Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

A big step: Leahy, chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, has come out against Lieberman keeping his gavel atop Homeland Security (via TPM):

"Every Senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should," Leahy said, in a reference to the upcoming vote on Lieberman's fate in the Dem caucus next week. "I'm one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did."

"I felt some of the attacks that he was involved in against Senator Obama...went way beyond the pale," Leahy continued. "I thought they were not fair, I thought they were not legitimate, I thought they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama."

"I would feel that had I done something similar," Leahy concluded, "that I would not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress."

Leahy nails it: in any normal world, it makes perfect sense for Lieberman to lose his chairmanship of such a powerful committee. But this is Lieberworld, where comity always comes first, and bad faith is ignored willfully.

Remember - Lieberman is chair of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee specifically because of his seniority in the Democratic party. Does it really make sense for him to continue enjoying that same seniority in the party he attacked? And atop the committee whose subject matter he used as ammunition?

And on her show last night, Rachel Maddow delivers the succinct argument for why Lieberman probably can't be trusted with subpoena power:

Tags: Joe Lieberman, Pat Leahy (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

Perhaps the easiest way to fix the
Lieberman problemn is to amend the caucus rules ---- No Senator who leaves the party and runs as an independent will retain his original seniority but instead his seniority will run from the date he rejoins the caucus.

this would move Lieberman as teh least senior member of the Democratic caucus fro the freshman Senate Class of 2006.

Lets mince words.  Joe we didn't take away your chairmanship --- you simply lacked the seniority to be the committee's chair

by kmwray 2008-11-14 10:36AM | 0 recs
No need to amend the rules


   Joe Lieberman attacked Obama, politicized national security, refused to investigate the causes of the most catastrophic failure of the federal gvmnt (Katrina), campaigned for Susan Collins, defended Norm Coleman, said that asking whether Obama was a Marxist is a fair question, said he feared for his country if Democrats were in control, and fed the flames of ridiculous rumors about Obama (terrorist connection, Muslim religion..blah blah).

  You don't need to amend the rules to take his chairmanship away. You need Harry Reid to find his balls, sew them back on, and do his job. That's all.

by southernman 2008-11-14 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: No need to amend the rules
Right on Southerman, Reid is the biggest wimp--he should have taken the gavel from Herr Liebermann on Monday when he had him in the wood shed. Is it me or is the Democratic team of Pelosi/Reid the biggest team of whimps since Neville Chamberlin gave away Central Europe to ole Adolph....
Man, she definitely needs more botox and a shot of that stuff that gave Arnold Swartenegger his biceps. Reid is clueless. Can the Dems get someone in there to take over. Didn't the Dems dump the leadership in 1975 when they ran up a huge majority in the 1974 elections....
DUMP HERR LIEBERMAN and get on down the road.
BTW:  Everyone keep reminding all those brave CIA field operatives that it was Karl Rove who put their lives at risk when he OUTED Valerie Plaime...I see Novack has terminal cancer...ummm..interesting.....he was in on the outing.....
by hddun2008 2008-11-14 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: No need to amend the rules

I think both are weak leaders.  We have a great one in waiting in the Senate, Majority Whip Dick Durbin.  There's a guy who plays ball.  Reid is worse than Tom Daschle, George Mitchell, and Mike Mansfield.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-14 10:42PM | 0 recs
Lieberman & Coleman, 2 peas in a pod

The Coleman thing particularly amuses me.  In 2002, Lieberman went to Minnesota to campaign for Paul Wellstone--AGAINST Coleman.  Suddenly, against a somewhat less progressive opponent (admittedly with a racier past), Lieberman is now FOR Coleman.  So we have Mister Integrity, Honesty, Piety, Honor, Principle, etc. campaigning against Coleman before he campaigned for him, on top of the fact that Coleman was a Democrat until 1997 (when he saw the other label was more expedient for his '98 Gov. bid) who campaigned for Wellstone in 1996!

It makes my head spin.  Perhaps Joe sees in Norm his own shameless expediency, and wishes he had Coleman's chutzpah.  Remember that Coleman chaired the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations until we took the Senate back.  A post with which he, too, ignored the many serious transgressions of BushCo.

To those who fear booting Lieberman risks our chances at 60 seats (although even Tuesday's vote doesn't do THAT; if Lieberman wants to take his little ball-y and go home, that his own choice), I point out that Lieberman himself didn't want us to get to 60.  He campaigned for Coleman and Susan Collins!  And didn't he say explicitly that it would be dangerous if we got 60 seats?  Give the baby his bottle, and shut him up.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-14 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

Props to Leahy!

by Why Not 2008-11-14 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

Finally, someone with the balls to stand up for what is right. Thank you Sen. Leahy for being the voice of reason on this one and not taking the soft Evan Bayh approach.

by Steve24 2008-11-14 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

sen leahy for AG!!!  i know he's a little old, but he'd be great.  also, gov douglas would be terrified of a backlashat the polls in 2010, so he'd probably nominate a weak dem, or an independent/liberty union/progressive to the seat.  douglas would know that the electorate would swing against him if he propped himself, dubie, rainville, or (gag) tarrant up to the senate.

by Doug Tuttle 2008-11-14 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

I think I would feel better if someone, anyone, could give me a single reason why to keep him on at all.  He's done absolutely nothing on Governmental Affairs and he needs to not be anywhere near the people in charge there.

by Jess81 2008-11-14 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

I wish you guys would stop posting that video of Rachel Maddow. LOL. Every time I see that freeze frame her hair looks exactly like mine did in the preppy '80s.

