Lieberman faces uncertain future in Democratic Senate
WASHINGTON – When the new Congress convenes in January, Sen. Joe Lieberman may no longer be chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. In fact, Lieberman may no longer be a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
A growing number of Democrats are fed up with Lieberman, their 2000 vice presidential nominee who normally votes with them on such basics as education, health care and the environment.
But Lieberman, a former Democrat turned independent, is campaigning for Republican presidential nominee John McCain largely because of McCain’s support for the Iraq war.
Democrats, who are expected to increase their majority in Tuesday’s election, may punish Lieberman by stripping him of his commmittee chairmanship or even booting him out of their caucus.
If Lieberman loses his chairmanship, as widely expected, he may drop out of the caucus. Some senior aides say he’s unlikely to be thrown out, but others say no decision has been made.
“We are not going to discuss that until after the election,” Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, told reporters this week when asked about Lieberman’s fate.
When a reporter suggested that Lieberman may be in trouble, Schumer said, “You can draw your own conclusions.”
If Lieberman is worried, he isn’t showing it.
“Senator Lieberman is focused on doing all he can to elect John McCain as president rather than post-election Washington punditry and politics,” said Marshall Wittman, Lieberman’s communications director.
Polls show Democrat Barack Obama leading in the White House race. But if McCain pulls it out, Lieberman could end up in a McCain administration, perhaps as defense secretary.
Photo credit: Reuters/ Carlos Barria (McCain and Lieberman)