Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A modest heresy

Well, it looks like the Dems might even pick up the Senate after all - but it's gonna be a squeaker, and we won't know for weeks with all the recounts.

So let me propose something the Dems should absolutely do if they lose in Montana and Virginia, and something they should definitely consider doing even if they pick up both those seats: Let Lieberman hang.

Lieberman has been the useful idiot for the Bush administration, always willing to criticize Democrats for telling the truth about the war in Iraq, never willing to criticize the Bushies for their doing. Nevertheless, the Dems apparently promised Lieberman he could keep his committee seats so long as he votes with them.

Well, pardon my cynicism, but it won't last. Lieberman is going to keep being a patsy for Bush, and he might even jump ship entirely. Even if he doesn't, I think Harry Reid needs to take the first good opportunity to make an example of Lieberman, and strip him of his committee seats.

The downside, if the Republicans manage to take VA or MT, is basically zero - the loss of one wobbly Independent in the Senate doesn't change that facts of this election, and if the Dems don't control the Senate by 51 seats, the most they can do is filibuster anyway. Since nobody expects Joe Lieberman to seriously filibuster a Bush nominee anyway, I don't think that's a big loss.

My real hope is that the Dems win both seats in VA and MT, giving them 51 seats in the Senate - and then manage to peel off one or two of the moderate Republicans, like Jim Jeffords did in 2002. But even if punishing Lieberman would mean a 51-49 Senate became 50-50, I'd say it's worth considering. The Dems wouldn't lose much for a return to the 2001-02 era, when the Senate had shared power. This is especially true given that this time, the Dems will control the House.

I really, really don't like Lieberman. He supports a bad war, ran a nasty campaign, and only got re-elected because he's a Republican-in-all-but-name. He is also an awful Democrat on a whole lot of other policy issues, and Reid might profit from instilling some party discipline in his people.

Anyway, that's my pitch.

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