Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Step Closer To The Bitter End For Holy Joe Lieberman?


Disclaimer: I was the Executive Producer of the debut album by Ice-T led Bodycount and I resented Joe Lieberman using that album as an incendiary fundraising tool by cynically twisting it's meaning to frighten parents. I've watched this career politician and shameless hack descend into the realm of self-righteousness we normally only get from those about to be indicted. Lieberman covers his tracks better than most but at last it looks like some of his actions-- like his support for John McCain and the Iraq war-- are finally catching up with him.

If ever a member of the Senate didn't deserve to chair an important committee, it is Joe Lieberman. But Democrats, worried that he would jump the fence the way Strom Thurmond did in 1964, Richard Shelby did in 1994, and Ben Nighthouse Campbell did in 1995, seem to have made a deal with the Devil, a deal that is expiring. Today's Hill is reporting that Lieberman is going to lose his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee to Daniel Akaka (D-HI).
Lieberman spokesman Marshall Witmann dismissed the speculation, saying Lieberman “is focused on doing all he can to elect John McCain as president rather than post-election Washington politics.”

It has long been postulated that the Senate Dems would make it apparent enough to Lieberman-- who has also endorsed Republican rubber stamp Susan Collins-- that he's viewed as a pariah in the hope, shared with the GOP, that he would go caucus with them instead of spying on Democrats.
The proposed shakeup is hardly final, but it has begun to be sketched out on paper. It depends largely on a victory by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the presidential election, which would result in Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Obama’s running mate, giving up his chairmanship on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The shift also hinges on Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) stepping down as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which aides say is included in the proposed changes. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) would replace him. Byrd, who turns 91 in November, has been hospitalized three times this year and some have questioned if he is capable of leading the committee. [Note: I question whether Inouye, Ted Stevens' #1 supporter on this sensitive committee, is ethically capable of leading the committee.]

Other moves include Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) taking over the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) taking over the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) moving to the helm of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

There is no set plan to replace Biden, but one source cited Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) as a possibility.
However, another Democratic source said Dodd is likely to hold onto his chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee and be available to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, should Kennedy’s health fail.

In recent days, Lieberman has tried to step back towards his Democratic colleagues by refusing to toe the Republican Party line on Palin and by claiming he has always been respectful of Obama (another Lieberman lie).
Perhaps Lieberman's less than charitable response to the question about Palin's readiness and his sudden emphasis on his "respect" for Barack Obama has to do with Democrats approaching what I like to call the Lieberman Threshold of 60 Senate seats in the Democratic caucus.

All the numbers around 60 have wildly shifting implications for Lieberman. If the Democrats get to 60, Lieberman will continue to hold a considerable amount of power, as he would be the likely swing vote that could consistently overcome GOP filibusters. If the Democrats get to 61 or stall short of 60, then Lieberman will have virtually no leverage whatsoever.

If Lieberman loses his leverage, he could be stripped of his coveted position as chair the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and his position as chair of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.



At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Lieberman reminds us of a little puppy dog,following Mc Cain around, hoping he'll toss him a bone(acabinet post). It seems the RNC had other ideas about his being chosen for v. p. Poor Joe, we actually feel sorry for him!


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