The Lieberman Question

I'm with Markos:

To be extra clear, here's the question Obama or his team needs to answer:

    Are you ok with Lieberman retaining his chairmanship in the Homeland & Government Affairs committee?

If Obama is "sending signals" to other Senators on this issue, and if he really plans on running the most open administration in history, then he needs to quit with the covert messages. Say so openly. He's either FOR Lieberman keeping that committee, or he's against it, or he doesn't care. But he needs to speak up or let the Senate handle the matter on its own.

We already know from reports that Reid wants Lieberman to step down from his chairmanship of Homeland Security. We know Lieberman is bluffing about leaving the caucus, and wants to pretend everything is peaches. And we know Obama's sending signals to Dem Senators that he wants Joe to stay in the caucus (as if that's really the issue).

Sargent lays out the problem with this uncertainty:

The Lieberman camp has worked very hard to muddy the waters here. Lieberman aides have tried to persuade people that a vote to oust him from the committee is indistinguishable from a vote to oust him from the Dem caucus overall.

Don't believe it. Reid's people have made the situation very clear: The question of whether Lieberman remains in the caucus is up to him. He can vote how he wants, no matter what happens to his committee assignments.

But Lieberman's allies are using the Obama camp's claims that he wants Lieberman to stay "in the caucus" as a way of arguing against a punitive action against him that would entail stripping him of his current committee chairmanship.

Lieberman is the Fox News of the Senate. Enable him now, and it'll just bite you in the rear later. Obama might as well recognize Joe's bad faith early and save himself the headache.

Tags: Barack Obama, Joe Lieberman (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

the situation

needs to be fixed now so that it doesnt cause problems later.

Obama has to just pick a side.

70% of the country is behind him and if he is clear that Joe abused his stance on chairing homeland security to ridicule Obama during the RNC convention, people will be OK with that decision.

Obama shouldnt step on the toes of Reid though.  

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-10 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

I agree that if Obama wants to call the shots on the Liberman Question he should be clear about what he wants and he should be clear in public.  

However, I would like to make a point regarding the possibly false allegation that Bill Clinton has been making phone calls urging that Liberman be permitted to keep his chairmanship.  All of the links are pointing to the same story on TPM.    This story is sourced only to "a high-level senate Democratic" source by Josh Marshall and there is apparently no confirmation by a second source.   On the other hand, the Huffington Post story on Obama's support for Liberman has this update: "Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo writes that Bill Clinton has also been `making calls on Sen. Lieberman's behalf,' something that the Huffington Post later heard from another Hill source.  But Matt McKenna, a spokesman for the former president, vehemently denies the report. "It's completely false, he says."  (Emphasis added). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/10 /obama-wants-lieberman-to_n_142731.html

It seems to me that if Josh Marshall is planning on running a real journalistic enterprise, he needs to either rely on named sources or else he should have more than a single anonymous source for something like this.  Also, he needs to be proven right about this or print a retraction.

Plus, I see no reason for the quote to be anonymous. Most newspapers print their rationale for granting anonymity, but there was no such explanation provided by Josh Marshall.   If blogs want to have the same credibility as the traditional media, they need to have much higher standards, especially when a spokesperson has denied the accusation.  This is the sort of crappy thing Drudge would do.  I expected better from TPM.

by Mitch Guthman 2008-11-10 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

it's not up to him, the senate should give a hoot.  There are three branches of government.  Barack gave his wish, that's all.  I don't see any reason to keep him out other than he's rat to the other side and misrepresent what goes on there and basically be a dick, but he'd probably not be the only one.

His chairmanship is a different question. he needs to be off it because he didn't do any work, or at least not oversight work.  It was just ceremonial for him, the lazy sod, and that agency needs more oversight than most. there is no way to clean up the bush mess and bring excellence into government work with a hack like Joe thumbing his nose at the grindstone and hobnobbing with the one's that need oversight.

Out with the hacks!!!

by anna shane 2008-11-10 02:46PM | 0 recs
No Lieberman

Let Lieberman join the GOP.  

Dems dont need him.

by jasmine 2008-11-10 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: No Lieberman

Seriously.  Let him try to run for reelection in Connecticut as a Republican.

It's not like he's holding ANY cards.  His ability to be "disappointed" on Meet the Press is his only threat.

by Jess81 2008-11-10 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

I was very proud when Lieberman became the first Jewish Vice Presidential candidate.   For his fervent support of McCain, traversing the nation trying to defeat the Democratic ticket, he needs to be sent on his way.   If Lieberman keeps his chairmanship, there will be more of this type of conduct by others in the future.  Intolerable.

by nytrialman 2008-11-10 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

only in the democratic party. sadly, rethugs seem to be more cohesive.

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-10 04:17PM | 0 recs
That Numbers game

I've said it before.

If Reid needs Lieberman, then he will keep his chair.  My bet is that he doesn't keep his chair but gets the bone if we get to 58 or 59 (think moderate Republican).  60 or better, no bone.  57 or less, he stays, Reid will need him.

They're gonna play footsie until AK, MN & GA get in.  Then they'll decide.  Meanwhile Obama wants to appear forgiving.  

This brings up something that is starting to trouble me about Obama.  In the effort to appear middle of the road and reaching across the aisle, I think we are seeing a subtle shift to the right, which entails not addressing some important issues that may not be household items:  FISA & Bankruptcy 'Reform' are the first things that come to mind. I think that they are beginning to be swept under the rug by 'Marquee issues' like Lieberman.  

And while I'm ranting, we used to be about two to five steps ahead of Dem mainstream regarding strategy on current and up and coming issues.  I haven't seen that lately.   A while back I stated that MyDD is like a War College where we examine and try to understand the nuance to influence the issues.  Lately, I sense we are falling behind here.  We're becomming more reactionary and not anticipatory.

by NvDem 2008-11-10 05:24PM | 0 recs
Not caring about Lieberman is not an option

"He's either FOR Lieberman keeping that committee, or he's against it, or he doesn't care."

I don't think that Obama has the option of not caring, since his administration has a seat on the Steering Committee in the person of Joe Biden. Sooner or later, Obama's position will be clear, so he may as well announce his intentions now.

by bschak 2008-11-10 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

I stopped trying to outsmart Obama some time back, but if you think you got the right stuff to do it by all means go for it.

by QTG 2008-11-11 01:21AM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

Even if he is stripped of his charimanship, is Joe likely to filibuster liberal judicial appointments, progressive legislation on energy or healthcare just to get revenge?  The people of CT would not tolerate that.

by Bob H 2008-11-11 01:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The Lieberman Question

Why does Obama have to muddy his hands over this issue?  If he jumps in to support Lieberman, he risks upsetting his left flank.  If he jumps in to oppose Lieberman, he creates more of a Martyr for the right and labels himself as being first and foremost concerned with political retribution. This is a Senate matter, it should be decided wholely by the Senate majority leadership, or by a vote of Caucus.  Rightly, it should simply be the Majority leader's decision.  Once the elections have been resolved, he needs to make a decision and that is that.

by tominstl 2008-11-11 07:03AM | 0 recs

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