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Friday, November 7, 2008

Now, I just said that I like to run up the score. I wanted the Dems to get the 60 Senate seats, the filibuster-proof majority. What I didn't want was for them to get to a point where they hung by the thread of 60 votes, with Traitor Joe's finger at the kill-switch.

Lieberman's status in the Democratic caucus hangs by a thread - a thread attached to Harry Reid's finger. Yesterday, the two met, and it seemed Reid would put Lieberman over his knee at that point. It's known that Reid holds Lieberman in high personal regard, despite the shiv he put into Barack Obama's side in the form of a disgusting speech at the Republican National Convention. Lieberman also went well beyond the personal conviction of supporting his friend John McCain: he campaigned for Republicans in other races. His behavior demanded more than Reid's milquetoast statement today:
"Joe Lieberman has done something that I think was improper, wrong, and I'd like if we weren't on television, I'd use a stronger word of describing what he did," Reid told CNN's John King. "But Joe Lieberman votes with me a lot more than a lot of my senators. He didn't support us on military stuff and he didn't support us on Iraq stuff. You look at his record, it's pretty good."

Greg Sargent may consider that "ratcheting up the rhetoric", but I only see it as another shadow punch by one of the sorriest leaders the Democrats have ever had.

That said, Lieberman has outdone him. The Connecticut "independent" actually threw down an ultimatum:
"Senator Lieberman's preference is to stay in the caucus, but he's going to keep all his options open," a Lieberman aide said. "McConnell has reached out to him and at this stage his position is he wants to remain in the caucus but losing the chairmanship is unacceptable."

"Unacceptable"? Let him keep his chairmanship of his committee, or else?

Need I remind this dude that he has no leverage? His guy lost! He turned his back on Obama, who'd campaigned for him against Ned Lamont in 2006, when Lieberman was fighting for his political life. What possible motivation should the Democrats have for not only keeping this guy in the fold, but caving to his demands in order to do so?

I never thought I'd say this, but the Democrats need to get in Joe Lieberman's face, if they can stoop that low, and...quote Dick Cheney.

By this, I don't mean take away his chairmanship and let him take his ball and go home. Kick his ass out of the caucus.

Josh Marshall spells it out:
...the simple fact is the Democrats don't need Joe Lieberman. He's not in a position to call anything 'unacceptable'. The Democrats didn't get to 60 votes or at least it now seems highly unlikely -- which was his only hope to have any continued relevance or position to bargain from. And the truth is that filibuster-busting votes are often made on an ad-hoc basis rather than on a party line. In any case, there'd be no more reason to trust he'd be there as a 60th vote as a Democrat than as a Republican.

If he pulls a Zell Miller, fine. His credibility is shot, and he cannot be trusted. Why would you want to depend upon someone like that? Let him accept the Republican invitation, sit on the other side of the aisle (with no chairmanship, by the way) and defeat him along with the rest of them. And there's no way Connecticut re-elects this cat. Why play yourself in the meantime?

As Marshall says, Reid and the Dems need to make it absolutely clear to Lieberman that this is not a negotiation. They should go Michael Corleone on him:
[Geary is demanding a large bribe for a gaming license]
Senator Pat Geary: I want your answer and the money by noon tomorrow. And one more thing. Don't you contact me again, ever. From now on, you deal with Turnbull.

Michael Corleone: Senator? You can have my answer now, if you like. My final offer is this: nothing.

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