Lieberman does little for ‘homeland security’

LIEBERMAN DOES LITTLE FOR ‘HOMELAND SECURITY’…. The committee that Joe Lieberman ostensibly chairs is called the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The two halves don’t necessarily go together — the prior is about domestic security threats and the latter is about oversight of the executive branch.

On Friday, we talked about the “Governmental Affairs” side of the equation and Lieberman’s intention to scrutinize an Obama administration. But a Lieberman aide told the Hartford Courant that the Connecticut independent should remain chairman, despite his betrayals, for the first half of the committee name.

“Sen. Lieberman prefers to remain in the Democratic caucus,” the aide said. “However, he believes he should remain as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee…. He thinks that political retribution should not go ahead of homeland security.”

Greg Sargent’s take was spot on: “Can the Lieberman camp really be arguing that stripping Lieberman of his committee slot is tantamount to putting politics ahead of our safety, because we’re so defenseless without him there to protect us? … Lieberman’s camp is now sounding a kind of hollow echo of the same silly scare-mongering tactics that he used against Obama on the GOP’s behalf during the campaign, only this time in service of holding onto whatever vestiges of influence he has left. It’s a coda to this whole affair that’s perfect in its desperation and unintentional self-parody.”

Quite right. For one thing, Lieberman, as chairman for the last two years, barely used his committee to actually explore domestic security policy. For another, it’s not as if Lieberman has such a unique expertise that Americans would be at risk if, say, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) chaired the same committee. Or Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) or Thomas Carper (D-Del.) or Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

It’s one of those rare arguments from Lieberman that combines arrogance, incompetence, and demagoguery, all at the same time. A rare feat, indeed.