Reid gives mixed signals on Lieberman

REID GIVES MIXED SIGNALS ON LIEBERMAN…. The good news is, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appeared on CNN yesterday and said Joe Lieberman’s conduct during the presidential campaign was “improper” and “wrong.” Ried told John King, “[I]f we weren’t on television, I’d use a stronger word of describing what he did.”

The bad news is, Reid didn’t stop there.

For those of you who can’t watch clips online, the transcript of Reid’s CNN interview is online, but the key take away was Reid saying, “Lieberman votes with me a lot more than a lot of my senators. He didn’t support us on military stuff and he didn’t support us on Iraq stuff. But you look at his record, it’s pretty good. He comes from one of the most liberal states in the country. He is — Joe Lieberman is not some rightwing nutcase. Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.”

Senate Democrats will make their decision about Lieberman’s future in the caucus, and they’ll have plenty of information and context to consider. But it’s important that senators get beyond the notion that Lieberman is a reliable and consistent progressive voice on everything but military affairs and national security. If only that were true.

Even if we put aside his painful betrayals throughout the campaign cycle, there are those actual votes in the Senate to consider, including his support for Bush’s judicial nominees, private school vouchers, and partnering with Rick Santorum a few years back to promote Bush’s “faith-based” initiative. It’s not, in other words, just Iraq policy.

Nevertheless, rumor has it this dispute may not linger too much longer — the Senate Democratic caucus may meet as early as next week and vote on Lieberman’s fate. Stay tuned.