Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Whether it be his third-party re-election in 2006 or the recent vote to keep him on as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Joe Lieberman keeps managing to escape any accountability for trashing Democrats, pursuing policies that have made the US less safe and just being an all-around bad Senator. So the question is, will he ever be held accountable?

The ultimate goal for those of us who want him punished, of course, is defeating him in 2012, and hey, it's never too early to start. FireDogLake has already launched a Defeat Joe Lieberman pledge to start building the online army.

Certainly, Connecticut seems ready and willing to give Joe the boot in 4 years, especially after his dishonorable mission to take down Barack Obama this year. Markos has the latest Research 2000 poll results:

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Lieberman is doing as U.S. senator?

Approve 36 (45)
Disapprove 61 (43)

If the 2012 election for U.S. Senate were held today would you to reelect Joe Lieberman would you consider voting for another candidate or would you vote to replace Lieberman?

Reelect 35
Consider Someone Else 18
Replace 48

And talk about buyer's remorse:

If you could vote again for U.S. Senate would you vote for Ned Lamont theDemocrat Alan Schlesinger the Republican or Joe Lieberman an Independent?

Lieberman (I) 34 (36)
Lamont (D) 59 (51)
Schlesinger (R) 3 (7)

But all that is four years from now. What can be done more immediately? For one, my hope is that Barack Obama manages to leverage his own advocacy for Lieberman into unyielding support from Joe for Obama's agenda. If he were to re-convene a Gang of 14-like group of Senate "moderates," Lieberman could conceivably lead a swing coalition in the Senate that would have the potential to determine the fate of many a cloture vote; I'd like to think Obama secured Lieberman's assurance that he would wield that power to help advance Obama's agenda and do his best to remove any obstruction from moderate Dems and Republicans.

But on a more punitive level, we may have to settle for a censure by Connecticut Democrats as they've indicated they may do next month.

Two members of Connecticut's Democratic state central committee, Audrey Blondin and Myrna Watanabe, said they'll still ask Connecticut's top Democrats to consider a resolution repudiating Lieberman for publicly backing McCain. It also would ask him to resign from the party.

"Ultimately, there were no consequences to his actions," Blondin said.

A meeting of state Democrats is scheduled for Dec. 17. [...]

The resolution circulated by Watanabe and Blondin says Lieberman's actions exhibited "extraordinary disloyalty to countless Connecticut Democrats without whom his career as an elected official would never have been possible."

It calls on the 72-member state central committee to "publicly censure and repudiate the words and actions" of Lieberman and asks him to leave the party.

Tags: Barack Obama, Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, Senate (all tags)



Is he even running for re-election?

he'll be 70 by election day 2012. I think the trick is to get him not to run for re-election. That way, if Obama isn't popular in 2012, we don't risk another Lieberman win. If Obama is popular, I think Lamont would take him out.

If Lieberman stops cloture, then I say kick him out of the party. He has one chance to redeem himself. If he warrants by actions other than 2008 expulsion from the party, then we can run against him and win.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-20 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Short answer -- No

by antiHyde 2008-11-20 01:08PM | 0 recs
wait until 2010, if we gain Senate seats

then its time for him to go. With a new President coming in, he'll need all the help he can get.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-20 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Part of a long answer that ends in a NO:

The Senate gave a standing O to a 7-time recently convicted felon who would have been expelled from the Senate on Tuesday had he not lost his reelection. The Senate is a dysfunctional morality-bending family that will not turn on its long term members regardless of a Senator's indiscretions (unless, of course, you try to have gay sex in a public restroom).

by magster 2008-11-20 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

That's a bit too simplistic.  Read what Chris Cilizza has written about Stevens for the Washington Post and their Fix political blog.  A lot has to do with longtime friendships.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-20 10:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

The CT resolution is ridiculous.  Joe Lieberman is NOT A DEMOCRAT, though he caucuses with them in the Senate. Same as Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Asking him to "resign" or "leave" the party is a foolish notion when the party voters already rejected him in 2006. He chose then to LEAVE THE PARTY to run as a "CT for Lieberman" Independent.

I applaud the sentiment behind it, and I would support a "censure."  But, to ask him to "resign" procedes from a false assumption.

by AmericanJedi 2008-11-20 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Well, he IS still registered in CT as a Democrat.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-20 10:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

I was hoping Lieberman would lose his chairmanship, but I disagree that committee chairmanships are the place to punish wayward Democrats. The appropriate way would be to withhold DSCC funds or surrogates, though of course it's too late for that.

Lieberman will pay the price when he tries to form consensuses in his committee and on the floor. What first-term Democrat is going to follow Lieberman in an unpopular direction? And for the senior generation, it's looking harder and harder to come to Joe's defense.

It's funny that I was just watching season one of The Sopranos. Tony just threw his support publicly to Uncle Junior, but below the surface, he took more power for himself and shoved his uncle to the side. I have to think that Obama's support came with a price for Joe to pay-- and his power may be fading as fast as his relevance.

I took a quick look at what the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs actually does (http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm ?Fuseaction=About.Jurisdiction) and it became clear to me that Henry Waxman's ascendancy is far bigger than Lieberman's stagnancy.

