Sunday, November 9, 2008

Defending Joe Lieberman

I've done it before, and it seems I'll have to do it again: defend Joe Lieberman. As you surely know, Joe broke party lines (sort of... he is technically an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats) in supporting John McCain for President. So now, Democrats want to at the very least strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and at the most kick him out of the caucus completely. All this while the new head of the Democratic party (and the Free World, for that matter) is preaching unity and reconciliation. Nice juxtaposition there, Harry Reid.

Honestly, Americans went out and voted for hope, change, and unity, and the first matter of business for Senate Democrats is figuring out how to kick out the guy who didn't agree with them. That isn't the Democratic Party that I voted for.

Now, I understand that discipline is an inherent part of party politics (which is why a two-party system is inherently flawed, but that's for another post). As a commenter on a Politico blog put it: "What good is a party when you have members who feel that they can behave any way that they want and get away with it. That's not a party we can believe in." I do find it ironic that this character is using the "...we can believe in" phrase in support of old-school partisan politics, but who knows, maybe it was sarcasm.

I guess my point is this: it is ridiculous to think that every person in the Senate will fall neatly into one of two categories. Very few people believe entirely in the Republican or the Democratic agenda, but we expect Senators to do so. Even though I disagree with Joe Lieberman from time to time (I say "from time to time," because really, he is still a pretty reliable Democrat when it comes to most issues), I think he is a good example of what a Senator should be. He does what he thinks is right, not what his party thinks is right. Of course, if you're Harry Reid, and your goal is to push through the Democratic agenda, you don't want people doing what they think is right, if that would mean opposing that agenda. But again, Joe Lieberman is still supportive of the Democratic agenda when it comes to most issues. I don't see what good the Democrats do themselves by, at the least, publicly shaming him, and at the most, kicking him out of their club. It all seems rather childish to me.