, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people in our caucus." The Lieberman camp wants Democrats to ignore Connecticut at all costs. This is probably because he is now the de facto Republican nominee and is going to run on a strategy designed to win Republican votes using Republican money and Republican support and then still take Democratic committee seats. Yeah, that seems fair. He has already made clear that he will do this by trashing Democrats around the country, and refusing to denounce Republican attacks that work in his favor.

In order to put an end to this trashing of our own party and for the Democratic nominee in Connecticut to win, we are going to need a lot more pressure on Lieberman from the Democratic establishment. Specifically, once he is certified on the ballot as the Connecticut for Lieberman candidate, and all challenges to his signatures have been dropped, we are going to need the Democratic leadership in the Senate to strip him of his committee assignments. As exit polls showed, the remaining Democrats and Independents who are supporting Lieberman are doing so because of his "experience." Stripping him of his committee seats would end that, and deal a crippling blow to his campaign without costing the DSCC a single dime. That would be a perfectly justifiable move because he is running against the Democratic nominee, because he is trashing every Democratic from here to kingdom come in so doing, and because we have precedent. Specifically, Frank Lautenberg did not regain his seniority when he re-entered the Senate in 2002. Considering that, why should Lieberman be given special treatment for leaving the Democratic Party and then actively trying to undermine it? Actions have consequences, and the price for ignoring the will of Democratic voters, and then trashing the Democratic Party for your own benefit while simultaneously feeding at the Democratic Party seniority trough must be made clear. If Lieberman wants to run on his own, then he should be forced to get seniority on his own. Party seniority is earned through consistently receiving the endorsement of the will of Democratic voters, and Joe Lieberman has lost that. The second Lieberman is certified as the Connecticut for Lieberman candidate, it is time that he is only allowed Connecticut for Lieberman seniority.

You better believe there will be more on this later.

Tags: CT-Sen, Democrats, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, Party Democracy, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

54 Comments

Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

This would be a gutsy move by the leadership...and I have some doubts as to whether Ried would ever do anything like this.  Also, this could potentially alienate moderates or independents who might otherwise plan on voting Democrat in the fall.

However, I do believe Lieberman's recent statements justify the party leadership from taking this sort of action.  

by NathanielB 2006-08-15 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Also, this could potentially alienate moderates or independents who might otherwise plan on voting Democrat in the fall.

Chris correctly pointed out that Lieberman does the most damage attacking and undermining the party as a ranking Democrat -- and not just in CT, but nationwide as well.

The message needs to be sent loud and clear, "THIS MAN DOES NOT REPRESENT US."

by Sitkah 2006-08-15 09:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

The Hill piece is clearly talking about the possibility of Lieberman losing seniority in the 110th if he wins in November. (Graf #2 is clear on that; and the quote at the end from Reid's mouthpiece ditto.)

I think that, under the Senate rules, any changes in committee assignments have to be approved by the Senate as a body (not just the Dem caucus). And I can't see that happening somehow!

by skeptic06 2006-08-16 02:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

If Reid wants to lead, he should lead.

The first step is to kick Lieberman in the throat. The next step is to tell the Nelson sisters they could be next if they campaign like Al From says. Finally, he should remind Max Baucus that the local bloggers are ready to force his jaw over the curb and kick him in the back of the neck.

by Bob Brigham 2006-08-15 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Great. Sexism and references to violent techniques used by racist thugs. Are you really a Democrat, or just someone trying to make MyDD look bad?

by KCinDC 2006-08-15 09:06PM | 0 recs
blogswarm off his meds

Bob is a committed Democrat but sometimes he loses his sense of appropriateness. That comment disgusted me and I agree with you that it was counterproductive.

by Curt Matlock 2006-08-16 04:22AM | 0 recs
Re: blogswarm off his meds

Comment probably didnt merit a troll rating.  Maybe a 1, but a 0?

by Winston Smith 2006-08-16 04:42AM | 0 recs
Troll Rating Justification

He's not a troll so my choices were a 2 or a 0. It already had been rated a 0 and two 3's. Given the violent threats I thought the zero quite appropriate. The "jaw over a curb" comment recalled a scene from the movie "American History X" in which the racist played by Edward Norton kills a black man by stomping his head into a curb.

