Lieberman skips weekly lunch with irate Senate Democrats

September 9, 2008

(Corrected to reflect statement in last two paragraphs was by Reid’s spokesman, not Reid.)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joseph Lieberman on Tuesday skipped the weekly luncheon meeting of congressional Democrats — many of whom denounce him as a turncoat for his support of White House contender John McCain at last week’s Republican National Convention.rtx8ewm.jpg

A number of lawmakers have even said Lieberman of Connecticut might be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the new Congress next year if Democrats, as expected, increase their control of the Senate.

Lieberman, who refers to himself as an “independent Democrat”, has brushed off such talk. So has Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid — at least for now.

“His (Lieberman’s) approach is that he is going to do what he believes is right in support of John McCain, and let the politics play itself out,” said Marshall Wittmann, Lieberman’s communications director.

Lieberman, who eight years ago was the Democratic vice presidential nominee, could end up in McCain’s Republican administration if he defeats Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in November’s White House election.

At the Republican convention, Lieberman criticized Obama and praised McCain as “the best choice to bring the country together and lead America forward.”

With Congress returning this week from its August recess, Lieberman informed Reid’s office that he won’t be attending any more meetings this year of the Senate Democratic caucus because he assumes they will be largely focused on presidential politics, aides said.

Reid and Lieberman’s office denied a published report that Lieberman was being barred from the meetings.

“While it is no secret that the Democratic caucus is disappointed in Senator Lieberman’s attacks on Senator Obama, the irresponsible report that Senator Lieberman has been excluded from caucus meetings is completely untrue,” Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement.

“Senator Lieberman has chosen not to attend Democratic caucus lunches, and that’s his choice,” Manley said.  With Lieberman generally allied with the Democrats, they hold a 51-49 majority over Republicans and control of the Senate.

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– Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Segar (Lieberman with McCain at the Republican National Convention)   


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Were he still alive today, Judas Iscariot would not be going to lunch with the people he sold out. In fact, Judas would have taken a rope and headed to the nearest tree with a firm branch. He would have continually watched his back. He wouldn’t dare go into the men’s room while someone was in there or unaccompanied. Besides, Judas would have found it necessary to hire a permanent, full-time food taster. Why not?

Posted by John Paul Telhomme | Report as abusive

Running a country (I’m talking presidents AND congresses) requires a very keen vision into matters of security, fiscal responsibility, equality, and hundreds of others. The variables are myriad and the knots of political issues are complex. Change this law here, and your good intentions create a new, different and unwanted problems there.

I find that those who think independently of the party “talking points” tend to be better leaders. Party loyalists are just that . . . on any given issue they are looking out for the political advantage and are more concerned about gaining and retaining power than they are about leading the country in good directions.

Sen. Lieberman has impressed me this way. When I listen to him speak, he displays thorough knowledge, common sense, and a rare (in Washington) propensity to assess the facts and select a course of action independent of his party’s “line”. Sometimes his conclusions coincide, sometimes he sees the folly of his own party and refuses to kowtow.

Sen. McCain has also demonstrated this quality. I respect and trust these two far beyond most of the
self-involved, self-serving politicos that infest our nation’s capitol. I would have been thrilled to see Sen. Lieberman selected as McCain’s running mate.

Far from being a Judas, Senator Lieberman is a rare breath of fresh air in a fetid swamp of power hungry cynics.

Posted by rukus522 | Report as abusive

I agree with rukus522 that Lieberman’s “betrayal” is not a betrayal at all. He’s just being true to his beliefs. The very concept of betrayal implies that to state your beliefs instead of following the party line is a travesty. This is what’s killing federal politics, of course. I disagree with Lieberman’s views but respect him for having the gumption to state them.

Still, although he is very experienced and probably very smart, he’s kind of a moron too. He almost single-handedly sabotaged Gore’s election with his comments about the military vote. He was on the freaking ticket and he sabotaged his own campaign. What a pinhead.

Posted by David Bradley | Report as abusive

I suppose Mr. Telhomme, we can all ( Mr. Lieberman included ) breathe a big sigh of relief in that no one is likely to confuse Barak Obama with Jesus Christ.

Posted by DSudd | Report as abusive