Joe Lieberman faced a secret ballot vote from the Democratic caucus last Tuesday, who in spite of his support for John McCain during the presidential election campaign, yielded to the wishes of President-elect Barack Obama and allowed him to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.
Once Senator Joe Lieberman was Senator Barack Obama’s mentor and urged him to “reach for the stars”. Then he fiercely campaigned against Obama alongside his close friend, Republican Senator John McCain. He lost his bet.
Many a Democrat believed there was only way out as far as Lieberman was concerned: heavy punishment by the Democratic party. The President-elect ordered otherwise.
Pepe Escobar argues this is a political marriage of convenience.
Real News: November 22 – 5 min 46 sec
Joe and Barack: who owns who?
The President-elect’s calculation: valuable asset Senator Joe Lieberman should be kept in the fold
Judah Freed at the Examiner the other day also analyzes and makes a prediction…
Lieberman, who declared himself an independent after his failed 2004 campaign to become the vice president as Democrat John Kerry’s running mate, also will retain his membership in the Democratic caucus, allowing Democrats to sustain their one-vote majority in the Senate through the balance of the 2008 lame duck session for the 110th Congress.
If Senate Democrats had voted today to removed Lieberman from the prestigious chairmanship and even bounced him from the Democratic Caucus, Leiberman almost certainly would have formally affiliated with the Republicans.
If Lieberman joined the Republicans, his action would have overturned the leadership of the Senate, including all committee assignments, for the final weeks of the legislative session.
To avoid this chaos, if for no other reason, Democrats voted to let Lieberman keep his chairmanship and stay in the caucus.
Within the first few weeks after the new Congress is seated in January 2009, Lieberman will be removed from his prestigious chairmanship and ejected from the Democratic caucus.
The only mitigating factor might be whether Senate Democrats, after all the close races are decided, stand within one vote of the 60 seats needed for them to stop Republican filibusters. If Lieberman’s solo vote will be pivotal, then and only then will the Democrats ask him to continue caucusing with them.
However, if Lieberman stays in the Democratic caucus after January, don’t be surprised if he’s asked to step aside as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, although he might be permitted to remain a member.
My point is that Lieberman’s petty punishment today is not the end of the story. Wait and see.