A delicate U.S. Senate majority?

lieberman.jpgU.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., tells Politico he has no immediate plans to switch parties — thus handing control of the Senate to the GOP — but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind. And he tells Time magazine he might vote Republican for President in 2008, “a not-so-veiled hint that he would prefer John McCain, his fellow true believer in the Iraq war, to most, perhaps all, Democratic alternatives.”

That’s gotta hurt for senators Tom Carper, D-Del.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and Ken Salazar, D-Colo., all of whom continued to endorse Lieberman last year after he’d lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont and declared himself an independent candidate in November’s general election. At least U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. — who took heat from the Bay Area and beyond for endorsing someone so hawkish on the Iraq war — switched her support to Lamont in the general election after having gone to Connecticut to stump for Lieberman in the primary.

As for the Democratic presidential contenders, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.; 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack all did as Boxer did, supporting Lieberman in the primary, but then supporting Lamont as the Democratic nominee in November. So on a personal level, you can see why he’s not in a rush to endorse any of them, but from a party standpoint, he’s not exactly burnishing his Democratic bona fides.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.