Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chapter >>>, Where A Notable and Famous Blogger Refers To My Commentary And Allows Me a Brief Ego Boost..........

From Ezra's Blog:

[ I think five or six of your questions were about Joe Lieberman, so let's talk it out.

Marceau, I think, frames the issue correctly:

So, now the prevailing wisdom is this; now that Lieberman has gotten to keep his coveted seat, he will be more amenable to voting with the democrat caucus, and be supportive of President Obama when it comes to key policy legislation. So - what evidence is there to support this, and what then is to be done when Lieberman "votes his concience" and sides with the GOP on health care, bankruptcy, Iraq, etc.etc.?


Here's what you need to say about Lieberman: His heterodoxies have remained contained. Unlike John McCain, who conveyed his post-2000 disgust with the Republican Party by sponsoring a lot of liberal legislation on essentially random issues, Lieberman's fight with the Democrats has not strayed from foreign policy. For instance: His 2007 AFL-CIO voting record was 84 percent. That's exactly the same as his lifetime AFL-CIO voting record. In the most recent Congress, his score from the League of Conservation was 96 percent (which is actually a recent career high). Lieberman is, arguably, an extremely reliable Democratic vote. The exception, of course, is foreign policy, where he's an extremely reliable Republican vote.
But he's not really needed on foreign policy votes. The president has broad autonomy on strategic questions. The recent votes to force Bush to withdraw from Iraq were Congress trying to impose its will on the executive. Obama can withdraw almost without congressional involvement, unless they decide to muster 60 votes to stop him, which is not going to happen. So Lieberman's heterodoxies are now almost irrelevant from a legislative perspective.
That said, the operational effect of stripping Lieberman would have been that he becomes a Republican, and caucuses with them. It would have meant his incentives shift to curry favor with Republican voters. It would have, in other words, made him a fairly unreliable Democratic vote on domestic issues. The question became, then, does the satisfaction of retribution outweigh the value of one more vote in an extremely close Senate? It's hard to say that it does. And now, of course, Lieberman owes his safety to Obama, and is certainly aware that there's a healthy constituency that would love to strip him of his seat, or his chairmanship. So he'll presumably go out of his way to be helpful. That's not to say it's a satisfying outcome to see him escape all consequences for his actions in recent years. But this isn't about satisfaction. It's about votes.]


Hopefully, the theory that Lieberman will vote with the democrats on the issues that matter (health care, environment, infrastructure investment, bankruptcy) will bear fruit - we'll see in a few months if this was the correct path. For the moment, I think that the progressives that were pounding at the gates demanding Liebermans demotion should take solace in the fact that Obama, by helping Lieberman keep his commitee chairmanship, is willing to take the bet that Lieberman will be an aid in the senate, rather than a hindrance.

And, if things turn out otherwise, the progressive blogosphere can feel free to call out "I told you so!" to all listeners.

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