"Senate Conservatives Would ‘Welcome Lieberman With Open Arms’ Next Congress"
With the possibility of Democrats gaining a “supermajority” in the Senate, Senate conservatives appear to have their sights set on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Interviewed on MSNBC today, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) said that he would welcome Lieberman into his caucus “with open arms“:
“We welcome Joe. I think Joe’s a terrific guy with a lot of integrity and does what he believes,” Ensign stated. “But, you know, it’ll be interesting to see how the Democrats handle Joe Lieberman after what he’s done in this presidential race. But as far as Republicans are concerned, we welcome him with open arms.”
Lieberman sides with McCain on foreign policy issues, including Iraq and kicking Russia out of the G8, but he has also refused to condemn McCain’s radical Social Security privatization scheme. In an interview with ThinkProgress at the RNC in September, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said that Lieberman is “practically” voting like a conservative already:
SPECTER: Well I would like to see him move a little closer to being a Republican. I’d like to see him vote with the Republicans when we go back in September. He’s practically there. That would have the consequence of giving us a Republican senator . We could confirm a lot of judges. We could do a lot of things.
The media has also picked up on Lieberman’s potential switch to the GOP. On Friday, Politico’s Mike Allen told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt that Lieberman “very may well caucus with Republicans” next year:
ALLEN: Any single senator can stop something, so no matter how bad the numbers are, Republicans senators are still going to have clout and, a little tidbit for you, when you’re doing your tallying, don’t forget to count Sen. Lieberman. He very well may caucus with Republicans. He almost certainly is to be stripped of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee and that would allow him to be counted as a Republican.
In July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “did not rule out” removing Lieberman from his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2009.