Joe Lieberman drives me up a fucking tree. Let’s take a look at Joe’s career over the last few years. In 2004 the guy does an end-run around his own party to run as an independent even though the Connecticut Democrats voted for a staunch anti-war candidate, Ned Lamott, in the primaries. He goes on to win the general election while continuing to act as a shill for Bush on the Iraq war. Because of the general spinelessness of the Congressional Democrats, Lieberman is allowed to retain his committee chairs, even though he is no longer a Democrat. While the Democrats make much of the fact that the reason for rewarding the traitor was the single-vote majority in the Senate, one could plausibly argue that the Democrats never really needed the vote anyway because they passed most of Bush’s agenda by wide margins and failed to exhibit any real leadership on a single issue. (As The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin observed at the end of last year: "Historians looking back on the Bush presidency may well wonder if Congress actually existed.") Fast-forward to 2008 when Lieberman actively campaigned for John McCain in the presidential race. Surely, one would think, now that the Democrats have taken the White House and both houses of Congress, Lieberman would finally be taken to the wood-shed and receive his much-deserved comeuppance. Think again.
The vote to keep Lieberman in his Chair was hardly a nail-biter -- 42-13. Everyone involved in the process tacitly acknowledges that it was Obama's desire that Lieberman retain his chairmanship of the powerful Homeland Security Committee-which doesn’t bode well for Congressional independence in the new administration, although I suspect Congress has simply forgotten how to say no to the President.
I can’t out it better than Glen Greenwald in Salon today: “Senate Democrats believe it's important to reward someone with a powerful Chairmanship who has been a vehement supporter of George Bush, the war in Iraq, the full panoply of anti-constitutional abuses, and an amplifier of the most toxic right-wing toxic points. At the same time, they consider it a good thing to scorn their supporters on what they consider to be "the Left." For anyone willing to hear it, they've made as clear and resounding a statement -- again -- about who they are and who they do and don't listen to.”
Is that Change We Can Believe In? I have my doubts.