Senate Dems Ready Their "Heck Of A Job, Brownie" Moment
Just from a tactical perspective alone, the Senate Democrats would have to be completely insane, or astonishingly stupid, to let an obvious bitter backstabber & Bush Jr lackey like Joe Lieberman retain his Dept. of Homeland Security chairmanship upon starting a new Congress, especially when he'd be able to tie up an Obama Administration with numerous investigations, subpoenas and demanded documents.
No, you do NOT keep someone in a post where they can hurt you, especially when that same slug didn't do a damn thing to hold the current Administration accountable in any way, shape or form for its numerous shortcomings, lawbreaking, or staggering incompetence.
This idea of Lieberman retaining his Committee chairmanships is aggressively naive, as it requires a level of trust in Lieberman's basic decency that's been completely destroyed by Lieberman himself.
Adding to Lieberman's incompetence during his tenure as DHS Chairman, his flat-out refusal to hold the Bush Jr Administration accountable for its clear, numerous and lethal shortcomings during and immediately after Katrina hit, the Gulf Coast & New Orleans drowned, and people died.
Lieberman goes from a position of absolute powerlessness, to one where he can stop any actual ambitious or bold policy proposal Obama may actually make as President, and he'll do this in a way that will, most likely, involve Lieberman's sudden desire to seriously investigate the Bush Jr Administration, at the same time saying Obama needs to hold off on any major changes from Bush Jr policies until those ideas and reforms have been studied, in-depth.
Those issues would include warrantless spying, torture as official US policy, indefinite detention, suspension of Habeas Corpus, war profiteering and adequately funding veterans issues.
And the investigations will grind along as slowly as Lieberman feels he can get away with, especially as, once the committee assignments are set for the next Congress, the Democrats won't be able-protestations from Sen. Bayh notwithstanding-to strip Lieberman of his DHS committee chairmanship with a vote from their members alone, the issue would have to be presented to the full Senate for a vote, and there's no reason to think the Republicans would do anything but filibuster such an attempt by the Democrats.
Because, the Republicans realize the only value they get from Lieberman is with his ability to hamstring a Democratic President, and with their numbers shrinking even further with the incoming Congress than they are currently, the Republicans certainly can't offer Lieberman anything other than petty revenge on his former party.
And of course, the Republicans would never think to let Joe know that, if he really does a good job tying up an Obama Administration, there's a VP or Presidential GOP nomination waiting, guaranteed, for 2012.
If Obama is serious about "change", then, logically, he shouldn't be backing a grudge-bearing Bush Jr loyalist-especially on the most defining issues, the worst of the current Administration's policies-like Lieberman, a backbiter who will, if he retains his Senate committee & subcommittee chairmanships, have the ability to enable legislative gridlock in the spirit of "bipartisanship".
Considering how Lieberman enthusiastically supported the Bush Jr Administration, and even more enthusiastically quashed any real investigations into the DHS during W's terms, especially relating to Katrina, it shouldn't surprise anyone if he's stalling such reforms from Obama purely because Lieberman's worried-hopefully for legal reasons-about his role in enabling obvious criminal behavior from the Bush Jr Administration.
That's a harsh spin, but Sen. Lieberman does not deserve any "benefit of the doubt" in terms of honorable actions, not when he says those he opposes from his former party are actual threats to the US, while at the same time not-so-holy-Joe pals around with the worst, most anti-Semitic religious bigots, like "Pastor" Hagee, who tries to revise the Holocaust as God's way of driving the Jews back to Israel.
One proposal put forward, supposedly as ways to keep Lieberman in check without stripping him of the DHS Committee he holds so dear, actually raises troubling problems of its own.
Evan Bayh, in calling for an apology from Lieberman, seems willing to accept a level of politicization that was so rightly decried when the Bush Jr Administration tried to pressure GOP US Attorneys to bring bogus charges against Democrats and voter-registration groups, a scandal that ultimately drove former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez from that post in shame.
Bayh: Lieberman should apologize
Bayh said that Lieberman must first issue a “sincere apology” for campaign attacks warning of the perils of an Obama presidency and a large Democratic majority in Congress. He said Democrats should allow him to keep his chairmanship on the condition that he would not use his subpoena power and influence as chairman to undermine Obama’s presidency. Otherwise, Democrats would take away his gavel at any point next Congress, Bayh warned.
Bayh said Democrats should tell Lieberman sternly, “Look, we’re giving you a chance here, but if you don’t do the right things as chairman, and we see any continuation of this kind of behavior ...the game is up at that point.”
This is a precedent that's better not set, telling a Committee chairman what can and cannot be investigated as a price for holding that position is hardly a way to reign in an out-of-control President/Administration.
No doubt, a certain level of grandstanding is done when seeking/receiving political perks like Committee chairmanships and assignments, but using Bayh's example goes far beyond acceptable, as it wouldn't be applied to just Lieberman, but against other troublesome Senators as well when political expedience is the desired outcome.
As was pointed out above as well, another problem with Bayh's contention is that the Dems can easily strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanships, a possibility on Bizarroworld, but not Planet Earth.
It's true this is no longer a "center-right" country politically, but the Democrats sure seem anxious to govern like it is.
But something else.
The vote on Lieberman will happen later this morning, and while Lieberman may be told he can keep his committee chairmanships, if those assignments aren't given out today, then it's still not a done deal for Lieberman to keep the DHS gavel.
And that's how this situation could get even worse for Lieberman, namely, the secret vote says Lieberman keeps his DHS chaimanship, but the ensuing anger and rage from the party base requires the Dems to strip him of his precious DHS oversight, and do so before the next Congress is sworn in.
However, if the Democrats are stupid enough to let an obvious ne'erdowell like Lieberman keep his chairmanships, especially the DHS committee, then the party deserves every single bit of woe & grief it will get from both Joe and the liberal base irate that, once again, they get pushed to the side while still being begged for votes and financial contributions.
Now, even though it has absolutely NO chance of actually happening, what I'd like to see would be President Obama pick Joe Lieberman to actually run the Dept. of Homeland Security, and then, after Lieberman's confirmed, the Dept of Homeland Security is abolished.
Labels: Willful Stupidity