Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lieberman skates

One drawback of the Democrats' having won two election cycles fairly convincingly is that it gets harder and harder to accuse our dear leaders of being pathetic and hopeless. But letting Joe Lieberman remain the chairman of an important committee in the 111th Congress... that really smarts.

I don't think it's purely the absence of sweet, sweet retribution that has me so disappointed, either, although it could be 70% of it. It's that I can't believe it isn't a net negative to let your party's nominee and your party get so thoroughly slimed by somebody, and then pass up the opportunity to inflict as much damage as possible on that person's political career. More than that, actually. They're letting him retain authority that a) he hasn't made any use of so far, and b) could so easily be transferred to an actual Democrat.

If Reid et al could make a convincing case for the move on political/agenda-enacting grounds, I'd love to hear it. But they aren't going to be able to make that case in public (it has to be about not seeking "retribution" and "looking forward") and I don't even know what it would be in private. Nobody that follows senate committee assignments is going to switch parties over one. The people who don't follow committee assignments probably wouldn't be shocked to hear that a guy got demoted by the party that he said was essentially traitorous. And what's he going to do? Vote against Obama's domestic agenda out of spite? Everybody would know was his rationale, if he did it, and it would probably be the definitive end of him in 2012 (hopefully he'll be out anyway).

I just don't think you have to assign a huge amount of weight to the ultimately ephemeral notion of self-respect to think the need for its preservation outweighs the political downside of treating Joe Lieberman like the Republican mole he is. In fact, you'd think there'd be some downside in legitimizing the Republican mole by publicly declaring him a Democrat in good standing... when he's literally no longer a Democrat.

Again, they probably know what they're doing. But it's just staggering.

Update:
I'm going to have to stop reading the MSM accounts of this. Time's Jay Newton-Small:

In supporting Lieberman's continued inclusion in the Democratic caucus, [Obama] may have effectively defanged his toughest potential opponent in the Senate Democratic caucus. If Lieberman is anything, as he proved with John McCain, he's loyal — and now he owes Obama a big one.

Would that be bigger than the "big one" Lieberman owed Obama for endorsing him in his competitive 2006 race against the duly nominated Democrat? Because that little chip was already cashed in, in exchange for Lieberman's endorsing John McCain, and asking Americans to consider just why Obama was favored by Hamas. Joe Lieberman is nothing if not loyal!

9 comments:

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

Boy, if there's one thing I hate, it's a purist!

Doyle said...

Oh come on! You agree with me on this!

You're still mad because I called your blog "unreadably awful" aren't you? I guess that's understandable.

Still, you should wait til I write something favorable about Obama and then let loose with the "Obamabot" stuff you guys are so good at.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

I don't recall that I or any Corrente Senior Fellows have trafficked in the term "Obamabot."

In any case, it seems cruel to deny us the pleasure of wagging a finger at those who publicly wish that Democrats would act like Democrats. Such simple entertainments are so few in these trying times.

Doyle said...

You do, however, post a daily tally of the Google search results for "Obama" and "historic", right? And cleverly call it the "Histeria Watch"?

You: "What I think is worthy about this daily posting is to push back on the pervasive and unproductive tendency to treat this pending presidency as a ready-made museum piece."

It could also be the appropriate tendency to call the election of a black man as POTUS approximately one generation after the Civil Rights Act "historic" because that's a pretty apt word for it.

Applying that word doesn't imply, at all, that the success of his (again, not-yet-started) presidency is a fait accompli, unless of course you've been driven insane by a certain someone's primary defeat.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

Which of these things is productive?

1. Continue to fixate on how Obama is The First Black President (as opposed to, say, the president who is inheriting a series of ginormous crises)?
2. Continue to bash as "insane" those who, back when there was an option, happened to prefer Hillary to Obama?
3. Advocate for Obama to make good on the need and opportunity for progressive reform, in rejection of Beltway conventional wisdom and of his own post-partisan campaign rhetoric?

Just wonderin'....

soberish said...

Vastleft, you respond to every criticism of your posts as if they're saying "you should support Obama more". In reality, most of the time they're saying "you should stop making stupid and inane arguments". I know it feeds your persecution complex to see every attack on you as a rehashing of the primary fight, but that's not at all accurate.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

Soberish,

What was I thinking when I thought "unless of course you've been driven insane by a certain someone's primary defeat" was an attempt to rehash the primary fight? My bad!

Cello said...

Remember. It's all about Hillary.

When Obama makes a mistake, it's about Hillary.

When Obama does something cool, it's about Hillary.

When Obama does nothing at all, it's about Hillary.

I've never understood the fascination with Hillary among the PUMAs and PUMA-lites. She's your standard pseudo-progressive, triangulating, middle-of-the-road politician. Just like her husband was. Fine, so you like her. But she lost to another politician who's not all that ideologically different from her.

Obama's not the savior, and neither is Hillary. Let's just accept the results of this election for they are: an opportunity to rip the country out of the hands of the right wing wacko cabal.

soberish said...

VL, you're certainly not alone in constantly refighting the primary, but that hardly makes it a valid frame for viewing the world. Your latest post at Corrente is yet again responding to criticism as if the critique were that you don't support Obama enough. You're completely missing the point.

"Bugfucker" was chosen because it's a completely ridiculous word. Chronicling daily how many hits are returned for "vastleft bugfucker" is a completely ridiculous way of measuring your bugfuckerness, as it were. It's a freaking parody, fer chrissakes!

Furthermore, I can't believe you can be so obtuse that you can't distinguish between Obama's election and the Obama presidency. The former was undoubtedly historic, the jury's going to be out on the latter for quite some time.