Jumping the Gun

by David Goodloe

The Daily Kos just can’t resist the bait.

Of course, CNN helped.

Apparently, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman hasn’t decided whether he will be a Democrat, a Republican or an independent when he seeks re–election in 2012.

Based on Dana Bash’s report for CNN, Lieberman says it is “unlikely” that he will run as a Republican.

“I like being an independent, so that’s definitely a possibility,” he said. “But I’d say all options are open.”

Hmmm. Sounds to me like Lieberman hasn’t made up his mind.

But Jed Lewison at the Daily Kos is eager to leap into panic mode, calling it a “kick in the groin” for Democrats who have counted on Lieberman to give them their filibuster–proof majority.

That doesn’t really hold up when someone from the majority threatens to support a filibuster, though, does it?

Isn’t all this talk about Lieberman’s plans for 2012 a bit premature? Democrats appear likely now to lose ground in Congress in 2010. They may lose seats in the House or the Senate or both. If they lose even one seat in the Senate — and I discussed several seats that were in jeopardy a few days ago — they will lose their filibuster–proof majority, anyway.

That’s when they will need to decide whether they want Lieberman to remain in their caucus — or if they would prefer to recruit top–notch Democrats to run for Republican–held or open Senate seats in 2012.

Until then, they may not like having him in their caucus, but he agrees with them on most issues and will make many things easier to achieve because he is on their side.

For the long haul, though, Lieberman may be too much of a loose cannon for Democrats’ tastes (which is saying a lot) — but, really, is Arlen Specter less of one? And Specter will face the voters next year.

Lewison, without the slightest shred of evidence that Lieberman’s defection to the Republican Party is in any way likely, concludes that “[e]very day that Joe Lieberman remains a member in good standing of the Democratic caucus is yet another day that Joe Lieberman makes Democrats look stupid.”

Actually, Democrats don’t need Lieberman’s help to look stupid these days. For that matter, neither does Lewison.

Well, I guess they need something to moan about, now that the New York Times has published survey results that show the unemployed do not blame Barack Obama for the bad economy — but the results are decidedly mixed when they’re asked how he is handling job creation.

Until there is improvement in that category, Democrats can rant all they want about Lieberman. The perception will continue to be that they have abdicated their responsibility to the jobless.

And perception, like it or not, is reality.

David Goodloe got his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1982, and his master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas in 1991. He publishes the thoughtful weblog Freedom Writing. This post is cross posted from his website.

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