ZERO!

by Curt Matlock 2006-08-16 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: blogswarm off his meds

I shouldn't have accused him of not being a Democrat, but I really think we should leave that sort of violent and sexist rhetoric to the Republicans. We're better than that.

by KCinDC 2006-08-16 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I like your style, blogswarm.

by Sitkah 2006-08-15 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

only I can think of a better place to kick him. Oh, and I'm just kidding.

by misscee 2006-08-16 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Lieberscum doesn't have anything there.

by Sitkah 2006-08-16 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

It is time to call a spade a spade.  If Lieberman truly is a principled Democrat as he purports to be, then he will remain a Democrat even if stripped of all leadership positions.  If instead such an act would cause him to switch parties, then he would be revealed as the opportunist he so clearly seems to be.  This needs to be done immediately, to avoid prolonging this sideshow.  It may also move some votes into Lamont's column, since many people may have voted for Joe out of a sense that he would be more valuable to CT because of his seniority, and not necessarily because they agreed with Lieberman's politics.  

by rfahey22 2006-08-15 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I agree with this sentiment, but we need a lot of the blogosphere to be on board so that we hit this point together. I'm hoping to hear Kos put out a call.

by Go Vegetarian 2006-08-15 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I'm hoping to hear Kos put out a call.

You mean you hope Kos will follow Chris's lead.

by Sitkah 2006-08-15 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Of course.  I'm not saying that we all wait for Kos, I'm just saying that the more people who are on board, the better.

by Go Vegetarian 2006-08-16 04:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority
Markos is on vacation.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-15 09:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

OK...when he gets back.

by Sitkah 2006-08-15 10:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Markos himself would say not to wait for him -- he's not The Leader, but just one voice among many.

by Adam B 2006-08-16 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

This discussion is crazy.  The minute Lieberman filed to run for office on another party ticket, he de facto lost membership in the Democratic Party.  He not only has no seniority, he has no membership.  He cannot belong to two parties at the same time.  Why can't anyone acknowledge this?

by Linda R 2006-08-15 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Precedent not clear cut.

I believe that Jeffords retained his seniority for assignments when he switched from Republican to Indpendent but caucused with the Democrats.

Some of the language in this thread, e.g., talking about "the Nelson sisters" is naive to the point of making me wonder whether some folks could handle the politics of a three-person lemonade stand.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-15 09:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Will probably be moot.

Besides, be optimistic and have the courage of DeLay's convictions...Lieberman is going to lose.  It looks like he'll get a truckfull of GOP money but that will make it even easier to paint him as a Republican tool.   Given his stance on Iraq, Lamont should be able to capture at least 75 percent of the Democratic vote--there will undoubtedly be some Lieberman loyalists that stick with him--and at least 60 percent of the independent vote.  Lieberman should be toast.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-15 09:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Will probably be moot.

Yes, but the Connecticut Dem machine that previously campaigned for Lieberman will now be doing its best for Lamont and lots of Dems that voted for Lieberman out of loyalty to a long-term incumbent and inertia will flip to Lamont.   And some long-time Lieberman supporters will see how much of Lieberman's support is dependent upon the GOP.  I will be surprised if Lieberman's numbers don't decline signficantly in a month.  Certainly with Schleinger at 6 percent, there's not a lot more places for him to get votes from.   I think the 46 percent is a ceiling.   That's a loss in a two-man race last time I looked.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-16 10:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Precedent not clear cut.

So long as Democrats are allowed to get away with being Republicans, some will be.

What's naive is thinking that giving such "Democrats" as the "Nelson sisters" control of the Congress will result in anything different from what has been for the past 12 years.

by Sitkah 2006-08-15 09:38PM | 0 recs
"Nelson sisters"?

Can someone explain how it is acceptable to use "sister" as an insult? What century is this?

by KCinDC 2006-08-16 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: "Nelson sisters"?

It isn't acceptable.  Frankly, if I see more of that here, I'll just go back to kos and FDL.  I have plenty of stops on my daily netcruise.

by Linda R 2006-08-16 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Precedent not clear cut.
Jeffords maintaining his seniority was the price we had to pay for taking control of the Senate for two years. Not a pretty price, but it was a straightforward deal, and it was worth it. Ask any Democrat in the country and s/he will agree.

