The Lieberman Question
by Josh Orton, Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:25:45 PM EST
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.