More from Steve Kornacki at the NYObserver:
Maybe the 50 members of the Senate’s Democratic Caucus should just call the bluff of their 51st vote and tell Joe Lieberman to take a hike.
The junior Senator from Connecticut, who was elected as an independent last year after losing the faith of his home state’s Democratic Party, continues to flaunt his tie-breaking status, all but calling his former partisan colleagues terrorist coddlers and daring them to do something – anything – about it.
It’s a bullying, childish game he’s playing. If Mr. Lieberman were to walk away from the Democrats completely and to caucus with Senate Republicans, he would hand the G.O.P. its magical 50th vote, which, along with Vice-President Cheney’s vote, would strip Democrats of the narrow majority they won in the chamber last November. And so he chooses to torment the Democrats, siding with them for organizational purposes only to amplify – at every pivotal turn in the four-plus-year evolution of the Iraq War – the White House’s most shrill and demagogic attacks on the party’s foreign policy credibility….
Never mind that Mr. Lieberman has been every bit the partisan that he accuses Democrats of being on the Iraq question: There hasn’t been a single consequential vote on which he’s strayed from the G.O.P. line.
This rhetorical disingenuousness is, of course, nothing new for “Holy Joe,” who routinely tries to pass off his hawkish war posture – which is at odds with the overwhelming majority of the American public – as the voice of bipartisan consensus-building. He champions the surge, reads from the White House’s script, and threatens to support next year’s Republican presidential nominee. And if his Democratic Senate colleagues have any thought of calling him out in public, well, there’s always the threat he reiterated to The Hill this week.
“I wouldn’t foreclose it as a possibility,” he said when asked if he might switch parties and become a Republican, “but I hope that I don’t reach that point.”
But what Harry Reid and Company might not realize is that, for all of Mr. Lieberman’s threats, Senate Democrats actually have the upper hand in the relationship with Mr. Lieberman. If they were to lay down the law with Mr. Lieberman, he might not run to the G.O.P. as quickly as he wants Democrats to believe he would. And even if he did, it would be a relatively minor and very short-term setback for Democrats – but one with long-lasting implications for Mr. Lieberman.
Mr. Lieberman’s association with the Democrats, for all his griping, is actually quite beneficial to him.
For one thing, it gives him a gavel – the chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee. Sure, he could keep that if he jumped ship, and in fact, he might do himself one better – who knows what prestigious gavel Republicans might tempt him with? But it would be fool’s gold, because the question heading into next year’s elections seems to be how many additional Senate seats Democrats will pick up – not which party will control the chamber.
Gee…who could have predicted that Mr. Shrill-Finger-Wagging-Self-Promoting-Ego would do things solely for his own benefit and that of the Bush Administration, whose biggest funders paved his way in campaign moolah back into the Senate so that he could serve as their legislative scold? It is well past time that the Senate Democratic leadership stopped kowtowing to Lieberman’s demands and instead tell him to STFU. He knows as well as we do how to do “the math” — and it’s not looking good for Republican control of the Senate. Kornacki is absolutely correct.
If ever there were a reason to work our asses off to elect a stronger majority of Democrats in the Senate, this is it: people like Joe Lieberman need to be made far more irrelevent. His scolding nag act on Iraq is beyond stale, and his usefulness as a tool for undercutting Democratic policy initiatives on Iraq, and his role as a gatekeeper on national security issues that desperately need to be addressed by preventing meaningful oversight is beyond appalling — it is outright dangerous and, worse, it is a slackassed slap in the face to every first responder in this nation not to take that duty of oversight more seriously. Joe Lieberman is a manace who is out for one thing, and one thing only — Joe Lieberman.
And if the Democratic leadership cannot see that, then they no longer deserve to be leaders. Period.
PS — And while I’m at it, Dianne Feinstein just made the shit list. (H/T Howie) Shame on her!