For Lieberman, teh situation is the opposite. Allowing him to keep his positions is extremely determinental the the party's chances of retaking botht eHouse and the Senate.

Lieberman's seniority belongs to Democrats. He should not be allowed to leave the party, damage the party severely, and still take it with him.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-15 09:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Precedent not clear cut.

perhaps a better argument is that if the Republicans want to grant him seniority, there's nothing stopping them.  It is in fact, exactly what the Democrats did for Jeffords.

but then, at that point, he may as well have an (R) after his name.

by wrog 2006-08-15 10:03PM | 0 recs
exactly. . .
the wrong thing to do. with all due respect to you, needless to say. reasonable people can differ on these things. lieberman's entire playbook since his defeat is to run against a vast, computer-assisted leftist conspiracy. if he can't paint the party as a whole with the same brush, then he gets all the democrats who hate the democratic party as well. that may sound silly on its face, but there seem to be a lot of them, particularly in the media, of late. worth mentioning is his campaign's willingness to bandy the heavily loaded and dangerous charge of anti-semitism. apparently, in this context, anti-semitism means not giving joe what joe wants. or disagreeing with him. or looking at him funny maybe. as a teacher, i've discovered that the best way to win an argument with a highly self-involved tween is to leave them alone in the ring, punching at shadows. i suggest we give joe the same treatment. then he'll be left to run against ned, who by the grace of good will wipe the floor with him. again. that's the contest lieberman doesn't want. he's spoiling for a fight with the party and the bloggers.
by Emory Walker 2006-08-15 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: exactly. . .

I disagree strongly with this.  Joe Lieberman has attacked the entire Democratic Party, and for that there must be consequences.  It would be ludicrous if, after all of his attacks, we were to allow him to resume a senior leadership position should he be successful in November.  Changing your analogy a bit, it would be as if the petulant and vengeful student you disciplined had the opportunity to be appointed as your school's principal.  Would you passively sit back and merely hope that that didn't happen, or try to convince people that that would be a bad idea?  What would allowing Joe to resume his leadershp positions say about our integrity as a party?  What would it say to the Democratic voters in CT?  And I don't think that this is a losing campaign proposition.  Joe has been campaigning against bloggers, yes, but he has also been campaigning as a faux-Democrat - it was only 2 weeks ago that he delivered stump speeches with Bill Clinton, Max Cleland and others.  Well, it's time to show the world what the Democratic Party officially thinks of his stunt.  If he wants to campaign as a Republican, then let him - last time I checked, Bush was pretty unpopular in CT.  There is no reason to fear Joe Lieberman; rather, he should fear us.          

by rfahey22 2006-08-15 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Thank you for the breath of fresh air.

I just got through reading an article in the NYT in which "some Democrats" at a Hillary fundraiser thought Lieberman had a better than 50-50 shot at winning.  First of all, how many of us thought Lamont would soar to a big lead in a three-way right off the bat?  Second, if Rasmussen's numbers are reliable (and that's doubtful), Lieberman's five-point lead is a huge decline from the 23-point lead he held over Lamont in the Quinnipac poll, and that's when they had Ned with a surreal 12-point lead amongst Democrats.

by wilder 2006-08-15 08:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority
Article 1, Section 3 of the Charter of the Democratic Party, states the Democratic Party of the United States of America shall "Assist State and local Democratic Party organizations in the election of their candidates...". Section 6 of the same article states the Democratic Party's mission is to "Work with Democratic Party officials at all levels to achieve the objectives of the Democratic Party;" (see above). LeiberChimp's candidacy, as an Independent, by very definition, is against the charter of the Democratic Party, as it is not assist the State Democratic Party of Connecticut to elect is duly nominated candidate, Ned Lamont. Screw waiting until and if LeiberBush is elected, he needs to be shunned by the Senate Democratic Caucus on the first day back after recess.
by VeniceDave 2006-08-15 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Of course. I didn't even need to know the "chapter and verse" of it to realize this. Not only is Joe now outside the Democratic Party. Quite frankly -- Joe is totally nuts.

by blues 2006-08-15 10:57PM | 0 recs
Hmm...

