Goin' Rogue

by digby

Matthews: Is there going to be some bloodletting? Some knifework done on Joe Lieberman? I have to tell you, I think there's judgment to be done here and I think it's hard to say where you cross the line. If you're going to be a member of a political party, it's one thing to disagree on a couple of big issues, Middle East policy that's one thing. But when you campaign every day with the other party, when you stand with the other guy when he calls your guy a socialist and trashes the nominee every day, does that mean the divorce should be finalized?

Roger Simon of Politico: No. It might be right from a political point of view. From Harry Reid's point of view, if you don't have party discipline why have a party structure at all. But I don't think this is the first message that the new president wants to send, that you have to be a hardline Democrat or you're out.

Joe Lieberman can be arrogant. He can be self-righteous. ..

Matthews: I think he's likable, but he's campaigning with the other side...

Simon: He says, "I am what you're supposed to be. Someone who puts principle ahead of party. When I disagree with the Democrats I go with the Republicans."

Matthews: Well, why have a convention system, why have primaries It's a free for all. If you can pick any candidate, why have a selection process?

Michelle Bernard: Well, a lot of people would ask that very question, like Ralph Nader. He doesn't like political parties.

The bottom line is that we're in this era now where the American public wants something different. People want a change. People want transpartisan politics. There is an argument to be had that Joe Lieberman put country first in standing by his beliefs. And he's voted with the Democrats more than some Democrats have.

Matthews: You guys depress me. Why have uniforms if the game doesn't matter?

Simon: Well look, there are some Democrats who still blame him for 2000 for letting the military votes be counted...

Matthews: ... will the [Democrats] have the stuff to tell Joe Lieberman, "you're no longer chairman of Homeland Security? You have a lesser, a smaller something or maybe more petty? You're not getting the big jobs anymore"

Simon: You know, Barack Obama could be really smart and give Joe Lieberman a job in the administration. Like Homeland Security, like some ... national security job. It would get him out of the senate

Bernard: I was thinking the same thing ...

Matthews: nowhere on god's earth are they going to reward a guy with a major job...

Simon: They pick up the seat in Connecticut, with a Democrat. You know we do have elections in this Country....

Matthews: Ok. I'm losing this argument so I may change the topic...


Matthews: Let's talk about Rahm Emmanuel. I know you're going to disagree with me. I think it's a smart pick.

Bernard: I think it's a smart pick. I know a lot of people on the right are going absolutely berserk over this. But he is effective. Senator Obama is going to need protection from the far left wing of the Democratic party right after he's elected.

Matthews: And he's gonna help?

Bernard: Rahm Emmanuel is gonna run defense for him --- or offense, I should say --- for him.

Now, it's true that Obama ran as a "transpartisan" whatever that is, but it does not require him to reward Joe Fucking Lieberman with a national security job when he stood by smiling while the other side basically called Obama a traitor and a terrorist. If you want to send a message I suppose that might work --- if the message is that you are a total wimp.

This whole discussion is ridiculous. Joe Lieberman was repudiated by Democrats in his state, he campaigned for the Republican candidate for president. In what sense is this guy a Democrat? And, why oh why, would you put him in a position to further do the Republicans' dirty work for them.

Here's some more excellent insight from the man who dreams that Obama is the reincarnation of Nelson Rockefeller:

JIM LEHRER: What about the selection of Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff? Do you have a view of that?

DAVID BROOKS: I think it's a good selection. It's a controversial selection, because many people see him as a very partisan figure and a tough partisan figure, and he has been. He has elected a lot of Democrats.

I think on balance it's a very good selection. And I say that, A, he has been partisan, but in that he's shown a great grasp of reality. The members of the House who he recruited to run, especially in southern and swing districts, are conservatives. And he understands where the country is.

JIM LEHRER: Blue Dog Democrats?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, and they're sometimes quite conservative. I got the impression sometimes every Iraq vet with a pro-life belief got a letter from Rahm saying, "Why don't you run for Congress as a Democrat?" Because he wanted those kind of people. And that's a sense of broadening the party.

The second thing I would say about Rahm is that he is a -- I think, a very moderate Democrat in his policy beliefs. He wrote a book called "The Plan" with a fellow named Bruce Reed, another moderate Democrat. And it's a sort of...

JIM LEHRER: Worked in the Clinton White House.

DAVID BROOKS: And he was also active in the Democratic Leadership Council and -- it is a Democratic plan, but it's not flaming liberal plan.

Well, that's certainly reassuring.

Now, I don't think there's anyone in the country who doesn't know what Republicans stand for, do you? They have been spouting and spewing for decades now about their core belief in "family values, national security and low taxes." There is absolutely no confusion about who they are and what they care about. So what can be the meaning of this:
O'BRIEN: On Election Day, we all saw the long lines at polling places and heard the stories of people who were waiting hours and hours to vote. It seemed like it would be an election for the record books.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is here with a reality check.

Well, was it? Was it a record turnout, Bill?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of Democrats, yes. Of all voters, not so much.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): We expected to see high voter turnout in this election.

B. OBAMA: It may be raining. The lines may be long. We're going to have record turnout.

SCHNEIDER: Was there? Just over 208 million Americans were eligible to vote this year. Edison Media Research estimates that a total of just over 130 million actually voted. That's over 62 percent, two points higher than four years ago -- 2008 continues a steady trend of higher voter turnout since 1996, but it's not exactly a quantum leap.

According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, a downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower-than- predicted turnout. The long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats.

Democrats went from 37 percent of voters in 2004 to 40 percent this year. Independents also went up. Republicans declined from 37 to 32. ... The story of this election was not so much a huge surge of new voters, as it was a huge surge of Democratic enthusiasm and Republican defeatism.

Perhaps it was all those Republicans endorsing Obama that made the voters believe that Democrats were the conservative party? If this is a conservative country, then that's the only thing I can think of to explain that.

Update: *sigh*

Interviewed on Fox News yesterday, Bayh said he disagreed with stripping Lieberman of his chair. “No, I don’t think there should be retribution,” he said. “I think reconciliation is in order, not revenge or retribution.” Bayh suggested that Lieberman apologize and “let bygones be bygones”:

BAYH: And I think if Joe came before the caucus and said look, if I said some things that came as offensive, I’m sorry, but they were, you know heartfelt in my support of John McCain. I think we had to just let bygones be bygones. We’re going to need him on healthcare and energy independence and education and a whole lot of other things.

Bayh said Lieberman may have “perhaps crossed the line” in questioning Obama’s patriotism. But he maintained, “I think everybody understands that supporting your friend [McCain] is perfectly legitimate” and that “we should have a spirit of forgiveness with regard to Joe Lieberman and reconcile and move forward.” Presented with some of Lieberman’s more notorious comments, Bayh countered, saying Lieberman “votes with the majority of Democrats, a vast majority of the time.”

*Deep sigh*

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."

Right. Because Joe has such a history of being a loyal family member. In your darkest hour you can always count on him. Oh wait.