Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama to Joe: No Need to Go! Turn-Coat Lieberman Will Likely Retain His Powerful Senate Chair

It is a great time for political dissenters. While my liberal buddies are running around proclaiming that our party has slain the awful Bush-Cheney-Rove-GOP-Rightwing-Socially Conservative-Multi-Headed dragon, it appears that the Democrats are too timid to dispose of their own Judas Iscariot. Although Joe Lieberman delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention urging voters to pick John McCain (affectionately known as Bush III and McSame among Democrats), he will likely remain Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security. Lieberman will, however, lose control over a less powerful and more obscure Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works ("who"?).

A story on CNN.Com confirms earlier rumors that President-Elect Obama stopped efforts to remove Lieberman from his Senate leadership positions. After Lieberman betrayed the party and campaigned for McCain, it seemed certain that the party would remove him from his leadership positions. The media ominously reported a meeting between Lieberman and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But things changed when insiders revealed that Obama wanted Lieberman to stay on board. According to CNN: "Several lawmakers involved in the discussions over Lieberman's fate credited President-elect Barack Obama's desire to keep Lieberman in the Democratic caucus and let bygones be bygones as being a key reason Democratic leaders have agreed to support allowing Lieberman to keep his committee chair." I imagine that if Senate Democrats actually want to oust Lieberman, only Obama could stop this from happening. So, perhaps the article is on to something.

Other than proving that campaigning and governing involve a lot of political song and dance, perhaps a bright spot can emerge from this situation. If Obama is willing to keep Lieberman in a leadership role despite his ultimate betrayal of the party, perhaps Democrats can learn to accept constructive dissent from people who are not acting as de facto Republicans (as Lieberman did). A lot of people, myself included, began blogging because they believed that other liberals and progressives lacked the ability to support Obama passionately but offer constructive and critical insights at the same time. If Obama can accept Lieberman despite his very public betrayal (not just dissent), then perhaps Democrats can embrace constructive dialogue as an enduring principle. I could appreciate that kind of change.


Malnurtured Snay said...

I truly hope that we will not have a "Yessir!" Congress in the manner that George W. Bush has.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Malnurtured snay (one of the most creative screen names I have seen in a while) -- I am not sure what this says about Congress. A popular president gets a honeymoon, but Democrats have a history of timidity, so I am concerned.

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