Couldn't the republicans put him in their slots if they wanted too?

by delmoi 2006-08-15 11:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

The letter I emailed Reid the night after the primary:

Since Joe Lieberman has lost the Democratic Primary and has announced his Independent run against the properly-elected Democratic candidate, he should no longer get the perks of a Democratic Senator.

You should strip him of his committee seats, top of business, Wednesday morning.  Let him go to the Republicans if he wants a committee seat.  There are plenty of loyal Democratic Senators that would be happy to fill the seats that Lieberman had.

Look.  Many of you in the party were loyal to Lieberman, above and beyond the call of duty, and he promised not to do this, to stab the party in the back and run against the Democrat in the general election.  With all that support, he STILL lost, and it's his own darn fault.  

Loyalty to the party and to the man that the people elected to represent them in the general election would require that you take a stand on this.  You can't pretend to be on Lieberman's side or to be neutral in this.  Lamont is the candidate of the Democratic Party.  You have a fiduciary responsibility to all of us to make Lieberman pay a price for this.

by Dumbo 2006-08-16 12:22AM | 0 recs
About that Lautenberg Precedent

Interesting. WaPo political editor John Harris said this last week in his online chat:

Good morning. LOTS of Lieberman-Lamont questions today, and I am open for business. As we chat, I am on the phone with Shailagh Murray, who covers Congress for us and is up in Connecticut with Dan Balz covering this race. She says she believes--though she did not sound 100 percent sure, I must confess--this would be up to the Democratic caucus--whether to accord Lieberman his old seniority. Sen. Lautenberg, who returned to the Senate after an absence, was allowed to keep his cumulative seniority rather than starting from scratch.

I assumed he was correct on that. But with a little research I see that he did indeed have the facts wrong on Lautenberg.

by w0551 2006-08-16 12:28AM | 0 recs
Reid's plans

What I remember reading a couple of days after the primary (sorry, can't find link) is that Reid isn't going to bother stripping any assignments from Lieberman, since there's only five working days for the Senate between now and the November elections and it won't have much practical impact. Reid knew Lieberman would run to the right, but he isn't going to make any more waves than necessary until they find out who the winner is come November.

by dwbh 2006-08-16 04:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Good cop/Bad cop.

I like it. The blogs call for punishing Joe for his apostasy, and the Democratic Senate Caucus can play "Good Cop" with his campaign and get him to tone down his rhetoric.

I have go back and forth over whether we should force Joe into the GOP camp once and for all, and kill his candidacy, or whether we should soft-pedal a little bit to make sure that in the event he does win, that he doesn't swing the Senate over to the GOP.

I think this is the correct tactic.

I think Joe needs to hear from the only people he cares about: Washington Pols.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-16 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Let me get this straight:  you trust Joementum not to happily leap into the other camp if he'll swing the senate to the Republicans?

[Obnoxious tooth fairy reference deleted]

by Go Vegetarian 2006-08-16 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I trust Joe less than I trusted Zell Miller -- who DIDN'T. Even though Tom Dachle kicked him out of the caucus.

But, still. This is the only reasonable tactic they have.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-16 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

P.S.

Carper's the one in that Hill story I am most pissed off at, BTW. What the hell is he doing? At least Pryor and Salazar are from red states.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-16 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

By the way,

It would be ironic if Joe jumped to the GOP if the Democrats took punitive action against him re: Committee assignments, etc. when even Zell Miller didn't go over to the GOP, officially, and vote for Trent Lott or Bill Frist.

It would only prove that Joe' is totally unprincipled.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-16 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I'm wondering why, exactly, Lieberman can't win as an Independent and switch back to Democrat once in office (assuming, of course, he'd still be so inclined). Ben Campbell did it (D-to-R). Jim Jeffords did it (R-to-I).

by scola 2006-08-16 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I think he could. The question is whether he would, now that he's fully embraced Cheneyism. Lieberman seems determined to show that all of the claims that he's really a Republican are right.

