Lieberman Must Go Once and for All
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Democrats are on the verge of heeding our calls to boot Joe Lieberman from the caucus. Soon after the Democrats' landslide victory, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confronted the Connecticut Democrat-turned-Independent-turned-McCain cheerleader about his vicious attacks against Obama during the past year. According to The Huffington Post, Reid sought to strip Lieberman of his rank as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It is a move that's long overdue.
There's no question that Lieberman must be punished for behaving like a right-wing attack dog. In addition to campaigning with John McCain and speaking at the Republican National Convention, Lieberman has embraced neoconservative views on the Iraq war to the detriment of his former party. He has also maligned President-elect Obama throughout this election, trumpeting some of the most vile smears the GOP had to offer. And yet Democrats have been reluctant to kick him to the curb until now out of fears of losing their slim majority in the Senate (which was always something of a dubious concern, considering Lieberman still put the Dems in the minority by voting with Republicans time and time again on national security issues and the Iraq war).
Make no mistake, Lieberman cannot be trusted. Not only is he a Republican, but he is the kind of Republican who embodies the divisive, hawkish agenda and fear-mongering espoused by George Bush, Dick Cheney, and John McCain. Perhaps that is why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has invited Lieberman to join the Republican party once and for all. Of course, Lieberman is also an opportunist, so if the Democrats offer him another gavel within the party like Chairmanship of Veterans' Affairs (a colossal mistake considering his heinous record of voting against vets), Lieberman is likely to take it.
While the Democrats vacillate about what to do with Lieberman, we have to make our message clear. As David Sirota points out at Open Left, it is extremely dangerous for Lieberman to remain chair of the Homeland Security Committee, particularly when that position gives him subpoena power to investigate the Obama administration. But it would be equally harmful to keep Lieberman in the caucus altogether. Lieberman Must Go -- the sooner, the better.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.