I wanted to make a brief comment on the Joe Lieberman situation before returning to our regularly scheduled eco-blogging. Everyone is presumably aware that Lieberman is on the verge of getting a mild wrist-slap for his endorsement of McCain and his attacks on Obama during the campaign and won't be stripped of his major committee gavel.
Lieberman's fate is relevant to environmentalists since his name is on the one piece of significant and serious climate legislation actually introduced in the Senate. For those who pooh-pooh it, I say that while Lieberman-Warner may have been weak tea, at least it was tea. That said, I myself am no fan of the junior Senator from Connecticut. In fact I can't stand the self-righteous blowhard: but on this subject I come down, once again, on the side of chess.
Meaning: while the progressive blogosphere is screaming in rage over weak-kneed Senate Democrats letting felonies against the party go virtually unpunished, Barack Obama is counting votes. It's been acknowledged that Lieberman's virtual pardon is the result of Obama's coming out against significant punishment. As TPM's Greg Sargent reports:
Many Democrats believe that effort to oust Lieberman from the Homeland Security chairmanship were dealt a death knell last week, when Barack Obama said he held "no grudges" against Lieberman. Though Obama said he wouldn't "referee" the question over the chairmanship, Obama's statement had the practical effect of allowing Lieberman's allies to claim Obama's support and giving cover to those who want to do nothing about Lieberman's transgressions.Needless to say, Obama's mercy has nothing to do with new politics or a spirit of bipartisanship - this is about cloture. Lieberman now owes his gavel, really his continued presence in the majority caucus, to the soon-to-be President. Thus, has Barack Obama placed Joe's privates in a lockbox under his new desk in the Oval Office.
When the time comes, the President will call on Joe for a service (or two or three or twenty). Whether he needs him to be the 60th vote on climate change legislation, health care, economic stimulus or any other priority, Obama knows he'll be able to count on Joe. Punishment is for tacticians. Pardons are for strategists.
That's my theory and there it is, too.