Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can Someone Explain the Appeal of Joe Lieberman?

I wish I could say that I'm surprised that the Dems decided to keep Lieberman not only in the caucus, but at the head of the Homeland Security Commission, where he's been complicit in malfeasance in New Orleans, Iraq and elsewhere by not investigating any wrong-doing after Katrina, or by Blackwater, or indeed seemingly anything.

But if history has shown us anything, it's that the Democratic Congress and House of Representatives seems to have little to no balls at all. I mean, the Republicans may be the enemy of almost everything I stand for, but Jesus, at least they have the cojones to stand up and fight for what they believe. All too often, the Democrats have just knuckled under, calling it "compromise" and "bi-partisanship."

So in that spirit, let me just ask: What do we, the Democrats, gain by having Lieberman there? Was it so important to keep him in the caucus that they couldn't risk him getting mad and bolting after pulling his chairmanship? Is he so convincing a figure that his vote actually equals a half-dozen votes or more? Does he always bring the best potato salad to the Democratic/Connecticut for Lieberman two-party barbecues?

The talking points against this have been "We shouldn't be seeking revenge, it goes against the message." But this was never about revenge. Sure, some of us (OK, me) who have always disliked Lieberman's censorship happy, pro-Iraq War, right-leaning version of Democratic policy were incensed by his actions during the Presidential election. But... we won. His smears against Obama didn't work, and he was ultimately as helpful to John McCain winning the White House as he was to Al Gore in 2000.

But I've seen lots of arguments that we *shouldn't* strip him of his chairmanship, that we shouldn't kick him out of the caucus... can anyone tell me why? What exactly does he bring to the table? Is it just a matter of "We're showing that we can be the bigger person?," which is childish and naive political policy? Is "Because Joe might get mad at us?" really enough to make the Dems back down? And if so, just what is it going to take for Senate and House Dems to grow a pair? I don't want a replay of the last 8 years, where the Republicans controlled all three branches of government and still complained about being the minority party. The Dems won. They've got Executive and Legislative Branches all but sewn up. But if they're going to act like the Republicans and their allies (which Lieberman is, let's be honest) are still calling the shots, then what was the point of the election?


M. Robert Turnage said...

Here is something one of my Deep South relatives said about Jessie Helms in response to my rant about how there should be mandatory term limits for all members of Congress:

"Every time that man [Jessie Helms] opened his mouth, I wanted to kill him, but every time his name came up on the ballot, I voted for him. Because to get anything for your state, you need a strong senator. And the only way to get a strong senator is to keep electing the same yokel over and over. Yes, they learn to game the system. Yes, they get corrupt. Yes, they become horrible - but they do it for your state. And you want them to do it for your state. That's how politics works."

Personally speaking, Joe Lieberman reminds me of the cartoon dog, Droopy. My greatest hope is that after he leaves politics, he gets a job doing voice overs for the Cartoon Network.

Supes said...

I know this post is old and you might not see the comment, but the reason the Dems needed Lieberman at the time was the chance to amass 60 votes in the Senate. You need 60 to avoid a filibuster. Depending on Georgia and MN, it might not matter but they couldn't take that chance.

And I guess it really won't matter come late January, when the country is perfect again.