Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, the man who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, will soon know whether that party will allow him to continue to serve as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee or whether he'll be stripped of that position.
Lieberman, who changed his party affiliation to run as an independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic primary, has organized with Democrats since winning re-election and in doing so, gave the party its majority status. Lieberman also served as one of the most enthusiastic and high-profile supporters of Republican John McCain's presidential campaign and spoke at the GOP convention, something that has infuriated many in his former party.
With Democrats having picked up an additional six Senate seats in the election (with three races yet to be decided), Lieberman's value to the party has decreased substantially. They no longer need his vote to claim a majority and plenty of party faithful would like to see him stripped of his committee chairmanship for backing McCain. So Senate Democrats tomorrow will vote, by secret ballot, on whether to do just that, the Hartford Courant reports.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has in the past been very supportive of trying to keep Lieberman in the caucus but others have strong feelings going the opposite direction. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another independent who sides with Democrats, told the AP that "to reward Sen. Lieberman with a major committee 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."
Still others, like Indiana's Evan Bayh, told Fox News he doesn't believe "retribution or revenge is in the best interest of anyone," even though he has said Lieberman should apologize to his former party. Will Lieberman remain a party of a party which he supports on most all issues or would he be tempted to join a Republican caucus in which he would be an ideologically poor fit on just about everything but the war in Iraq? Or would he become effectively a party of one? Tomorrow's vote will go a long way towards determining the answer.