Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Senate Democrats Let Lieberman Keep Chairmanship

By a margin of 42 to 13, Senate Democrats have overwhelmingly voted to let Joe Lieberman keep his Chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee despite his support for John McCain and his prominent role at the Republican National Convention in September.

They did so because they need Lieberman on their side not out of the kindness of their bleeding hearts. While things look good for Democrats in Alaska and Minnesota it would be a monumental upset if Saxby Chambliss lost Georgia. The Democrats need 60 seats in order to prevent fillibusters and invoke cloture. If they lose any of those three races they need Lieberman's vote. It is worth remembering that although Lieberman was re-elected in 2006 as an Independent he still caucuses with the Democrats and votes with him most of the time.

However, if the Democrats should prevail in those other three states one wonders if Lieberman will then be deemed expendable and his chairmanship will be revisited by his Democratic Senate colleagues. President-elect Obama has let it be known that he doesn't want Lieberman removed and this also undoubtedly helped him. He also doesn't want Lieberman to become a martyr for the GOP. It will be interesting to see what direction Obama goes if Senate Democrats want to revisit this in the new year.

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