It is becoming increasingly likely that the difference between a filibuster proof Senate and a filibuster susceptible Senate will be Joe Lieberman. This is a consummation devoutly to be wished against.
We have to start thinking about this. I submit the following. First, I think Lieberman will resign and join right wing think tank, but if he doesn’t, and he tries to trade his vote for a continuance of his seniority, a few things should be considered.
First, his position will be weaker that 2 years ago. Then he made the difference between a Democratically organized Senate and one organized and controlled by the Republicans. Second, it is unlikely that the Republicans will stand together in the next Senate like they have in this. The party is fractured, and the few remaining moderates, such as Olympia Snowe, may not want to take a hit for the folks who brought the party to destruction. Finally, there is no reason to trust Lieberman. Once he’s given his chairmanship, it can’t be taken away.
So, I propose that if the worst of the best happens, that Joe be placed on probation. He should be told that he will be given his chairmanship in 2010, so long as he’s a good boy for the next two years. Meantime, he’s a backbencher. He’ll stab them in the back if they trust him; he’s proven that. This way he has an incentive to do the right thing, and if he doesn’t, then he becomes irrelevant for the remainder of his political life. If he decides to become a Republican, let him. He’d be the first rat in history to board a sinking ship.