If Democrats retain the Senate and Barack Obama wins the presidency, there is an critical political argument to be made for stripping Joe Lieberman of his chairmanship of Senate Governmental Affairs Committee - an argument that goes way beyond all the personal animus we feel toward him and even beyond his gross transgressions (ie. supporting the Iraq War, speaking at the GOP convention, etc.). I made this political argument to Salon.com today:
Keeping [Lieberman] in the [chairmanship] could be a real problem for an Obama administration; if Lieberman wanted to stir up trouble, he could launch investigation after investigation, with support from Republican members of the panel, even though the Democrats have big majorities in the House and Senate. "Lieberman is a lot of things, and one of the things he is is a media whore," Sirota said. "You combine his need for attention with his, I would say, pretty vitriolic anger towards Barack Obama, and you take those two things and empower him with the committee chairmanship whose major function is to investigate an administration, and you've got a pretty nasty brew there."
Regardless of whether Democrats have 54 votes or 60 votes, Joe Lieberman simply cannot be trusted with subpoena power to initiate witchhunts against a new Democratic president - a new Democratic president he has repeatedly slandered during this campaign. I suspect that because of Senate clubbiness and insider-ishness, we will have to make precisely this kind of political argument to get him dethroned from his chairmanship. Democratic senators often let their personal affinities cloud their judgment - but even the stupidest and most corrupt of them understands the mortal threat a subpoena-empowered Chairman Lieberman poses to the Democratic Party.