But Jay Newton-Small makes the case for showing Lieberman mercy.
Obama wasn't just acting out of bipartisan good will. In supporting Lieberman's continued inclusion in the Democratic caucus, he may have effectively defanged his toughest potential opponent in the Senate Democratic caucus. If Lieberman is anything, as he proved with John McCain, he's loyal — and now he owes Obama a big one. His job over the next few years, for the first time in his long political career, is to keep quiet.I wanted to make an example of Lieberman. The fear of many on the left that Lieberman will suddenly start using his chairmanship to launch Gingrichsque investigations of the new administration is irrational. The equally irrational response was that if he did, he would just be removed from chair as if it were that easy.
The move is especially savvy because Obama — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — know that in order to achieve virtually anything on the Democrats' long list of ambitious legislation they will need every vote they can possibly get in the Senate. Obama's biggest challenge in both chambers of Congress will be keeping the varying factions of his own party together, especially more liberal members and the more conservative so-called Blue Dog Democrats. To that end Lieberman can be an asset, especially in helping to convince his fellow moderate members in the so-called Gang of 14, including some Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
But JN-S is being naive if she thinks Lieberman will suddenly feel obligated to dance when Obama snaps his fingers. Obama campaigned for Joe in his 2006 primary challenge by the netroots and Ned Lamont and that didn't stop Joe from telling anyone who would listen that it was reasonable to suspect Obama of treason.
Lieberman is a first class, self-serving Jackass who the voters of Connecticut have inflicted on the nation.