Some of it took off. I wish I could retrieve it. :)

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-14 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

Gary, you know you are right--she has that little football helmet style just like the Osmonds--I wonder if she wears those sequiened bellbottoms and listens to them...Maybe, she is actually Marie with a fake name...naw, she's not heavy enough..but I hear Marie has lost about 69 pounds since the divorce...just like they say--the fastest 69 pound weight loss my wife ever had was right after I divorced her.....

by hddun2008 2008-11-14 04:08PM | 0 recs
Gore's biggest mistake

Was picking Joe Lieberman.    If Gore would have picked Evan Bayh, he could have won Indiana and the election.

by bakho 2008-11-14 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Leahy: Take Joe's Gavel

I love the look on Maddow's face at the end.

by Nathan Empsall 2008-11-14 07:59PM | 0 recs
Enabling your abuser

This may may strike a raw nerve for some people, and I really apologize for that, but I have to say it.  In 2004 and 05, I was a lobbyist on domestic violence for a non-profit women's group.  If you're in that community, you know that there are certain traits and histories that are common among victims of domestic violence.  For example, having been abused as a child, and thus not really knowing what was right, or what you deserved, or when or how to stand up for yourself.  Abuse someone for their first 18 years, and they think that's what their life is supposed to be like.  They often have their self-importance and self-concept literally beaten out of them.  People often, idiotically, ask why the woman doesn't leave her batterer.  (The question they should ask is why men commit violence against those they love to begin with)  The answer to that question is complicated and multifaceted, but I think part of it is that the victims A) don't know any better, and B) enable it, knowingly or unknowingly (which is hardly to put them at fault).

Soon after the 2004 election, a piece circulated in the DV community that really seemed to be on the money.  It argued basically that Democrats acted like DV victims.  The Republicans hit them, but they didn't really do anything about it, so Republicans were emboldened to hit them again--with more frequency and intensity (I'm reminded of Al Franken's deconstruction in The Truth With Jokes of the 2004 campaign).  What we tend to think of as being nice or fair or decent sometimes resembled enabling the Republicans to defeat us.  Thus, until we collectively got some therapy and strength/confidence/support/certainty, the GOP would keep beating us.  If you act like a doormat, you will get walked on.

Four years later, things look very different.  I don't think Democrats look much like that anymore.  Except for Lieberman apologists.  On a practical level, even if you don't believe in punishing Lieberman for the MANY ridiculous things he's done, the reality is that as long as he gets away without paying a price for them, he will keep doing it!  Lieberman is like a bully who keeps attacking everyone else in his party, many of his "friends", and every time he sees that he can commit a transgression against us without repercussion, he is only emboldened to commit more and bigger ones!  Appeasement, like Jean Carnahan and Max Cleland voting for the war only to lose their seats anyway, does not work.  So far Holy Joe has merely had to run for reelection as a sort of independent.  He won a fourth term in 2006, he was credited with all of his Senate seniority as a Democrat, and he was allowed to chair a committee even after announcing that he'd just ignore Katrina and "let bygones be bygones"--damn those killed or sick from formaldehyde-laced FEMA trailers.  Lieberman is a bigger asshole every year, but he has yet to pay any price for it at all.  Indeed, any backlash he does face (a credible primary opponent) just feeds his martyr complex and drive for attention.  The media play jujitsu and portray Lieberman as the victim and those horrible left-wing bloggers as bullies (because it's fine for Pat Toomey to challenge Arlen Specter, but not for Ned Lamont to beat Lieberman).

Memo to Senate Democrats: IF YOU DO NOT PUNISH JOE LIEBERMAN, HE WILL KEEP ATTACKING AND UNDERMINING YOU!

What weak-ass Harry Reid has proposed is not even kicking Joe out of the caucus.  It is not even stripping him of his committee assignments (which was done to Jim Traficant and Larry Craig).  It is not discarding his 20 years of seniority as a Democrat now that his party nominated someone else and he's an independent (even though Frank Lautenberg gets no credit for his 18 years of service 1982-2000 though he was then and continues to be a real Democrat).  What the Democratic caucus is voting on Tuesday (Reid won't even do it unilaterally!) is among the mildest possible slaps on the hand they could give Traitor Joe: you can keep your caucus membership, your committee assignments, AND your 20 years of Democratic seniority.  You even get a subcommitee chairmanship as a consolation prize.  You just can't chair the Homeland Security/Government Affairs Committee anymore, a position you've done nothing with anyway.  They take that away, and it's up to Lieberman whether to stay in the caucus.  Call.  His.  Bluff.

If Senate Democrats are unwilling to do even that, they're going to be hit with a still more maniacal Lieberman in the near future, and they're going to deserve it because they knowingly enabled him.  Fifty senators will deserve it, but the whole party will suffer for it.

I hope someone leaks the names of those voting to let Joe keep his chairmanship, because they will deserve a SHITSTORM of protest.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-14 11:41PM | 0 recs

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