His Senate colleagues voted today to allow Sen. Joe Lieberman to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. (Oh, yes, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. I have never quite figured out what a government affairs committee is supposed to do. Isn’t government affairs what the Senate itself is supposed to do?)
For those who are still angry at Lieberman for campaigning against Barack Obama during the presidential election, have no fear. There’s something for you, too. (After all, this is Congress — candy for everybody!) The senators voted to boot Lieberman off of the environmental something-something committee and confiscate his global somethingorother subcommittee gavel.
It was actually a smart move. Had the Senate Democrats taken out the knives, the bloodletting would have undermined President-Elect Obama’s effort to launch his new administration, along with a new and more powerful Democratic majority in Congress, under a banner of unity, bipartisanship and progress. Moreover, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell would have been waiting in the back alley, ready to whisper in Lieberman’s ear and lure him one step further entirely into the Republican fold. While the Democrats do indeed have a stronger grasp on the majority than they did prior to the election, they can hardly afford to offer free seats to the opposition. Or worse, if Lieberman had up and quit, the Republican Governor of Connecticut would have been able to appoint a solid Republican to the seat. Finally, it lets poor Sen. Chris Dodd out of the awkward position of having to alienate one segment of his constituency or another by taking a stand on the burning Connecticut political question of “What to do with Old Joe.”