I anticipate a major shift in the organization of the Dept of Homeland Security. The Senate Committee's jurisdiction over DHS is already limited (e.g. it has no jurisdiction over the Coast Guard, TSA, Secret Service, INS and Border Patrol) and I'll bet FEMA is removed from DHS in the next year or two.

On the Government Affairs side, it's Carl Levin's subcommittee that gets to conduct investigations (you know, what Waxman used to do on the House side).

So my guess is that in lieu of a punishment for Mr. Lieberman's Uncle Junior moments, Obama and the Democrats will just shrink his little territory and let him fade into obscurity until he retires.

by davefordemocracy 2008-11-20 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

I learned in psychology that in order for a punishment to be effective, it has to come quickly after the offending behavior.  Waiting four years and withholding DSCC support in 2012 may be necessary, but not sufficient.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-20 10:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

joe is still stuck being joe. He's very high on himself, and moralistic, that's why he left his first wife, she wasn't good enough for lofty him. He'll get to keep his ill-gotten gains, but he'll still have to be himself, and I while I can imagine many I'm glad I'm not, he's on that list.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Something that roils me is labelling as revenge the desire to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship. Yea, well, I guess sixty-plus million people decided to take revenge on 4 November when they voted against the current party in power in the White House. They're called ELECTIONS and, as Barbara Boxer so succinctly put it, elections have consequences. And that's what we have here with Lieberman. I don't like his policies, the people with whom he associates and their policies, etc. He can't be trusted, and the only person he represents is himself. So why can't I just simply say I want him voted out without the revenge label?  

by Bob Miller 2008-11-20 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Does Connecticut have a recall process for Senators?

by solar 2008-11-20 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

No, and there shouldnt be. It is not Lieberman's fault that some entrenched establishment figures in the party at the local and national level were not happy to see Lamont challenge lieberman.

Now this issue is bigger than Lieberman itself. This issue coupled with Waxman's victory in the House just highlights how stale Senate DEmocrats are. Many of them care more about their little club with outdated seniority rules than the country itself.

I tried to call bluff on the bailout and how the DEmocrats were abdicating responsibility. Now the DEmocrats are expressing outrage over how there is no real plan yet? Well, the DEmocrats have no excuse. They should have known Bush's track record.

Face it. Even if the DEmocrats are not as bad as the Republicans, they are in need of serious reform.

by Pravin 2008-11-20 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Barack Obama continues to show the world that he looks at situations from a different perspective than anyone else in politics.  Most Dems want Lieberman to pay a price for what really were horribly disgusting transgressions.  Instead of being vindictive like normal people, Obama would rather gather up a whole stable of people that owe him a huge favor.  It's just one more building block in the plan to actually get things done instead of play partisan politics.

by NJIndependent 2008-11-20 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Please. Obama hired a hardcore guy like Rahm Emanuel. Obama's campaign staff was the most disciplined dont take prisoners campaign staff since Bill Clinton's in 1992. The senate thing is a whole differnt creature. Obama and other Senators, for some reason, just have this weird deference to a creature like Lieberman. It is not a new thing. We have seen this happen since 2005.

by Pravin 2008-11-20 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

It's simple. Do not donate a single dollar to any of the democrats who voted for Lieberman. It is that simple.

Let's give Harry Reid a run for his money.

Put Lieberman on the spot and ask him again to clarify the 60 vote thing he said he did not want to see happen.

Put Lieberman on the spot and ask him to endorse Jim Martin over Saxby.

Put Lieberman on the spot and ask him if he is bipartisan why hasn't he endorsed a SINGLE DEmocratic PArty senator in the last 2 years?

by Pravin 2008-11-20 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Problem 1: we don't know who voted for Lieberman, unless they voluntarily tell us.  Dodd and Salazar are up in 2010.  So is Pat Leahy.  I'm not too interested in running more progressive candidates in primaries against Dodd, Reid, or Salazar; nor am I interested in losing their seats to Republicans.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-20 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

You dont have to run eople against Dodd. We can just choose to stop donating, if we ever did in the past. It's pretty much, well we wont bother to hurt you, but we won't bother to help you either.

by Pravin 2008-11-21 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

So out of the 42 senators who voted for Lieberman, we'll stop donating to three of them and continue helping the other 39??  That doesn't make much sense.  Are you willing to let us lose Senate seats in CO and NV because Salazar and Reid backed Lieberman--while being better Democrats than him?

Your proposal also includes a perverse incentive for secrecy.  Of the 42 senators who voted for Lieberman, you'd punish the three who made their votes public, while letting go the 39 who lacked the courage of their convictions and kept it secret.

And, out of 58 Democratic senators, you're only going to be willing to give to 13 of them?

That plan just isn't well thought out and would not work.

by Sandwich Repairman 2008-11-22 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Why don't these Conn. Democrats recall the dude? Is there some legal reason is can't be done there?

by Retired Catholic 2008-11-21 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Will Lieberman Ever Pay A Price?

Because 33% of them were stupid enough to vote for him in the General Election. They are stuck with him and as much as I despise Lieberman and I think Harry Reid referring to him as a Democrat is crossing the line, Lieberman is a legitimate senator from the state of CT. He is just lost the right to be called a Democrat.

by Pravin 2008-11-21 09:47AM | 0 recs


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