Lieberman Might Join GOP
The only pro-war senator to caucus with the Democrats may become a Republican.
That’s what Joseph Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut who was defeated in a Democratic primary last summer, is hinting he will do if his old party fiddles with a bill to pay for the troop surge in Iraq.
Yesterday, Mr. Lieberman told the Web site Politico he had no “desire to switch parties,” but “if that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don’t feel comfortable with.”
That uncomfortable direction, according to the Politico, will concern the $99 billion supplemental military budget request the White House is expected to submit to Congress early next month. While the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, a Democrat of Nevada, has ruled out any Vietnam-style decision to cut off funding for the war, Republicans are now expecting Democrats in the House to attach conditions to the spending bill, a move they decry as tantamount to micromanaging the war for Iraq.
The hoopla is Lieberman switching sides would create a 50-50 split in the Senate. With Vice President Cheney casting tie-breakers that would mean GOP control of the Senate.
But not so fast. Scott Keyes informs us about Senate rules:
If Lieberman were to caucus with the Republicans, they would still not take full control of the Senate, despite Vice President Dick Cheney’s ability to break 50-50 ties. This is because of a little-known Senate organizing resolution, passed in January, which gives Democrats control of the Senate and committee chairmanships until the beginning of the 111th Congress.
Lieberman’s got to know if his switching parties would affect anything. Ever since the Left cast him off as impure and gave Ned Lamont a primary victory he’s had to know his party affiliation could be powerful political capital. So unless he thinks he could give the GOP a Senate majority why would he float the idea of switching parties? Can the Senate just change their rules with a simple majority or do they need to reach the 60-vote cloture line? Any TAM readers interested in pouring through Senate rules?
“Lieberman May Decide Fate of Iraq”
“I Hope Joe Lieberman Becomes A Republican”