1 p.m. ET: Senate Democrats have spoken, deciding to keep Joe Lieberman atop the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee while stripping him of a relatively minor subcommittee chairmanship. And now the liberal blogosphere is speaking too, and it's not happy.
The prevailing Netroots view of Lieberman (which is by no means unified) has shifted quite a bit over the last several months. After initially advocating that Lieberman be booted out of the Democratic Caucus altogether, most prominent liberal blogs have said in recent days that they simply want the ideologically ambidextrous senator to lose that which he loves most -- the Homeland Security gavel. The fact that he won't is not going over well on the Left.
Daily Kos takes umbrage at the fact that Harry Reid even calls Lieberman a Democrat. "Yo Harry, the people of Connecticut spoke to that one. Lieberman is not a Democrat," Kos writes. "But hey, the American people voted for change in 2006, and they voted for change in 2008, and both years, the Senate made sure to slap the American people in the face. So why should this have been any different? There isn't a more tone-deaf group of people anywhere in this country than inside the U.S. Senate."
As Greg Sarget sums it up at TPMElectionCentral, "Senate Dems will be allowing Lieberman to keep his plum spot ... despite the fact that he endorsed efforts by the GOP to imply that Obama is in league with terrorists, suggested that Obama endangered our troops, and said Obama hasn't always put the country first." And Matt Stoller at OpenLeft writes, "I sort of get tired of making this point, but Democratic leaders are often not on our side, they often don't agree with us, and it's foolish to consider them as teammates. They aren't."
The blogosphere's complaints go beyond simply saying that Lieberman should be stripped of his chairmanship because he said nasty things about Barack Obama. Many liberals really want Lieberman gone from his chairmanship because they think he's wrong on many of the issues the Homeland panel handles.
But Senate Democrats don't seem overly concerned at attracting the scorn of the blogosphere. They only have to run every six years, and how many of them are genuinely vulnerable to a primary challenge from the Left? On the bright side for liberals, Kagro X notes that this will be "good for the blogging business, the way a Sarah Palin victory would have been good for the late night comedy business."
8 a.m. ET: Will he or won't he? That question -- whether Barack Obama will hand the Foggy Bottom keys to Hillary Clinton -- continues to drown out all other political news this morning: The meeting with John McCain, the floundering auto bailout, the Joe Lieberman vote, even Sarah Palin, budding author.
Judging from the coverage, the scales seem tilted more toward "will" than "won't." Our cousins at the Guardian claim it's a done deal, though no other outlets go that far. The vetting of Bill Clinton continues apace, and remains the largest hurdle left to clear (though there are some in Obamaland who just don't like the idea, period, regardless of the Bill question). Is it possible that the longer the job dangles out there, the better the chance some deal-killing story/scandal will break?
And if you're wondering why Clinton might want to take this job, rather than stay in the Senate and carve out a role as a master legislator, look no further than this CongressDaily story about health care reform. The story notes that the top four members of the Senate Finance and HELP committees will meet today on the subject. Clinton "will not be at the meeting, although [Max] Baucus said he did talk recently with her about pitfalls to avoid while attempting to overhaul health care this time around." Got that? Clinton won't be at the table when health care gets hammered out, but they will consult her about what NOT to do.
Along with possibly bringing Clinton into the Cabinet, Obama has been busy reaching out to other former foes. His meeting with McCain Monday was largely uneventful, the two men reportedly discussing cooperation on defense spending reform, corporate welfare (oh boy, a bipartisan commission! Call John Danforth), climate change and a handful of other topics.
And another Obama campaign trail antagonist,Lieberman, looks relatively safe at today's vote. He will likely get to keep the chairmanship of the Homeland Security panel but may instead lose a subcommittee gavel. If Obama's REALLY looking to reach out, forge a compromise, shake things up, and so on, how about Lieberman for Secretary of State? We hear the job is still available.
November 18, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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