by idiosynchronic | 11/08/2008 01:47:00 PM
This is one of those very rare times that I think we should bump up a previous topic - Lieberman now desperately wants to keep committee chairmanship.
This seems to be routinely overlooked, but take a moment to consider what the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs actually does: it's the committee principally responsible for oversight of the executive branch. It's an accountability committee, charged with investigating the conduct of the White House and the president's administration.

. . And yet, now Lieberman acts as if keeping this chairmanship is the single most important part of his public life. Why would he be so desperate to keep the gavel of a committee he hasn't used? I'll let you in on a secret: he wants to start using the power of this committee against Obama.
In regards to the article, it would make sense to offer Joe a Deal He Can't Refuse: an administration appointment that is honorable but without real power or ability to harm the administration's goals, or be thrown out of the caucus and be stripped of his committees. Or at the very least, placed in direct responsibility of the Executive and given a very short leash. Now, that would be keeping your rivals closer than your friends in the Lincoln tradition argued by Team of Rivals.

With this very vivid example, what would an Obama Administration looking to keep potential rivals, irregardless of partisanship, look like?



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Blogger Jeremy Young on 11/08/2008 2:05 PM:

I'm not sure I buy this argument, though I've certainly seen it a lot of places in the last few days. I don't think Lieberman has a pathological hatred of Obama that's going to turn him into a latter-day Ken Starr against the leader of the party he still claims as his own. If anything, I think maybe he wants to protect people like Chertoff from investigation. More likely he just wants to keep power, both because he's a drama queen and because it may help him get reelected ("vote for the chairman of homeland security, not the guy who's going to lack seniority").


Blogger Ahistoricality on 11/08/2008 4:46 PM:

I don't think Lieberman has a pathological hatred of Obama

I can't think of too many other explanations, short of a file of embarassing illegal wiretaps and photos somewhere in the bowels of RNC headquarters. Lieberman's behavior since 2000 (and I'm starting to wonder about his behavior during, too) has been obstructionist and disloyal. He's behaved like a Republican, and should be treated as such. I thought he should have been stripped of his seniority when he dropped the party, anyway, but this is just nuts.

I don't think he should be given any administrative responsibility: there's no evidence that he's got any useful administrative talent, and I wouldn't trust him with anything like insider information. I wouldn't give him an ambassadorship, either: loose cannons in embassies have gotten us into trouble before.

I think he's been damned lucky that his original primary loss hasn't resulted in any penalties until now. He should count his blessings.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 11/08/2008 5:28 PM:

I can't think of too many other explanations

I think he has a pathological need to be loved. The Republicans show him lots of love because they want some of his votes. He knows that if he actually switches parties, they'll stop being quite so interested in him (and they'll be annoyed by his liberal votes on some issues). So he gets as close to them as he can without actually becoming one of them, to feed his craving for love.

I don't think it's about politics at all. And if I'm right, Id's idea of giving him a ceremonial executive position might just be the perfect way to give him the love he needs while shutting him up for good.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 11/08/2008 7:08 PM:

My first problem with that, Jeremy, is that I can't think of a position which is suitable grand without also carrying the danger that he would use the power and public attention it garners to undermine the administration and party.

What's required is a position that is both self-important, politically pointless and which requires the utmost discretion. Could we make him a federal judge?

Here's my other problem: he could have garnered a hell of a lot of goodwill and positive attention from Democrats if he'd used his oversight authority over the last two years instead of playing footsie with the Republicans. I understand the "Senator scorned" thing, what with losing the primary, but that suggests that there really is no way to engage him without giving up more than we can afford.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 11/08/2008 10:27 PM:

I should clarify that I hate Joe Lieberman and want him gone from the caucus. I'm just trying to figure out the best way of doing that.

I've got the perfect job for him: Postmaster General.


Anonymous Ralph Luker on 11/09/2008 1:50 AM:

Appointing Lieberman to an administrative position probably gives the Republican governor of Connecticut the chance to appointment a Republican replacement for him. I'd like to see Chris Shays, for example, as a Senator from Connecticut, but you might not.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 11/10/2008 4:56 PM:

That's a sticky wicket....