Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has disappointed me. It would have been somewhat satisfying to see him sitting in the back benches of the Senate, with no power and little influence.
But in the long run, that's not why we sent him to the Senate. We could have sent Ned Lamont and gotten the same result.
I didn't work for Lieberman to see him sitting on the back benches with little influence and unable to do anything for Connecticut. Again, we could have sent Ned Lamont.
I worked for Lieberman because he heads a powerful committee, and can bring jobs, federal dollars and the rest back to Connecticut. Our other senator, Christopher Dodd, can do the same as head of the powerful Banking Committee.
I am disappointed that Lieberman abandoned his job as junior senator from Connecticut to go traipsing all over the world, carrying the bag for Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. I was embarrassed to see him speaking at the GOP national convention with that idiot from Alaska.
But that's all over now. President-elect Barack Obama is a man who thinks things out, a chess player who thinks many moves ahead. He knows it's better to have a Joe Lieberman who owes him big-time in the Senate when Obama is trying to get his Cabinet choices past that body, with its cadre of Republicans whose pride is hurt and who are out for revenge.
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrat leader in the Senate, spoke through clenched teeth today when he announced the decision to keep Lieberman. He'll not forget that, and if Lieberman doesn't mind his p's and q's, Reid'll take another run at Lieberman. And if that takes place a year or so down the road, you can bet he'll have Obama's blessing.
In the meantime, it's better to have a beholden Lieberman working for Connecticut than a ticked-off Lieberman working against the administration.
Yes, the Democrats in Connecticut feel they got screwed by Lieberman, and they might be right. But this is not the time for a divorce, but a reconciliation. After all, Lieberman became an independent because Howard Dean, the former head of the Democratic National Committee and his brother, Jimmy, were parading Lamont around the Jefferson Jackson Bailey Day dinner in March 2006 while another Democrat speaking, warning the assembled Democrats not to split the party by backing Lamont over Lieberman.
That speaker was Barack Obama.
We should have listened to him them. Let's listen to him now.
There will be ample opportunity to punish Lieberman if he messes up in the next four years or, if he is silly enough to run again, in 2012.
Believe me. I won't be out standing in the rain for him then.
But for now, remember the Chinese maxim in the headline space. Hopefully, Lieberman will perform for the party as well as the people of Connecticut.
If not, there's always time for the bum's rush.
Until next time...