We know that Harry Reid met with Joe Lieberman today to discuss Lieberman’s future as chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and that Lieberman was apparently not happy with Reid’s suggestion that he take on a chairmanship of a lesser committee.
Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic VP Candidate, outraged many Democrats for his negative remarks about Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention earlier this year in support of John McCain.
Even though Lieberman technically is an Independent (after having lost the Connecticut Democratic primary in 2006), he is still a Democrat. The only big difference he has with the Democratic party is his staunch support of the Iraq war – hence his alignment with McCain. But on issues from taxes to abortion rights, he is a true blood Democrat.
Now, I don’t think it’s a problem that he chose to support McCain over Obama. Frankly, there were several prominent Republicans that have supported Obama over McCain. The problem though, was Lieberman’s bashing of Obama in front of a national audience at the Republican National Convention. Frankly, Lieberman should have had more sense. He should have known that his remarks would anger Democrats and that some sort of punishment would ensue. You can’t badmouth your party’s presumptive leader and expect your party to continue on as if nothing happened.
Of course, if the Democrats didn’t make big gains in the Senate this election, Lieberman’s chairmanship would probably be safe. Harry Reid wouldn’t risk his party’s control over the chamber to make a point. But, with the Democrats sitting on at least 57 seats, and possibly as many as 60 when the races in Alaska, Minnesota, and Georgia are finally decided, Lieberman’s services are no longer all that important to the party. Such is the ugly nature of politics.
Some are criticizing Reid’s potential punishment as practicing partisan politics as usual. I don’t see it that way. Lieberman embarrassed the Democratic Party and needs to be punished for it. If you’re a parent and your teenage child does something stupid, do you let them get away it?
There are reports that Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell is courting Lieberman to come to their side. I’m sure there are quite a few Democrats that are more than ready to show him the door.