Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm really torn on Joe Lieberman getting to keep his committee chair.

On the one hand, I like that Obama is simply moving beyond the election, unwilling to spend unnecessary political capital as he looks to enact his agenda. Keeping Lieberman may be the smart political move and I'm willing to trust Obama on this one.

On the other hand, Lieberman is a traitor. He shows that a Democrat can say anything and support anyone on the right without fear of punishment. What would the Republicans do? Would they keep Susan Collins in their caucus if she attacked McCain and campaigned for Obama? I think it is highly unlikely. It also makes me worried about the continued timidity of the Senate Democrats under Harry Reid's leadership. If they don't fight for progressive prinicples now, when will they? I suspect the answer may be never.

This episode also shows the still limited influence the netroots has on Democratic leaders. Everyone demanded Lieberman's head. I would be happy to see it roll. What does he really add to the party? Nothing so far as I can see. Despite that, only 13 Democratic senators voted to strip him of his chair. No doubt if Obama wanted him gone that number would have gone up. But it's still disappointing.