Saturday, November 8, 2008

What To Do With Lieberman?

Everyone seems to be getting in on this act. Harry Reid has sent strong signals that Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will be stripped of his chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He is furious (and rightfully so) at Lieberman's ardent support of McCain that crossed over into attacks against Obama. It was one thing to support his old friend, John McCain, quite another to go after Obama, speak at the Republican Convention, tour with Sarah Palin, and still expect to caucus with the Democrats.

Bloggers everywhere are calling for readers to contact their senators and recommend Lieberman lose his chair. Its certainly tempting to punish the turncoat. Its also tempting to be and act better than him and model bipartisanship, by accepting an apology from him. But now Lieberman and McConnell (R-KY) are making noise about Lieberman joining the Republican caucus. That kind of talk makes it tempting to kick him to the curb.

But remember the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Perhaps there is wisdom in keeping Lieberman where the Democrats can keep a close eye on him, so to speak. If he proves to be less than an effective Independent/Democrat, I assume he can be booted from the Democratic caucus later. Perhaps it is better to have Lieberman owing something to the new President rather than watching him spearhead the opposition on the other side. Whatever President Obama decides to do (because I have to assume Harry Reid is not acting completely without higher counsel here), will be very telling. Yeah, there's a big part of me that wants to see the traitor walk the plank, but the more mature part of me wants to see if real political reconciliation can work, and wants to see if President Obama can use it strategically to move his agenda forward.

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