Lieberman,SchmiebermanOnce again, Tweety is wrong. I heard Chris Matthews say on election night that Joe Lieberman was in the catbird's seat, that he would hold a great deal of power in the new Congress, and a colleague repeated this to me Thursday. Actually, not so much. Lieberman is neutered, as Kos points out:
And Joe said yesterday: "Call me a Democrat."
Furthermore, Lieberman will caucus with the Democrats. That's fine. Hopefully he's learned his lesson and will actually go back to representing the people of Connecticut. If he does, he'll be fine in six years. If he doesn't, he'll be right back where we started and will face an even more mature people-powered movement. And all he has to do is look at the 2008 Senate calendar, and the almost dozen serious Democratic pickup opportunities, to realize that any thoughts of switching parties would be a short term power-play at best.
Lieberman has been neutered. If he leaves the caucus for short-term gain, he loses all leverage and power and harms his long-term interests. Yet he doesn't stay in the caucus as a Democrat, but as an independent. And in that capacity he can criticize the Democratic Party all he wants without it being a story of "Democrats versus Democrats". He can flirt with Bush without it being a case of "bipartisanship".
In any case, Lieberman is the old. An artifact of a bygone era. Let him sunset in the Senate as we look to our future leaders -- people like Tester, Webb, Klobuchar, Brown, McCaskill, Whitehouse, and so many exciting new faces in the U.S. House.