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Charity For All. Even Lieberman.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Joe Lieberman's spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, wore an anxious look as he waited for his boss to emerge from the session with his fellow Senate Democrats. But he insisted all is well. "It's all love and harmony, kumbaya," he said. "They're in there singing campfire songs."

For additional reassurance, he quoted Lincoln: "With malice toward none, with charity for all. . ."

At 11:40 a.m., Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia) left the old chamber and broke the news to those outside: A 42-13 vote to let Lieberman keep his job on the homeland security committee, but to condemn his behavior and deny him his subcommittee chairmanship on the environment committee. "We reject and disapprove of what he did," Harkin affirmed.

The Democratic senators made their way to the microphones in a show of unity, but Lieberman was one of the last out of the room. "He's coming," Missouri's Claire McCaskill said. "I promise, he's coming."

Lieberman was beaming. "It went well," he attested. Any injuries? "No," he said with a laugh. "I'm intact." He took his limited punishment with thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another aplomb. "I appreciate very much that the resolution passed," he said with another laugh. "I look forward to continuing my work on the homeland services committee." What's more, he added, "I'm very happy. I'm very grateful."

Others did not sound so happy. "Well, I don't think there were more than 20 lashes in the whole thing," said Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

Lautenberg said "there was obviously an overwhelming majority to reinstate" but made it sound as if he wasn't part of that majority. "I voted, like everybody else," he said. How did he vote? "Quickly."

As for Lieberman, Lautenberg said, "He was a bad boy. C'mon, no one's congratulating him for it, for his support for the other side."

Lieberman wiggled his way into the knot of Democrats standing at the microphones. Harry Reid was grudgingly acknowledging that Lieberman would stay in the caucus.

"Can we ask him to come to the microphone?" a reporter asked.

"Senator Lieberman will have all kinds of time to talk to you at a later time," Reid replied.

But the apostate managed to persuade his colleagues to surrender the floor to him.

"Did you say you're sorry?" CNN's Ted Barrett asked.

"Well," the black sheep replied, "I expressed my regret."

By Dana Milbank  | November 18, 2008; 1:38 PM ET
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Interesting end to this affair. It certainly wasn't the way I would have handled it, but you have to wonder about the quid pro quos demanded behind closed doors. Sen. Lieberman conducted minimal oversight of the outgoing Republican administration on the Homeland Security Committee, and it may be that some Democrats would like this to continue when Obama is President.

From the other side, of course, an even simpler explanation is that if Lieberman were forced off Homeland Security, his replacement as chairman would be the very elderly Daniel Akaka of Hawaii. That wouldn't be an ideal outcome, either.

Posted by: jbritt3 | November 18, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse


ALL of them.

A known Zionist liar and turncoat as the head of this country's HOMELAND SECURITY?

I call them traitors.

Posted by: mommadona00 | November 18, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

This may not be the end I imagined, however I see Obama's impact already showing up on hills like a new sunrise. The bitterness is fading away like the darkness runaway from the sun in the morning.

Have a great day to everyone !

Posted by: yeda924 | November 18, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So you can do any kind of dishonorable thing and it's perfectly ok as long as you are voting along with the Democrats. Sounds like the politics of the last eight years.

This is why the Democrats are always the party of failure. Given enough rope they always hang themselves....

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | November 18, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Grave error.

Posted by: hakafos44 | November 18, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

buzzsaw -- seems to me that the party who lost is the part of failure, loser. Get used to it. Your party is dead and irrelevant.

Too bad about Liebrman. Obama is too good for his own good. Old Joe will find a way to undermine Dems... he always has.

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Senator Lieberman is free to support any candidate that he wishes. However, he is clearly dangerous. His speech at RNC
1- I am a democrat (the beginning)
2-Obama is eloquent but has no record
3- Obama has no bi-partisan bills
4- Sarah palin is extremely qualified
5- Obama did not balance the budget

1- Lie
2- Lie
3- Lie
4- Lie
4 - How can a senator balance the budget of America?

Connecticut did a great disservice to America by voting for this traitor and a shameless liar. He has no principles, convictions, or character.

