Joe Lieberman: The Survivor

Joe Lieberman may have been a Democrat, he may now be an independent, and some progressive Democrats may think he is a closet Republican. But what is indisputable is that he is a survivor: he has come out of a meeting with Senate Democrats upset over his role in supporting losing GOP Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain with little more than a slap on the wrist.

He did so with a little help from a (perhaps former) friend: President Elect Barack Obama, who went to the mat for Lieberman, making it clear behind the scenes that he didn’t want to start off his White House term with Democrats stripping Lieberman of his committee chairmanship or making Lieberman so upset that he’d bolt to caucus with the Republicans.

Progressive Democrats will be and are livid. But Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid argues that Lieberman is there when it counted on Democratic issues, and Lieberman vows its “the beginning of a new chapter.” Watch their comments after the meeting and make your own judgment:

FOOTNOTE: Obama met McCain yesterday and it would have obliterated that meeting and its symbolism if Lieberman was to have been politically disciplined. There are good arguments on both sides for what should have been done — but the one certainty is: this defuses Lieberman, what he said about Obama during the campaign and his fate as a news story…so Obama can move on. If he indeed plans to reach out to rivals and foes, Lieberman’s campaign behavior would put him in that category.

  • mikkel

    For me this just brings up how stupid it is that some of the most powerful positions in government are based on politics and seniority instead of results and expertise. I don’t really care about Lieberman one way or the other, but the entire structure definitely sheds light on the ineptitude of Congress.

  • JWeidner

    What the heck is up with the second comment…talk about off topic.

    Anyway Joe, I think you hit the nail on the head as far as what Obama may be thinking – I believe he doesn’t want Joe dominating the news cycles any more than is absolutely necessary. Keeping Joe where he’s at reduces the story to just about nothing – it will fade quickly. If, however, the Dems had stripped him of his chairmanship, this story could have lasted much, much longer – well into Obama’s presidency. If, for instance, there was a close vote in the senate and Lieberman wound up caucusing with the Republicans, news stories would constantly raise the theory of whether he was voting due to the Dems actions in stripping him of his chair or not.

  • christoofar

    LIE-berman will have to be on his best behaviour from here on in, if he wants to retain his chairmanship. Once Pres. Obama is in office, he can still make life difficult for Holy Joe .
    Not the most satisfying solution, but probably the most pragmatic one under the circumstances

  • donthelibertariandemocrat

    I thought that it was a wise political decision, and have been hoping for this. Good work.

  • T-Steel

    Second comment removed and commenter banned.