Lieberman Hints That He May Not Follow Dave Weigel's Advice


Earlier this month, my very politically perspicacious colleague Dave Weigel advised Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFL-Conn.) not to switch to the Republican caucus and thus flip the Senate. However, Politico is reporting that the senator may ignore this advice if the senate Democrats try to defund the war in Iraq. To wit:
"I have no desire to change parties," Lieberman said in a telephone interview. "If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don't feel comfortable with."
Asked whether that hasn't already happened with Iraq, Lieberman said: "We will see how that plays out in the coming months," specifically how the party approaches the issue of continued funding for the war."

Hmmm. I wonder what extra goodies, e.g., committee assignments, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is offering Lieberman for the jump?


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  1. There are about a half dozen GOP Senators from the west (and Maine) who think this is a great idea.

  2. “When Jim Jeffords defected in 2001, Senate Democrats got to elect Tom Daschle Majority Leader and assumed control of all the committees. But that was only because earlier in the year Daschle and Trent Lott had explicitly agreed that whichever party won majority control of the Senate would also get the leadership, committee chairs, etc. If I’m not mistaken, they’d made the deal back when the presidential race–and with it, control of the 50-50 Senate–was still up in the air.

    Now, as far as I know, there’s no such deal in place today. The leadership and committee positions have already been set. Any attempt to reorganize the chamber would be subject to a filibuster. Even if Lieberman does defect, the GOP won’t really benefit. So I don’t see what incentive Lieberman has to do so–especially since Dems will probably pick up seats in 2008, in which case he’ll really be screwed.”

  3. I’m also thinking that nothing would change until the next congress, Jan 2009. The leadership elections have already occurred.

    I seriously doubt that Senate rules would reward party-switching.

  4. “…in which case he’ll really be screwed.”

    Job guaranteed until 2012 and then a big pension. Swapping parties would be good advertising and give him a boost in the book and lecture market. Yup, ol’ Joe is screwed.

  5. Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFL-Conn.)

    Wow, the Canadian Football League has their own senator. More evidence of the impending Canadian invasion. It’s time to build that wall, on the northern border.

  6. Hmmm. I wonder what extra goodies, e.g., committee assignments, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is offering Lieberman for the jump?

    And I’m wondering what the Dems are offering him to not jump.

    Right now, I would guess that Sen. Leiberman may be the most powerful man in Washington.

    Any attempt to reorganize the chamber would be subject to a filibuster. Even if Lieberman does defect, the GOP won’t really benefit.

    A filibuster is basically a Senatorial courtesy, an internal rule that is always subject to change on a simple majority. Not that the GOP would do it, of course.

  7. Leiberman may be the most powerful man in Washington.

    Hyperbole notwithstanding, that’s hilarious, considering how just a few short months ago the pundits here at H&R had him buried with a stake through his heart.

  8. Repeating my comments on the last post on this topic…

    Eh, get used to hearing this leak every few months for the next two years, at least. Right now Lieberman is holding the Dems over a fire, and he knows it. So, every time a pork project he wanted goes somewhere else, or he gets a seat too far back at a dinner, someone on his staff is going to casually mention to a press member they know that, gosh, Joe sure has been talking to those Repubs a lot, and gosh, I think I saw a memo in his office offering a MUCH better seat at the Republican side of the room. Now this isn’t saying he wouldn’t switch in a heartbeat if he thought it was helpful, but right now the Reps are waning, so I don’t see him jumping ship for a 1.5 year benefit, only to have the Dems gain 5 or 6 seats in ’08 and him to be the absolute persona non grata for the time they rule.

    In an addendum, the Dems can do the same math we can, so his threat isn’t really nuclear in degree. It’s just a nuisance that will keep the press on him and just enough desire to keep him happy that he can feel like the pretty pretty princess he wants to be.

  9. No, it’s the Chicago Federation of Labor’s US senator.

    Seriously, though, as far as most Democrats in Conn. are concerned, hasn’t he already left their party? Here, for instance, after Democrat Steve Kaufman lost the primary and wound up running for office as a Conservative nominee, Democrats tended to consider him as having left their party. Eventually IIRC he changed enrollment to Republican.

  10. Perhaps Joe will threaten to put a CFL team in Hartford if the NFL doesn’t expand there.

  11. I thought some other dude took over the Conn. For Lieb. party and ousted ol’ lugubrious Joe.

  12. Liebermann is more of a Republican than a Democrat anyway. Why not shift?

  13. Joe jumping does….nothing. As someone else pointed out, the Senate rules are set until January 2009 where, to be blunt, the prospects look good for Democrats and bad for Republicans based on pure demographics alone. (Way more iffy GOP seats up than iffy Dem seats).

    So Joe switches, and nothing changes — he just loses all the majority privaleges. I’m sure the GOP will whine and bitch and try to force a switch to a new set of Senate rules, which will be happily blocked. They won’t get even 50 votes — unlike Joe, there’s at least a handful of Republican Senators who know what the 2009 picture looks like and aren’t about to try a nuclear assault on the Senate. It just doesn’t have the upside it did before 2006.

    Lieberman’s only doing this because his stature is diminishing. As a Democrat pissing on Democrats, he got a lot of press and invites to all the best talking-head shows. As an independent pissing on Democrats, he’s not nearly as interesting.

    He’s hoping to be news again.

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