The Senate Democrats allowed Joe Lieberman to keep his powerful chairmanship because Barack Obama personally appealed for mercy toward the conniving little bastard, an act that I comprehend but cannot condone. The disconnect has a simple explanation: the President-elect is a bigger person than I am. He decided to use Holy Joe as an example of how post-partisan, inclusive, and forgiving of slings and arrows he can be. Obama is mature; bloggers who wanted to see the Senator from AIPAC publicly flogged, humiliated, and evicted are petty.
Call it petty if you must, but to dole out no punishment – not even the milquetoasty wrist-slap of re-assigning him to a different committee – is inexcusable for a man who used the past nine months to make patently clear that, if neoconservatism had an erect penis, he would promptly renounce heterosexuality and choke on it.
Joe Lieberman does not deserve punishment for supporting John McCain or failing to tow his party line. Joe Lieberman deserves punishment for being among the most aggressive, amoral, and purposefully deceptive sources of vile rhetoric against Obama, never forfeiting an opportunity to get his patronizing mug on camera to lend legitimacy to every piece of right-wing talk radio nonsense by having it come from the lips of a 'Democrat'. There is a difference between supporting the other guy and becoming his hit man. There is a difference between being a person in a crowd throwing stones and being the person leading the mob, handing out stones, and pointing out victims of opportunity. Supporting McCain would be a venial political sin among Democrats; what Lieberman did is a mortal one.
This is a man who happily carried water for not only McCain but every paranoid Bircherite fantasy of the wacky right. He noted that it's a "good question" to ask if Obama is "a Marxist." He confidently asserted that the discredited, irrelevant Obama-Ayers "issue" was "fair game." He spent months running around West Palm Beach and Broward Counties telling elderly Jewish voters that Obama was the anti-Israel boogeyman (and black!). He went on TV again and again channeling George W. Bush about Iraq. The "most progressive man ever to come out of Connecticut" decided that McCain is plenty progressive on social issues for his liking. He went from "we can't drill our way out of problems" (2005) to "Drill, Baby, Drill!" (2008). He thinks waterboarding is swell because it puts people "in no real danger." He "feared" that America "would not survive" if the Democrats (the people he claims to caucus with) hit 60 seats in the Senate. He earnestly declared that Sarah Palin is "ready to be President" and "will win with God's help." He served on the board of "Vets for Freedom", a tax-exempt, pro-war front for Obama-will-surrender-to-terrorism idiocy in bulk. He went on a speaking tour warming up crowds for Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. His support for old pal McCain apparently not craven enough, Lieberman worked his ass off to endanger Americans and the entire goddamn world by putting a vacuous hillbilly with a Jenny Jones makeover near the White House.
The Democrats, at the urging of the mainstream media, believe that centrist, stand-for-nothing "New Democrat" horseshit is the key to unlocking electoral success. "We can't expel Lieberman just to please Glenn Greenwald – we'll lose touch with Joe Six Pack!" Remember back in 2006 when Ned Lamont's primary victory over Lieberman was the harbinger of general election doom for the Democrats? It signaled a party over the edge, terrifying to mainstream America, and given over entirely to the rantings of socialist bloggers. We couldn't be too anti-War; Americans would never go for that! We have to take it easy; President Bush is still very popular and there is a Permanent Republican Majority, after all! The only way to win is to tone it down. Being Republican Lite is the best the other party can do. Such good advice. I would print it out and wipe my ass with it if doing so were not such a grievous insult to my ass and what passes through it.
The Democratic Party needs Joe Lieberman like I need a ballsack on my forehead; both are approximately as useful to their principals. What the Democratic Party needs is not 59 instead of 58. They need to take a goddamn stand on something, to have at least one principle for which they are willing to kick someone out of the tent. Joe Lieberman crossed every line he could find and Harry Reid and Obama have rewarded him with a political lifeline. Had they expelled him, he would have had to caucus with the GOP and essentially run as a Republican in 2012, at which point the Democratic candidate in CT would effortlessly dispatch him (if the recent loss by Christopher Shays is any indication).
The Democrats can never become like conservatives, constantly holding their own up to a battery of increasingly hysterical litmus tests. But in running from that paradigm they have risked becoming the Arizona State of political parties, resigned to churning out stupendous mediocrity by throwing open the doors and admitting every sentient mouthbreather who ambles through.
Fuck you, Joe. May you pay for your self-serving duplicity in the next life if not this one.