Lieberman’s Slap on the Wrist

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Sources say that Senate Dems, who are currently huddling in the Old Senate Chamber, will keep Lieberman in the caucus and allow his to retain the chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (thus giving him subpoena power over the administration — a power he did not exert over 43). Lieberman is expected to lose his spots on two other committees: Environment and Public Works and Armed Services. The move comes after Obama reached out to Harry Reid last week and said he’d like to see Lieberman stay in the caucus and Lieberman’s staff reached out to Obama’s staff a few days ago and have been in talks since. Hey, if they guy Lieberman went after is saying let’s forgive if not forget then who is to say the Connecticut senator needs to be further punished? 

The Left, that’s who — those who are still angry at Lieberman for his continuing and steadfast support of the war in Iraq, not to mention his votes on security issues like FISA (though, Obama also voted for that particular bill). But having just met with John McCain yesterday in Chicago and having run on a promise of change from DC’s bitter partisan ways — is it such a surprise that it’s likely Lieberman’s staying at Obama’s behest?

Lieberman actually keeps his seat on Armed Services but loses EPW. By a vote of 42-13 his peers elected to keep him. The resolution was co-sponsored by Dodd, Salazar, Carper and Bill Nelson. Lieberman called it a move of “reconciliation and not retribution.” Indeed, reconciliation seemed to be the catch word of the day — literally every Democrat I asked said the move was meant to heal the party. “There’s the inside game and the outside game,” said Senator Ben Nelson, one of the 42 Dems that voted to support Lieberman, referring to the progressive angry against Lieberman. “And the inside game is about family and coming together and the outside game should learn the lesson of reconciliation.” Nelson also hailed Lieberman as “the prodigal son” returned to the flock. Others were not as generous: “Personally, there are things that he said during the campaign that I can’t overlook or forgive,” said Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. “But to a person there was a recognition in that room that we need to come together as a caucus and find a way to move forward.”