Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Crime and Punishment

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crime and Punishment

Yeah, OK, what Lieberman did on the campaign trail wasn't exactly a crime. In fact, it was nowhere near a crime, I'm just grabbing at a snappy title for this post. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't receive some sort of punishment.

There have been plenty of people who have been chomping at the bit to make Lieberman pay for turning against the Democratic party, for campaigning for Republican John McCain, for suggesting that it's a good idea to wonder if Barack Obama might be a Marxist, for addressing the Republican convention and insisting that Obama wanted to deny funding for the troops. If I'm not necessarily looking forward to Lieberman's comeuppance, I certainly think that he should pay a price for the decisions he's made. Lieberman's one of the main proponents of taking personal responsibility, so it's hard to take him at face value when he argues that we should let bygones be bygones. He's the one with everything to lose if they don't.

Unsurprisingly, given their reaction when Lieberman defeated the Democratic candidate for senator from Connecticut, the Democrats seem to be coming to their pal's aid. Evan Bayh insists that Lieberman should come forward and apologize: "If I said some things that came as offensive, I'm sorry, but they were, you know heartfelt in my support of John McCain." That's right, Lieberman should be forgiven for arguments he made in the heat of the campaign because he really meant them. That's some logic he's got there. Christopher Dodd (Christopher Dodd! About whom Lieberman told Imus after the 2006 election, "He says he's gonna bring a food taster to our first lunch meeting. I'm gonna bring Michael Corleone.") has come out to defend Lieberman and pull Obama into the whole conflict:

"What does Barack Obama want?" Dodd rhetorically asked reporters Friday in Hartford. "He's talked about reconciliation, healing, bringing people together. I don't think he'd necessarily want to spend the first month of this president-elect period, this transition period, talking about a Senate seat, particularly if someone is willing to come forward and is willing to be a member of your family in the caucus in that sense."

Sure enough, word is now coming out that Obama wants Lieberman to continue to caucus with the Democrats. Exactly what Obama's terms would be is still up in the air.

Personally, I don't care if Lieberman wants to stay in the Democratic caucus. Why kick him out? Of course, it goes without saying that he should be given no enticement to stay. He should be stripped of seniority and of his committee chairs, but why would he ever expect otherwise? Unfortunately, he seems to. When Harry Reid talked to him about one condition of staying in the caucus being that he'd have to give up his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Lieberman branded the idea "unacceptable." Normally, I'd make some sort of snarky about his not being in a position to decide what's acceptable and what's not. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to think that maybe Lieberman realizes that he is in a position to make such statements. Does he know that the Democratic caucus (the very same one that he's just finished betraying) will back him regardless? Don't bet that they won't.


At 8:32 AM, November 11, 2008, Blogger Stevie T said...

Doesn't the country have much bigger fish to fry? Kick him out and get on with it. I'm starting to think he's got the ego thing going, much like what people have said about Nader and Bill Clinton.

At 4:09 PM, November 11, 2008, Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Yeah, I don't get this at all...what is the problem with stripping Lieberman of his committee? They're afraid he'd go to the republicans? HE ALREADY HAS!

At 9:52 PM, November 11, 2008, Blogger Mike Chary said...

The problem isn't so much annoying Sen. Lieberman. The problem is that they jettison Connecticut. They have to keep the little guy long enough to let Connecticut vote him out or just volunteer that state two senators in the Republican slot. Now you might think that the Dems in the state won't care. Perahps, but they are not the ones who elected him this time. I could be wrong, but I think they have to put up with him until the end of his term.


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