There is one major drawback, that I can think of, to the Democrats holding a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Joe Lieberman has way too much power.
The reality of the numbers is that the GOP and Dems have a 49-49 split, with the 2 Independent Senators (Bernie Sanders being the other) agreeing to caucus with the Democrats. If Lieberman goes GOP, on a party line vote, that brings us back to 50-50, with Dick Cheney breaking ties. It obviously would affect control of the individual committees as well.
Still, I found the following piece from CNN disturbing, to say the least:
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who bolted the Democratic party after losing a primary election this year to run as an independent, won a standing ovation at a closed meeting of all Senate Democrats Tuesday.I guess it will be easier for Sen. Lieberman, now that he has been given chairmanship of the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Lieberman was introduced by Democratic Leader Harry Reid who, according to Lieberman, told his colleagues that, "families go through crisis but we survived and I just want to welcome back Joe Lieberman."
"It's been a helluva year," Lieberman told the group before imploring them to heed the lessons of the midterm election and "be willing to compromise" with Republicans.
Lieberman, who now calls himself an "Independent Democrat," was asked if the warm reception helped remove lingering bitterness from the campaign when many of his closest Democratic allies supported his opponent Ned Lamont.
"You have experiences that naturally affect you. This year in many ways did change me," he said. "But you know, we're all adults and I'll work with everyone in my caucus and the Republican caucus as well.
However, Lieberman's comments on Meet The Press should be an affront to every Democrat.
Among his choicer comments from that show:
I want to continue to work to bring the party back to its historic traditions of, of strength on national security, foreign policy and innovation, and progress in domestic policy—the, the Harry Truman/John F. Kennedy Democrat that, that I was raised to be.In other words, Lieberman feels that the Democrats have it wrong on Iraq and terrorism. Joe will lead us back on the path to military righteousness.
I’ll work with anybody I agree on. I’m not going to—agree with on a matter. I’m not going to look at party labels, I’m going to look at, at what can we get done for our country and my state.Joe will side with Dems, as long as the party takes the Lieberman position. How good of him.
I’m going to be an optimist, and take some encouragement from the fact that this was an election in which, in the House and Senate, Democrats came to the majority of both chambers by electing moderates mostly. This was an election that might be called the return of the center of American politics. And I think that my colleagues and leaders in the Democratic caucus get that. The fact is that this was not a major realignment election in my opinion.I'm sure Ohio's Sherrod Brown loved this quote. This was a typically incorrect spin that has been echoed in the media, completely disregarding the many progressives who got elected, as well as the growing voter rejection of socially conservative positions.
I’m not going to start by threatening. I’m going to start by making clear what my priorities are, and I’m going to seek the support of, of my leadership and of members of both political parties.I guess the threatening comes later.
The voters spoke on Tuesday that they’re unhappy with the status quo. I don’t believe that they, they want us to pick up and leave Iraq, because they know that that would have disastrous consequences on Iraq, the Middle East, and on our security against terrorism.What exactly about America's eagerness to bring the troops home can Mr. Lieberman not fathom? And how dare he play the GOP game of tying Iraq to the war on terrorism?
And, for this, he gets a standing ovation.
Welcome to the madhouse.