The US Senate Democratic Caucus voted overwhelmingly today to give Joe Lieberman a slap on the wrist for viciously attacking Barack Obama during the campaign. The caucus voted 42-13 in favor of capitulating to Lieberman, who had threatened to join the Republican caucus if he were to be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate's top oversight committee. Instead, the Democrats voted to only take away a minor subcommittee chair from him. The vote was done supposedly in the spirit of bipartisanship, but in reality, it proved that Senate Democrats are spineless. Lieberman is a two-faced liar who deserved to be shown the door. As an aside, California Senator Barbara Boxer thought Lieberman should have been punished more severely, and voted against the resolution, a spokeswoman for the senator said. It's not clear how Senator Dianne Feinstein voted, though she has been a close supporter of Lieberman in the past.
The Democrats' decision appeared to completely ignore Lieberman's record. In 2006, Lieberman beggged Obama to come help him campaign for re-election in Connecticut, knowing how popular Obama was. It was a strange request considering that Lieberman was one of the staunchest supporters of President Bush's war in Iraq and Obama was one of the war's most outspoken critics. But Obama obliged and campaigned for Lieberman anyway -- and against fellow Democrat Ned Lamont, another Iraq War critic. Lieberman then rewarded Obama by actively campaigning for McCain, speaking at the Reublican National Convention in August of this year, and breaking his promise not to attack Obama personally.
And the idea that giving Lieberman what he wanted today was important in the name of bipartisanship is just silly. Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece today skewering the myth of partisan gridlock in Washington.
Author's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly surmised that Boxer had voted with the majority to not punish Lieberman.