Lieberman Party Switch?
Jason Smith asks, “[W]ouldn’t it be ironic, if the man Democrats threw to the wolves, Joe Lieberman, decided the best payback to his disloyal colleagues was to pull a Jeffords?”
Yes. Yes it would.
It would also be, as it was in Jeffords’ case, quite despicable.
Like his political twin, John McCain, Lieberman is an opportunist who has ironically managed to portray himself in the press as a courageous man of principle.
After losing in the Democratic primary, entry into which is implicitly (and perhaps explicitly) a pledge to support the outcome of that contest, Lieberman decided to go for a second bite of the apple as a so-called Independent. He hired a Republican polling and political strategy firm (one that employs my wife). He bashed Democrats for their stance on the war.
Yet, all the while, he pledged to caucus with the Democrats if re-elected. The voters of Connecticut who pulled the lever (or pressed the pad, or whatever mechanism is currently in use there) for him with the expectation that he would do that. It is, therefore, his duty to do just that.
If, for some reason, he decides over the next six years that he can not in good conscience continue to work with Harry Reid and Company–or they deny him a committee chairmanship he feels is rightly his–he has the right to change his mind. At that point, though, the honorable thing to do is to resign his post and stand for re-election as a Republican or Independent-Leaning-Republican or whatever.
If he does that, I’ll happily welcome Lieberman to the Big Tent. If he pulls a Jeffords, the Republican leadership has little choice but to accept the gift and cut a deal, just as we would with any traitor. But he should be held in the same contempt as we now hold Jeffords.
UPDATE: More from the Hartford Courant:
Now that he’s won re-election as a petitioning candidate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is pledging to remain a Democrat, if for no other reason than to keep his 18 years’ seniority in the Senate. “I’ll sign up with the caucus to protect my seniority,” Lieberman said Wednesday. “My seniority is important to my ability to deliver for the state of Connecticut.”
Lieberman briefly joked about how the Republicans might coax him into joining the GOP, a switch that could keep the closely divided Senate under Republican control. “There is a little playfulness in me that wants me to make a joke about that, but it’s too serious. The answer is no,” he said. “When I give my word I stick with it, and I am definitely going to organize with the Senate Democrats.”