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.