How California’s Senators voted on Lieberman

The U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus voted 42-13 today to let U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, despite his having been at odds with the caucus for years on Iraq and other matters, and despite his having repeatedly smack-talked President-elect Barack Obama while stumping for Republican presidential nominee John McCain this past year.

The liberal blogosphere is beside itself with rage — see here, here, here and here — generally calling Senate Democrats a bunch of wusses for failing to hold Lieberman to account for kicking sand in their collective face for the past few years. My favorite bit of bone-dry derision comes from Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, offering this breaking news: “Lieberman expelled from Pilates class in Senate gym.”

But even though Obama himself reportedly supported Lieberman, it seems U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was among those voting against him today. “The resolution did not reflect Senator Boxer’s belief that Senator Lieberman should remain in the caucus but not retain his full Committee Chairmanship, and she voted accordingly,” Natalie Ravitz, Boxer’s communications director, told me today.

Boxer was among several Senators who had stumped for Lieberman in the 2006 primary – incurring some of her constituents’ wrath, since she’s been so staunchly against the war and Lieberman thought it was a good idea – but then supported Democrat Ned Lamont in the 2006 general election as Lieberman successful ran as an independent. I guess BaBo’s truly done with ol’ Joe now.

As for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., communications director Gil Duran noted “the vote was by secret ballot,” but pointed me to what DiFi told reporters after the vote.

“What we’re trying to do today is bring about reconciliation, not only within our caucus, but between Democrats and Republicans. We are trying to develop a more civil dialogue and hopefully get more done on behalf of the American people,” she said. “The jury’s out whether that’ll happen or not, but the resolution that was presented in the caucus did pass. Senator Lieberman will remain a member of the caucus and will retain his chairmanship. My hope is that he becomes a Democrat again.”

Make of that what you will, dear readers.

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.

  • Concerned Citizen

    “What we’re trying to do today is bring about reconciliation, not only within our caucus, but between Democrats and Republicans.” – Senator Feinstein

    If you decode this line, it reads like this: “The Republicans should continue to reject their conservative values and lose more elections, so that we can establish the Union of Soviet Socialist States.”

    Not over my dead body. If you want Civil War, Senator, bring it on! The Military is still 90% conservative.

  • Josh Richman

    Well, “concerned citizen,” I can’t imagine how you “decoded” that message from that quotation, but — aside from the fact settling domestic political differences with bullets is usually called “treason” — you’d probably better rethink your conception of the military’s political leanings: http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/11/04/the-shifting-military-vote/

  • Progressive Democrat

    Regarding developing a “more civil dialogue” with the Repugnants? I would liken this to attempting to form a more civil dialogue with the Dixiecrats in their attempts to preserve slavery within the union. So, the Democrats have to water down partisanship, their party’s identity and now their party’s program as well to get things done in this country when they hold the presidency, a majority in the House or Representatives and an almost majority in the Senate? Please tell me the one time Republicans have EVER taken this attitude with Democrats. In the meantime it will be most interesting to see what all this so-called “civility” will gain for the average working American man and woman and what it bodes for our foreign policy abroad.

  • Lisaj

    Mr.Obama support to Lieberman is a great job .It increases the strenght of the local public.