Lieberman met with Reid yesterday, and, as HuffPo reported, apparently wants to remaind in the Democratic caucus (and to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee):
Reid offered Lieberman a deal to step down as chairman of the homeland security committee but take over the reins of another subcommittee, likely overseeing economic or small business issues, officials said.
Immediately after his meeting with Reid, Lieberman told reporters that he had not made a decision about his future in the caucus, and appeared to launch his first public appeal to members of the Democratic steering committee, whose members decide committee chair assignments.
“I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get our economy going again and to keep the American people safe. That is exactly what I intend to do with my colleagues here in the Senate in support of our new president, and those are the standards I will use in considering the options that I have before me,” Lieberman told reporters.
How does Lieberman have any options left? Why should he be allowed to choose what he wants to do? As far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t just be kicked out of his prestigious chairmanship, he should be kicked out of the caucus altogether.
I’ve made the argument before, in his favour, that the Democratic Party should be inclusive enough even for Lieberman to have a place in it, but the fact is, he’s no longer much of a Democrat, if one at all, and, ultimately, the party needs to have its standards. It’s not just that he supported McCain and took every opportunity to slam Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress, it’s that he seems to relish his Republican-leaning, Bush-friendly independent status. Which is fine. Let him be an independent. As Harry Reid put it following the meeting, “While I understand that Senator Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our Caucus.” Surely that’s an understatement.
Whether they end up with 56 or 57 seats, not counting his, the Democrats don’t need him anymore. Besides, it’s not like he’s a reliable Democrat anymore. Even with 59 seats, what guarantee would there be that he would side with the Democrats on tight votes, or to help them reach 60? It seems to me they’d be better off trying to win the support of moderate Republicans like the two from Maine, Snowe and Collins, than caving in and hoping for the best with Lieberman.
Even now, all he’s doing is trying to get the best deal for himself from whichever party will give him the most, and spinning his calculated machinations as agreement with Obama. The Democrats should give him nothing at all.
Enough is indeed enough. Democrats, give him the boot.