Dodd defends Lieberman

DODD DEFENDS LIEBERMAN…. As much as I respect Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), I haven’t the foggiest idea what he’s talking about here.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd said Friday that President-elect Obama would not want one of his party’s first major post-election issues to be a messy fight over Joseph Lieberman’s status as a Democrat.

Lieberman’s political future is uncertain because some Democrats want to punish him for supporting Republican John McCain in the race against Obama. But Lieberman and Obama have been Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate for four years, Dodd noted, and Obama generally resists confrontations if a compromise can be reached.

“What does Barack Obama want?” Dodd rhetorically asked reporters Friday in Hartford. “He’s talked about reconciliation, healing, bringing people together. I don’t think he’d necessarily want to spend the first month of this president-elect period, this transition period, talking about a Senate seat, particularly if someone is willing to come forward and is willing to be a member of your family in the caucus in that sense.”

Since when is it the president-elect’s responsibility to oversee partisan conflicts in a different branch of government? “What does Barack Obama want?” As far as I can tell, he wants to put together an effective presidential administration. The more pertinent question is, “What do Senate Democrats want?”

Or, put another way, this isn’t Obama’s problem, and it isn’t his job. Unless the president-elect is working the phones, trying to get Senate Democrats to punish Lieberman — and there’s no evidence that he is — then Dodd is mistaken trying to bring Obama into this.

This need not be complicated. Lieberman was a truly awful chairman of this committee, letting the Democratic Party down. He then betrayed the Democratic Party by endorsing the Republican presidential nominee. He betrayed the Democratic Party again by speaking at the Republican convention. He betrayed the Democratic Party again by smearing and questioning the patriotism of the Democratic nominee. And he betrayed the party once more by working to help down-ballot Republicans during the election.

Even after all of this, the Democratic Senate leader is still willing to let Lieberman stay in the caucus, keep his seniority, and become a chairman of another committee. Lieberman says that’s “unacceptable” — he’s apparently comfortable making demands of those he’s been disloyal towards — and Sens. Dodd and Bayh seem to think he’s right.

If there’s any logic to this, it’s hiding well.