Also, if he left the party and came back, I'm not sure his seniority would be preserved. He might have to start from zero again, like people who leave Congress and come back.

by KCinDC 2006-08-16 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I don't understand why the party doesn't sit Joe down and say that if he runs against a democrat in CT he is out of the party... end of story.

How can they allow someone to be a democrat and try to defeat another democrat?

Once he is removed from the party, all the seniority issues are moot.

He must be tossed from the party and it must be now, since he has announced he is running against his own party.

by DefJef 2006-08-16 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Joe may be hearing voices. If he believes his permission to run comes from a god-like voice in his head, he has major problems. This would explain his attraction to Bush. It sounds like his wife is promoting his fantasy instead of bringing him back to reality, like sensible spouses do. It is time for reality, for intervention by all those Dem leaders who say Lieberman is a friend.

by mrobinsong 2006-08-16 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

I dislike Lieberman.  However the wizards who dreamed up the 'Dump Lieberman' project appear not to have thought it completely through and considered all the risks, which is precisely what happened to Titanic.  So what is a wounded Liberman going to be like if he wins?  Anybody in blogland ever give that any consideration?

We have bigger fish to fry this year than an intra-party war.  This project is spiralling into a costly distraction from replacing Republicans (the only way to end the war) in Congress and with his rhetoric, completely counterproductive, IMHO.  

Markos Zunigas is a lightweight and his grand strategies are absurd.  Time to get into reality based politics.

Sorry to disagree, just sayin'.

by NorCalJim 2006-08-16 06:50AM | 0 recs
The mask is off

I'd say Lieberman is clearly demonstrating why challenging him was the right idea. I thought some of the accusations against him were a little exaggerated, but now he's showing that those calling him a Republican were right. His rhetoric is indistinguishable from Cheney's.

by KCinDC 2006-08-16 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

However the wizards who dreamed up the 'Dump Lieberman' project appear not to have thought it completely through and considered all the risks

The flunkies who oppose the Dump Lieberscum movement appear to not care if Democrats govern like Republicans so long as they win an election.

I think everyone expected him behave just as he is, considering he's been a Zellocrat for many years already. And what he's doing has it's upside because it's exposed at least 3 more Dem senators -- Pryor, Salazar, and Carper -- who need to be next in line for the Lieberscum treatment.

Whatever the price to get these people out of the People's party is worth it.

by Sitkah 2006-08-16 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Does Joe deserve some punishment? Yes. I'm disgusted with his sanctimonious lectures. And I'm deeply disappointed with the Dems who campaigned for him without first extracting a promise that he'd honor the primary results.

But there are a lot of folks who failed to learn the lesson of Jim Jeffords. Alienated and shut out by his party, he bolted to caucus with the Democrats.

The Dems are going to pick up Senate seats, but taking the chamber is on the fringes of possibility. The Democratic leadership wants to exercise policy-making power, and they're not going to do that by basically handing to the Republicans a seat that they could never win on their own at the ballot box.

I know we're all pretty intense this cycle, but this isn't bloodsport.

by DaddyDemocrat 2006-08-16 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Democrats like Lieberscum are a cancer on the Democratic Party. Whatever it takes to get rid of them is worth it.

PS....Just found out that Landrieu and Ben Nelson have traded in their Democratic Party memberships and are officially in the Corruption for Lieberman camp. They should all be stripped of their seniority if being a Senate Democrat is to mean anything more than window dressing.

by Sitkah 2006-08-16 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

You know, one of the weaknesses and precursors of downfall in the Republican party is the almost Maoist demand for ideological purity.   It would be ironic if the Democrats followed the same path.  We're better than them; we need to act like it.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-16 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Gimme a break. What reformers want is a Democratic Party which lives up to its own platform, rhetoric, and stated principles.

I'm not sure what other people want except for hollow victories from a Democratic party which too often is indistiguishable from the GOP.

by Sitkah 2006-08-16 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Strip Lieberman of His Seniority

Don't expect any profiles in courage from this crowd until Joe's poll numbers start to fall, in which case he will withdraw by himself.  Our Democratic leaders are only as courageous as the latest Q-poll.

by Bob H 2006-08-16 01:51PM | 0 recs

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