Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

As Todd noted a little earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is meeting today with Joe Lieberman, presumably to talk about the Connecticut Senator's future in the Democratic caucus. Politico reports further that Reid was likely to offer Lieberman a subcommittee chairmanship in lieu of the chairmanship of the Senate's oversight panel. The most amazing, though by no means shocking, development related to this meeting is the extent to which the establishment media is crowing about withholding punishment for Lieberman. Take a look at First Read this morning, for example.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have a closed meeting with Sen. Joe Lieberman sometime today, NBC's Ken Strickland reports. While both offices have refused to discuss details of the meeting, the men are expected to discuss Lieberman's fate as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and possibly his status within the Democratic caucus -- after Lieberman vigorously campaigned for McCain and against Obama. At one time, Reid still seemed to reluctantly stand by Lieberman, arguing that every vote was significant and that punishing Lieberman could force him to switch to the Republican Party. But as the election progressed with estimates showing that Democrats might pick up several more seats -- as they did -- Reid's talk of support changed to talk of post-election reevaluation. Strickland says this meeting is a step in that process. The thing for reporters to ask today: Does Obama have an opinion on this? Should Obama have a say in Lieberman's fate? After all, it was Obama whom Lieberman campaigned against the hardest, not the Democratic Party as a whole. Lieberman wasn't out there campaigning for Republican senators to win re-election. Will Obama urge his soon-to-be former Senate colleagues to not punish Lieberman?[emphasis added]

What Chuck Todd, et. al, write is just facially untrue. While Lieberman did contribute over $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in August, buying him some good will with the Democratic caucus, other actions he undertook during the campaign -- and not just those on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain -- indicated that he was throwing his lot in with the GOP caucus.

Back in May 2007, for instance, Lieberman raised money for Susan Collins, the Republican Senator up for reelection in Maine. While the matchup between Collins and Democratic Congressman Tom Allen did not end up tightening by the end of the campaign, at that point in the election, the race was at least potentially competitive, so Lieberman's support for Collins did decrease the Democrats' ability to pick up a seat in a reliably blue state.

Beyond that, just the day before the election Lieberman was heard ruing the possibility of a 60-seat Democratic majority in the Senate. Specifically, Lieberman told ultra right wing talker Glenn Beck that he "fear[ed]" that in many ways America will not survive in the event of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority. While I wouldn't say that this was the cause for the Democrats not quite reaching 60 (there's still a chance they will, but the odds are narrow at this point), it certainly did not help the cause to have a Senator nominally part of the Democratic caucus making the case for reelecting Republican incumbents.

So taken as a whole, Reid clearly would not be going out on a limb to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship -- or even to give him the final nudge out of the Democratic caucus.

Update [2008-11-6 14:29:39 by Jonathan Singer]: Here's the statement from Reid:

“Today Senator Lieberman and I had the first of what I expect to be several conversations. No decisions have been made. While I understand that Senator Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus. I expect there to be additional discussions in the days to come, and Senator Lieberman and I will speak to our caucus in two weeks to discuss further steps.”

Tags: Joe Lieberman (all tags)



Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

"America will not survive in the event of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority" should be enough for Reid.  The "not survive" part is way too over the top.

by Do Something 2008-11-06 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Harry Reid is a freaking wimp. Kick the bastard to the curb. What else proof does he need that Joe Lieberman is slime? The guy has openly said it is dangerous for the Democrats to have 60 seats. If his past actions weren't bad enough, WHAT EXCUSE does Reid need to kick him out now?

by Pravin 2008-11-06 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Joe Lieberman is a walking facial untruth machine.

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

This might be a good time for Senator Dodd to make his move to replace Harry Reid.

by nanorich 2008-11-06 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Is Dodd more likely to lay the smack down on his compatriot from Connecticut?  Offhand he'd seem less likely.

by Steve M 2008-11-06 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team


maybe offhand, one shouldn't assume that Lieberman and Dodd have that much of cordial relationship.

Dodd supported Lamont after the primary...and Lieberman never forgave him.

by nanorich 2008-11-06 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

He also wrote an op/ed for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune supporting Norm Coleman over Al Franken. I don't know how it resonated, but look how close that vote is. And it's worth mentioning that Franken used to host/perform at fundraisers for Lieberman. Nothing earns Holy Joe's hatred like the notion that he owes you something. Just ask the Clintons and Obama.

by BlueinColorado 2008-11-06 09:54AM | 0 recs

That op/ed did not go over well here in Minnesota.

Leave him out to dry, I'd say.  He made the stupidest move he possibly could this year and bet against Barack Obama.  He deserves what he gets, and Obama shouldn't even have to say anything.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Lieberman burned his bridges and he should not just be welcomed back without consequence.  

There are too many loyal Democrats who deserve to have committee assignments.   If the GOP wants to give Lieberman seniority over their own members, let them. That won't sit well with the GOP base.

Joe is going to be a very lonely man over the next 4 years.

by gavoter 2008-11-06 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Exactly, look at how Joe was treated when McCain was considering him for VP. The Republicans only want him in a role where he can embarass the Dems.  But they do not want him in a position of power in their own party. THE GUY HAS NO OPTIONS. What the hell is Reid doing acting like Lieberman deserves deference? Lieberman has constantly demonized Democrats over ONE SINGLE ISSUE. Yet we are supposed to forgive him over this one issue AND his other utterances?

by Pravin 2008-11-06 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

What happens if we get MN, AK, and GA?  Then with Sanders we have 59, leaving Joe back in the driver's seat for a filibuster-proof senate.  Of course, no telling how he would vote on any given move to cloture, but still it's a bit troubling, no?

by tegrat 2008-11-06 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

The guy has openly said he is against dems having filibuster proof majority. What more do you want?

by Pravin 2008-11-06 10:27AM | 0 recs
And . . . Reid opts for a sternly worded letter

How surprising.

by milton333 2008-11-06 10:17AM | 0 recs
How do we put pressure on Reid?

Would Hillary tolerate this crap from Lieberman where he is constantly demonizing the party he is caucusing with? Can anyone name the last time Lieberman has bashed the Republican party? Seriously. I do not mean a "disagreement" he voiced. I want you to cite areas where Lieberman disagreed with the Republicans using similar language he has used to bash Democrats in the last few years. Just one. (Anything he said during his reelection campaign doesnt count).

by Pravin 2008-11-06 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe the Team Player -- For the Wrong Team

Harry Reid is a poor spokesperson for the Democratic Senate Majority.  Those whom I speak to find him to be arrogant and whiny.  He's at it again with pussyfooting around with Joe Lieberman.  Let's bring on Hilary Clinton and get some true leadership.

by bentlife 2008-11-06 03:07PM | 0 recs


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