I am concerned about what Lieberman and Palin will do in the future.

Posted by: DrCha | November 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I have to wonder if this is on some level a gesture to John McCain. McCain and Lieberman are good friends; if Obama wants to be able to bring in McCain on some of his initiatives in the future, maybe he needs to refrain from punishing someone McCain sees as a loyal ally.

Posted by: Jenny6 | November 18, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman knows he's got to walk the line, now - don't let the laughing and cheerful appearance fool anyone. I'm sure he's also well aware that Americans don't see him as "Mr. Popular", right now. He wants to keep that chair on the Homeland Security Committee, and the Democrats can use that card in their back pocket if the need arises.

Posted by: ohalvey | November 18, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

One can hardly ignore the role of AIPAC in keeping its senator in a position of power.

Posted by: johnalene | November 18, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The Honorable Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, "the conscious of the Senate", is like the jews in WWII who conspired with the Nazis to kill and enslave their own people. And then when the tide ran the other way, ran back to confess their confusion, their sorrows, and their sins and beg forgiveness from the victors. As bad as the Nazis, were the traitors: the scum who continuously sniff the winds of power, and align accordingly.

Now, he's back among the fold of the loyal Democrats - the party of reparations and redemption. How precious. How restorative. How perfect.

God is in his Heaven, and Joe Lieberman is back among his "colleagues". And all is right with the Senate.. and the world.

For the moment.

Thanks much. HLB

Posted by: HLBeckPE | November 18, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ohalvey. Or, to sort of quote John McCain, we've got him right where we want him. Lieberman's position on Iraq at this point is irrelevant. The withdrawal ship has sailed. I have to believe that the caucus has exacted some serious concessions from Lieberman about his behavior in the Caucus. He's now beholden to Obama for letting bygones be bygones. Lieberman may not be entirely a eunuch, but he's darn close.

Posted by: cyberfly | November 18, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Your assessment and description are right on the mark.

As for the Democrats need his vote in case they should actually try to stop a Republican filibuster, what on earth makes them think they can count on him?

They are going to self-destruct. Again.

Posted by: cclady1 | November 18, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with cclady1.

What can the Democrats do when - not if - Lieberman again double-crosses the Democratic majority? Can they toss him out of the committee chairmanship at any time? I have not read what rules apply here.

Posted by: JC505 | November 18, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

After all those stories from the grass roots of people who knocked on doors and took money from their grocery money to make things different, this never mind all that good old boys club makes me want to vomit.

Posted by: SarahBB | November 18, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman couldn't carry his own election district as a Democrat. Kos is right:the guy is a snake. And the fact that Reid and Dodd support him in a position in which he holds oversight over the new government marks them as unindicted co-conspirators. They show us how little is to be expected from a group of political hacks. Next time we'll clean house more thoroughly.

Posted by: valerieprintemps | November 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

How dare he?
What sort treasonous apostate would actually put his nation and the long-term stability of the most volatile region on earth ahead of partisan loyalty?

If ignorance were an exportable commodity all of our financial problems would be solved!

Posted by: dcn1 | November 18, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

We know where his loyalties lie.

Posted by: dexterpeabody | November 18, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is a disgrace to the Democrats. He has spent the last year trashing them and their candidate and he pays no penalties. The Republicans are just as bad. They embraced a man who is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, only because he embraced the war in Iraq.

Let's face it - Lieberman went Republican because they were the party that promised to kill the most Muslims.

Posted by: wj03412000 | November 18, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Next thing Obama will be asking GWB to head up Education. Quality picks so far, all of them. Change you wanted to believe in, but will not get!!

Posted by: MYSTICMOUSE44 | November 18, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The vote to retain Lieberman in his chairmanship is clear and compelling evidence why Democrats spend more time in the political wilderness than Republicans. Given similar circumstances, the Republicans would have tossed him out on his ear. Even now they're laughing up their sleeves at the outcome.

Posted by: Diogenes | November 18, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Why was this a secret vote???? We need to know the names of the senators who voted for this traitor of the party and the country!

