mccain_lieberman_hug.thumbnail.jpgWhether John McCain picks Joe Lieberman as a VP or not, the damage that Joe is doing to Barack Obama right now is real and tangible. He’s front and center in a very vocal campaign to cast Obama as friendly to terrorists and unpatriotic.

And yet his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are all but silent. The base may be "irate," but they’re clearly not. I understand why they think they can’t throw him out of the caucus until the next session, but the poll numbers show that John McCain’s negative campaign seems to be closing the gap with Obama.

Do they not see a problem here?

It’s not like they don’t know how to discipline one of their own — nobody had any trouble smacking Russ Feingold around when he tried to censure George Bush, and when Chris Dodd threatened to filibuster FISA the press was full of blind quotes from fellow Senators threatening his return to the caucus after his Presidential campaign ended.

I guess they just like the guy too damn much.

There’s obviously tremendous public appetite for doing something about Lieberman, but after consulting with some of the best minds in the blogosphere and beyond about what to do, I don’t see a clear path. I suppose we could cynically put up a petition nobody will care about, collect a bunch of signatures and feel good if we get our names in the New York Times, but I really don’t think that’s going to get the job done.

One suggestion is to launch a campaign targeting the press, who can’t help falling all over themselves to paint Joe as a triumph of bipartisanship. Well, Joe’s a Republican, he’s not a Democrat, so there really isn’t much bipartisan about him — but I’m not sure if reinforcing this message doesn’t help Joe with his whole "I’m an independent, I don’t owe allegiance to anyone" crap.

Another is to get people calling their Senators and demand they go on the record about what Lieberman is doing, and promise to vote against him remaining in the caucus after the election. But since the Senate is not in session right now, the effect might be limited.

So I’m throwing open the doors here. If Joe Lieberman ascends to the executive branch in any way, it will mean that a worse neocon than Dick Cheney and his merry band of henchmen now hold the reins of the war.

What should we do?