'Punishing' Joe Lieberman

Angry Democrats want Lieberman to suffer for "holding health-care reform hostage" — but is revenge the best strategy?

As Joe Lieberman continues to vex Democrats with his controversial threat to undermine health reform, some want to see him punished — severely. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has said "flat out" that Lieberman should be "recalled" for holding up a bill (even though, TPM points out, that isn't even possible.) Others want the widely castigated senator kicked out of the caucus or stripped of his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship. A MoveOn.com protest campaign has raised over $700,000 to hold Lieberman "accountable" by defeating his re-election bid. But is this really the right time to plot revenge, or should Democrats focus on salvaging the bill? (Watch an MSNBC report about bids to strip Joe Lieberman's chairmanship)

Sideline Lieberman, then punish him: "Politics is about rewarding friends and punishing flip-floppers," says U.C. Santa Barbara professor Jeffrey C. Stewart, as quoted in Politico. So the political solution is "real simple. Harry Reid needs to prepare a bill that Olympia Snowe will support," making Lieberman irrelevant. Once the bill is signed, Democrats should "strip Lieberman of his chairmanship and campaign like hell against his reelection."

"Should the Democrats punish Joe Lieberman?"

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Democrats still need Lieberman: "Surely Lieberman deserves to lose his chairmanship," says Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic. "But you don't get to slug every jerk that gets in your way — even if they deserve it." If Democrats had "booted" Lieberman after he supported Obama's 2008 rival, John McCain, they probably wouldn't have passed the stimulus and other key legislation.

"On Lieberman's chairmanship"

Who's ideologically pure now, Democrats? It's "amusing" that "Lieberman haters" don't see their own "hypocrisy," says Curt Levey in RedState. After their years of "screaming bloody murder" about the GOP's rigid "philosophical purity," Democrats are calling for revenge on Lieberman while the GOP tolerates moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe. Keep it up, Dems, until Lieberman bolts to the welcoming, tolerant arms of the GOP.

"Lieberman Haters Need a Little Self-Awareness"

Obama's the real problem: "The anger directed towards Joe Lieberman is off-base," says Taylor Marsh in The Huffington Post. "Where this failure lands is on the doorstep of President Obama, an executive who can't bring himself to lead." With an eye on his legacy, Obama wants this win so badly he's unconcerned what gets compromised along the way: People may say that Lieberman is self-serving, but it's really Obama who "doesn't care."

"It's not Lieberman, it's Obama"



Hating Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman: 'Egomaniac'?

Making up with Lieberman

Can Obama save health reform?

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