To state the obvious, Joe Lieberman has the Democratic Party in a bit of a bind.
Clinging to a 51/49 margin in the Senate — with Dick Cheney ready, willing and able to leave his secure location to break tie votes — Democratic control of the body hangs by a microscopically thin thread — a fact Lieberman has been using to his advantage while repeatedly and joyously rubbing the Democrats’ faces in it.
Notwithstanding his repeated promises to the people of Connecticut (who now widely hate his guts, by the way) during his reelection campaign to continue to caucus as a Democrat, he quickly changed his spots (do snakes have spots?) as soon as the election was over. Since then he has repeatedly hinted at a willingness to consider going over to the GOP if his demands aren’t met.
Extortion is an ugly thing, isn’t it?
But the thing about extortion is that it works only for as long as the victim allows it to continue: and it’s time for Senate Democrats to “just say no” to Joe.
Actually, it isn’t even clear that Lieberman formally jumping (or being pushed) to the Republicans would change anything structurally in the Senate. Under the Senate’s intricate rules the current organizing resolution, at least arguably, would remain in force keeping the Democrats in charge. Still, losing majority status would doubtlessly make life more difficult, and the GOP would likely hatch endless schemes to reclaim control.
But frankly, my dear Democratic Senators, I don’t give a damn. Not anymore.
It’s time to kick Joe Lieberman’s sorry butt off the Democratic bus, and let the consequences fall where they may. It’s bad enough that he’s been openly campaigning for John McCain. But his recent endorsement of Bill Kristol’s absurd slander comparing Barack Obama to Karl Marx is a deal breaker. If that doesn’t cross the line, well, then there just ain’t no line no more.
NAPITALIANO: Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?
LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he’s obviously very smart and he’s a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I’ve learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn’t…I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.
Lieberman knows he has no future in the Senate. He’s banking on a top job in the McCain Administration; and he’ll be more than happy to use his position as an “Independent Democrat” to help torpedo the Democratic nominee.
Senate Democrats should show this miserable bastard the door, at least in terms of stripping him of his committee chairmanship (which he isn’t doing anything with anyway). If they’re lucky, the Republicans will tempt fate by trying to grab control, thereby tying the Senate up into knots. Nothing’s going to be accomplished legislatively before November anyway. Why not let the GOP take the fall?
Lieberman clearly intends to spend the next seven months as McCain’s puppet master, ever ready to jump in each time he has a senior moment (oldfartgate anyone?): so be it. But we shouldn’t let him carry the banner of a Democratic Senate committee chairman while he’s doing it.
Seriously, could anything be more obvious?