The Plank

More Smart Lieberman Talk

This time from Marc Ambinder, who makes a key point:

It's true that he'll have subpoena power over the new administration,
but the idea that he'll be a serious political player in the coming
term is frankly laughable. If Joe Lieberman wants to wage a one-man
crusade against President Obama, he can certainly do so, but it's hard
to imagine him winning such a fight, or even making himself look good
by losing. Most likely, Obama will bring Lieberman back into the fold
graciously, and he'll vote with the Democrats, and occasionally go on
Meet The Press to express his disappointment about something or other.
He seems to enjoy being a scold, but there's no evidence he has the the belly to be Ken
Starr.  

Of all the things Democrats should be worrying about right now, Lieberman isn't one of them. If he does keep his Homeland Security chairmanship, it's pretty doubtful he'll use it to cause major headaches for the Dems. For one, that's just not his style, as Ambinder points out. Secondly, it's not in his self-interest. Over the past eight years, Lieberman got cachet (and mucho TV appearances) from associating himself with a Republican president and a Republican presidential nominee. But with Obama in the White House, the incentive structure changes. Yes, Lieberman might be an occasional thorn in Obama's side, as he was in Clinton's during the Monica stuff. But that's very different from the stark vision some liberals are painting--of Lieberman using his subpoena power to torpedo Obama. 

Does Lieberamn deserve payback for taking the low road against Obama in this past election? Undoubtedly. But if payback is the best reason for stripping him of his chairmanship, that's not reason enough.

P.S. I know, I know, it's not only payback but it's serving notice to other Dems not to do what Lieberman did. But, seriously, do you think there are any Democrats out there thinking to themselves, "Gee, I wish I could be like Joe Lieberman"?

--Jason Zengerle

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