War Vote Excuse for Lieberman to Bolt Democratic Caucus?

Michael Illions, Lorie Byrd, and Matt Margolis all wonder if today’s vote by the Senate to tie funding of the war to a departure timeline will be the push Joe Lieberman needs to bolt the Democratic caucus and, in effect, fire Harry Reid.

I rather doubt it. In addition to my oft-expressed view that a formal alliance with the GOP after having campaigned on a promise to caucus with the Democrats would be incredibly sleazy, I just don’t see what’s in it for Lieberman. He’s made a lot of hay over the years being able to rant against the moral failings of his party’s leadership without actually having to do anything. I can’t imagine he’ll change course now.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    I quite agree. If Joe were ever to formally ditch the Democrats & join the GOP, it’d only be for a specific, juicy reward, not in a petty snit in response to a particular vote. He’s many things, that Joe, but not stupid.

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    I’ve heard over and over how the Iraq war is “the” issue for both today’s politics and the politics of the 2008 election. Perhaps Lieberman’s stand on this has some principle behind it.

    Leiberman has made it very clear where he stands on this and what the consequences could be if Dems don’t quit making political hay over it. Following through on those warnings is not “incredibly sleazy”. This is not a stab in the back or the move of an opportunist. It has been talked about for years now.

    As James Joyner says “I just don’t see what’s in it for Leiberman”, exactly, with nothing obvious to gain we can assume a sacrifice for principle. However, in what could be the effective firing of Harry Reid he would accomplish something even David Broder thinks would be good.

  3. Tano says:

    AS I understand it, the Senate rules do not allow for a change in Senate organization (ie majority status) in mid-term unless specified in the organizing resolution (which it was in 2000, and was not this year).

  4. jpe says:

    What Tano said. The cited righty bloggers are close to retarded. I’d seriously think twice before citing Wizbang on the sky being blue.

  5. just me says:

    I think the idea or even hope that Lieberman will switch is rediculous.

    Lieberman will certainly vote with the GOP on some issues, but at heart he is still a liberal democrat that leans to the write of the party’s center.

    To switch parties gains him very little, and gains the GOP very little. It may be fun to speculate, but I don’t see it happening.

  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft says:

    Looks like Steve Plunk nailed it and the rest of you who cannot understand taking a moral stand on anything you believe in are lost as it is beyond your imagination someone doing this. Maybe Lieberman is more interested in being a statesman rather then a politician. You know the difference don’t you? A statesman thinks of the next generation, a politician thinks of the next election.

  7. LJD says:

    Lieberman makes profound statements about the war, and all we can do is analyze his politics? Are we that far gone?
    I recommend reviewing his transcript from yesterday. He has the guts to expose the ugly side of cut and run that his colleagues ignore.

  8. cian says:

    Has there ever been a dumber, deafer, more blind administration than the one we are presently lumbered with? They really do have no idea of what they have done to America and Iraq.

    As of today there are 1.2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, 750,000 in Jordan, 150,000 in Lebanon, 150,000 in Egypt and around 1.9 million people displaced within the country. While we post our comments and take time to frame our arguments just so, millions of Iraqi parents are attempting to find food, fresh water, warm clothing, medicine and a modicum of protection for their children, and millions of children are watching their parents’ struggles and humiliations on a daily basis. The hate that, rightly or wrongly, is being stored up for America is unimaginable and will be the legacy our generation leaves to the next.

    Most tragic of all is the long standing fact that it didn’t have to be this way. Outside of Bush diehards and deadeneders, the country now realises that Saddam was no threat to our country, had no connection to 9/11 or Al Qaeda, and was being contained. Instead, the real perpetrators of that attack are re-building their network in the hills of Northern Pakistan.

    Today, instead of living with one mass murderer (Saddam), Iraqis are now living with millions.

    Can someone please explain why continuing this disaster is good for the Iraqis or us?

  9. LJD says:

    Can someone please explain why continuing this disaster is good for the Iraqis or us?

    Liberman presented the very same question of cutting and running, for many of the same reasons you cite insupport of your “outrage”.

  10. cian says:


    Where can I find the transcript of his speech?