Where is the freedom of information act when you need it.

We know Dodd, Bayh and a couple of others backed him. Who else???

Posted by: RandomGuy | November 18, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

If Lieberman EVER votes with the GOP on cloture on ANY issue or if he EVER votes with the GOP on any important issue, then the Dems could and should revisit this decision. It's bad enough to have scum like him in the caucus, but if they don't get his vote when they need it then out he should go.

Posted by: dolph924 | November 18, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Yet again the Democrats show they have no spine. What's the point of voting for people who stand for nothing, do nothing, and accomplish nothing?

I'm sure Joe Lieberman got a strong talking-to. I'm sure he was told to toe the line, watch his back, and not act up. Whatever. Now he knows that nothing will happen when he disobeys. Now we all know that to cross the all-powerful Democratic Congress will result in . . . a stern lecture and maybe a little indignant harrumphing for good measure. Heavens to Betsy!

Posted by: simpleton1 | November 18, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

One word: Pathetic.

Posted by: CapitalClmate | November 18, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman's reprieve is a big mistake. It might seem like the charitable thing to do, forgive and forget, but what about all the victims?

What victims??? How about every one of us who'se had to stand by and watch our country's honor and good name dragged through the gutter by the neocon Bush administration.

Year after dismal year, we've had to watch Bush and his supporters recklessly tinkering with the machinery of our society while heaping abuse on anyone critical of their hairbrained schemes.

To have one of your own stab you in the back during a bitter fight is the worst of all the sins.

Posted by: fredfawcett | November 18, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Known Zionists Rahm Israel Emmanuel as white house chief of staff and Joe Lieberman as head of the homeland security committee?

What gives?

With respect to the middle east, can this country ever act in its own self interest for a change? Incredible!

Posted by: ZedBasha | November 18, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Thoroughly disgusting! They should've nailed his Judas @ss to the cross.

Posted by: tydicea | November 18, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman chose the path that would get him the most attention, of course. The man was born grandstanding. His narcissism forms the very foundation of his personality.

And as a Senator he's too jumpy and fear-mongering to be trusted in any security chairmanship .. lest we forget, this is the same guy who tried to prompt Petraeus into advocating invading Iran. Lieberman is shall we say a dubious character.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | November 18, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice for once to see the Democrats do the right thing....instead of the thing that will insure votes.

The guy basically stabbed his colleagues in the back when the going was rough. He could not be counted on when the chips were down.

To reward him with the chairmanship simply reinforces that he...and others can do the same thing with impunity.

It would take backbone and guts to relieve him of the position knowing that you might lose his vote in the future. Then again, isn't it backbone and guts that we are looking for in our Democratic leaders?

To leave him in place only in order to reap his vote later is spineless and unworthy of this administration.

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | November 18, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame Lieberman is the Chair of the Home Land Security Committee. The Democrats should have stripped him of that, but allowed him to stay in their caucus.

He was mentioned as a qualified replacement for Rumsfeld, that one who was all neocon.

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | November 18, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the party of weakness rears it's ugly head once again under the guise of coming together. What a pathetic display. 4 years and out if the Repugs can get their act together. Pelosi and Reid need some serious counseling. Such a joke.

Posted by: craigbrando | November 18, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman will soon show his colors to Democrats, AGAIN. Let'send a petition to Harry Reid about this.

Posted by: amndoye | November 18, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

It is all in the philosophy of CHANGE with which President elect started his campaign. Sen Liberman found it as an appropriate time to CHANGE his loyalties. The democrats also found that they need to CHANGE to get that magic number of 60. This is a simple case of CHANGING political philosophy. Change as a mantra works. What you need is proper timing.

Posted by: dvsikka | November 18, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

What "work on the Homeland Security Committee"? LIEberman has refused to investigate any of the abuses commited by Blackwater, or any corruption emanating from the Bush gang's no-bid contracts to assorted defense contractors. LIEberman is a Bushie through-and-through, and he will actively work against Obama unless his wings are clipped and he be relegated to insignificance.

