Senate Democrats may have decided finally that Joe Lieberman (CT – Connecticut-for-Lieberman), who still caucuses with Democrats, needs to pay a heavy penalty. There’s organized opposition however to taking away Lieberman’s highly coveted chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The message here is that we don’t want to start off a new era with retribution.”
The thinking goes that Lieberman should not be denied the reward of a chairmanship during the next Congress simply because he rejected the Democratic ticket, belittled the Democratic nominee as an incompetent “young man”, campaigned alongside the Republican nominee, and spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention. Democrats believe that reasonable people could disagree about the correct form of behavior in that regard.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Senate Democrats “should be ‘gracious in victory’ toward Lieberman.”
But even most of Lieberman’s supporters in the caucus agree that he ought to pay a heavy penalty for lying repeatedly about Barack Obama’s record while campaigning for John McCain.
Aides cautioned that there are not simply two camps — keep him or dump him — in the Senate Democratic caucus. Instead, a number of options are being considered that would allow him to keep his chairmanship and remain in the caucus but still suffer some sort of penalty.
To that end, rumors are swirling on Capitol Hill that a compromise penalty is under consideration: Lieberman’s reserved parking space at Washington National Airport will be moved perhaps as much as 40 yards farther from the terminal building.
Lieberman’s closest friends are said to be aghast, but they may not be able to protect him this time.