Senator Lieberman clearly doesn’t believe in accepting political responsibility for his active support of Senator McCain for President. He wants the benefit of voting with the Democrats, while having actively opposed the Democratic Party nominee for President, now President-Elect Obama. Lieberman has no shame.
President-Elect Obama exercised graciousness when he said Lieberman should not be kicked out of the Democratic caucus. Obama is right. But that still means the Senate Democrats, as a caucus and a party, have a responsibility to deny Lieberman the Chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.
Let me be clear. Lieberman is not being punished for votes cast as a legislator, such as his support for the Iraq war. That is between him and Connecticut voters. They have another issue with him. He has visited Connecticut for 8 days after his 2006 election and prior to November 4. His absence reflect his abandonment of Connecticut voters.
Majority Whip Durbin of Illinois and Senate Campaign Chairman Schumer of New York understand party responsibility. They are leading the effort behind the scenes to block Lieberman. The media should be asking each Democratic Senator, including the new ones, where do they stand on Lieberman’s Chairmanship.
Obama wisely said not to give Lieberman the severe decree of expulsion from the caucus. Durbin and Schumer expect Lieberman to accept responsibility for his actions. He won’t. Senate Democrats, therefore, need to act.
Even if the Democrats win the remaining undecided Senate races, Lieberman’s Chairmanship is not needed to reach 60 votes to end filibusters. Effective control of the Senate belongs to the Democrats even if they do not add another seat. Furthermore, Senate Democrats will not always be united. Any major issue will require negotiations with the small band of non-ideological Republican moderates.
What can Lieberman do? Break his pledge to the Connecticut voters and organize with the Republicans, join the Republicans, or resign from the Senate and allow a moderate Republican Governor to appoint a Republican to the Senate. A resignation would effectively end Lieberman’s public life. And it would not weaken Senate Democrats.
Senate Democrats have no excuses. They should strip Lieberman of his Chairmanship of the important Senate Committee on Homeland Security. The succeeding Chairman would either be Senator Akaka of Hawaii or Senator Carper of Delaware. Each is capable and progressive. There is every reason for the Senate to act within the next week.
This post originally appeared on Experience Advocacy.