Who cares if he caucuses with the Dems? He supported McCain, insulted our President-elect throughout the campaign, spoke at the republican convention, and, to this day, is campaigning for Coleman (a Republican) against Al Franken (a Democrat) in MN.

LIEberman is all about LIEberman. He is corrupt to the core. Let him caucus with the Reps: he is one of them.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | November 19, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

If this is any indication of the change the Democrats promised then I screwed up big time switching my party affiliation and voting for them. See ya in '12, liars. You betcha.

Posted by: patrick3 | November 19, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

What everyone forgets, on both sides, is that a representative works for his/her constituents, and they are the ones who will ultimately they can punish him/her for his/her representative behavior. The rest of this is just a game led by other people not qualified to be "bosses," and certainly not qualified to protect my interests. But all this does make good fodder for TV, papers/mags, and internet.

Posted by: rocketman2 | November 19, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I despise Lieberman, but the best revenge will be a successful Obama administration. I think the Democrats did the right thing.

Posted by: synykyl | November 19, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should have explained to him that "Homeland" means the USA, not Israel. This guy is a slimy scumbag. Too bad the "old boys' club" forgot to read the white paper that said "CHANGE." With any luck the people of Connecticut will do us a favor and dump this loser as soon as possible. He never was a Democrat and he still has the McCain sticker on his car to prove it.

Posted by: rmcdetal | November 19, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Something tells me that the president elect's chief of staff also had a talk with Lieberman. They are both jewish and were probably able to say some things that us gentiles couldn't say. I believe this will work out. It is ALWAYS good to turn the other cheek and take the high road.(I am agnostic - not a religious reference) The scenery is much better on the high road, the people you meet along the way are nicer and besides there isn't much traffic.

Posted by: valjalo1 | November 19, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Something tells me that the president elect's chief of staff also had a talk with Lieberman. They are both jewish and were probably able to say some things that us gentiles couldn't say. I believe this will work out. It is ALWAYS good to turn the other cheek and take the high road.(I am agnostic - not a religious reference) The scenery is much better on the high road, the people you meet along the way are nicer and besides there isn't much traffic.

Posted by: valjalo1 | November 19, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

As a Connecticut Democrat, I'm embarassed!

And, my gut wants to show Joe the door to the Republican caucus where he belongs. However, I, also, must ask who is his vice chair, or next in line for his committee chair, if everyone was so afraid of that person moving up. Must be a doozie.

In the long run, however, as an history buff, I'm glad to see that the idiotic, Senate, seniority tradition, pushed heavily by Dodd & Bayh, has allowed my Party to continue to employ the ethically challenged.

Why should we look different that the Bush Republicans after 8 years of aiding and abetting those moral & ethical failures? [That's sarcasm for those who can't identify it.]

Pehaps Mr. Reid should resign and go home before the Ghost of Mr. Sam (Rayburn for the younsters or those to addled to remeber.) come to haunt him for embarassing the Senate Democratic Party leadership traditions.

After over 40 years of working hard for the Democratic Party in Connecticut, after this, it will be all but impossible for me to lift a finger for Dodd next time.

Liberman, unfortunately, has 4 years left. For that I do apologize!

Posted by: JohninConnecticut | November 20, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, the invective unloaded on Joe...
It appears to this independant observer that the haters of Joe, just don't get it!
The DNC tried to run him off the reservation... They supported a new candidate over a sitting Senator - not an acton to endear the DNC to the voters in Joe's district...
The people of his district rejected the DNC - big time...
If the DNC were crap on Joe now, they could forget about electing a democrat in Joe's district for the next generation and Pelosi and Reid understand this...

The fact that the DNC had to eat crow (and you know they barely choked it down) by giving him back his major chairmanship with a tiny slap on the wrist, tells you that it is Joe in the drivers seat, not the DNC...
Those of you foaming at the mouth that Joe is a this or a that, don't realize that politics is dog eat dog, and Joe was the big dog in this fight...

The next four years are going to be a real hoot to watch...

Dr. O

Posted by: ad4hk2004 | November 20, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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