Here’s something I hadn’t thought of before, from the DLC’s New Donkey:
The other irony, of course, is that Democratic control of the Senate now depends on Joe Lieberman. Nobody has any reason to think he won't do what he promised and caucus with Democrats, but there may be a little bit of uncomfortable crow-eating among those who have spent months arguing that Lieberman's not a Democrat anymore, and should be stripped of his seniority.
Although I never said anything, I always thought it was a bit silly for folks to demand that the Democratic leadership punish Lieberman. Sure, I understood the reasoning behind it, but I’ve never been a burn your bridges kind of guy, and Joe could still come in handy for us. Even worse were the folks who continued to attack my hero, Harry Reid, for not punishing Lieberman. Because that was entirely misguided and stupid. And it makes us look as vengefully extremist as the wingnuts we denounce so regularly. Sure, I like to win; but we should leave punishing disloyalty to jerks like Rove.
And now it certainly looks like we need Joe on our side. Sure, he’s a putz, and probably worse. And sure, he’s really a Republican in Dem clothing. But for me, the individual players were never as important as the institutions they work for. That’s why I always vote straight ticket, even when I have no idea who the lower-ticket Dems are. Because the individuals aren’t as important as the letter that follows their name. I’m not saying I’d vote for Hitler if he was the Dem nominee in a Congressional race; but I’m not saying I wouldn’t.
And in this case, if this means the difference between us having the leadership of the Senate or the dangerous Republicans having it, I’m willing to accept a dangerous putz like Lieberman. Hell, I’d be willing to take any Republican Senator switching sides to help us. I mean any. That’s how important this is. This isn’t about how any of them will vote. This is about what bills are allowed to come to a vote, and what is and isn’t added to those bills after they leave their respective houses. And which judges are nominated. And who gets to subpoena whom. And all sorts of other good stuff that goes to the winning team.
Overall, I certainly understand the importance of good policies and good politicians and whatnot, but there is such a thing as strategy. And sometimes strategy makes you do things that aren’t so good in the short-term, but are in the long run. I don’t at all agree with the DLC’s ideas that always push political strategy over policy, particularly as their strategies are almost always wrong too. But there’s a fine-line to walk, and it’s usually best to leave your options open as long as possible. And it’s never a good idea to punish people that you might still need to rely on. Maybe we’ll beat Joe next time around, but I’ll happily use him in the meantime if it helps us get what we need.