Since the election, Senate Democrats have been reluctant to punish Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) for the ad hominem attacks he levied at Barack Obama while supporting Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the election. While a few senators have said that they’d like to see Lieberman apologize, most have said that they’d like him to continue caucusing with Democrats.
Today, Daily Kos diarist terjeanderson caught an interview on Vermont Public Radio with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), during which the senator broke from the pack and said that Lieberman deserved to lose his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:
I’m one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did. … I felt that some of the attacks that he was involved in against Sen. Obama, whom I did support — I was one of the first in the Congress to support him — I thought they went way beyond the pale. I thought that they were not fair. I thought they were not legitimate. I thought that they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Sen. Obama.
I would feel that, had I done something similar, I would not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress.
A new Research 2000/DailyKos poll shows that Lieberman is increasingly unpopular among his constituents. Sixty-one percent disapprove of his Senate performance. Among his Democratic constituents, Lieberman’s approval rating stands at just 22 percent.
Check out ThinkProgress’s new report, “Joe Lieberman: The Progressive Who Lost His Way.”
Roll Call reports: “A group of four Democratic Senators have been exploring ways in which Lieberman could keep his Homeland Security chairmanship, including stripping him of some other positions such as his subcommittee chairmanships on the Environment and Public Works Committee or Armed Services panel. But so far, sources said, the four lawmakers have not been able to develop a consensus.”
,In a statement sent to TPM, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) echoed Leahy’s call, saying that rewarding Lieberman with a chairmanship “would be a slap in the face of millions of Americans who worked tirelessly for Barack Obama and who want to see real change in our country”:
“Appointing someone to a major post who led the opposition to everything we are fighting for is not ‘change we can believe in,‘” Sanders continued. “I very much hope that Senator Lieberman stays in the Democratic caucus and is successful in regaining the confidence of those whom he has disappointed. This is not a time, however, in which he should be rewarded with a major committee chairmanship.”