Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Sadly, Joe Lieberman and Sarah Palin are well-suited for the Senate

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Originally published on on Wed, 11/19/2008 – 10:37am

Today’s tough dilemma: are you more depressed about Joe Lieberman retaining his chairmanships and staying in the Democratic Party caucus in the Senate OR more euphoric that Sarah Palin isn’t going to be joining the U.S. Senate anytime soon?

By a 42-13 vote, Lieberman got to keep virtually all of his toys. Yes, he lost a subcommittee chair (Environment and Public Works Committee), but he got to keep the major toys: chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Air Land Forces.

Was there any moment where Lieberman was quivering in his boots? Any lasting implications for Lieberman to behave like he belongs in the Democratic caucus?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he was angry. “I would defy anyone to be more angry than I was,” Reid said with Lieberman standing behind him. Harry Reid apparently doesn’t know that many people, and apparently no one that reads BuzzFlash.

The other hilarious thing Reid said, in reference to, well, 2008 so far, calling it “a period of time in Joe Lieberman’s political career that I will never understand.” Lieberman’s entire political career is something I will never understand.

In trying to explain politics to people who don’t follow politics, the Senate is a very strange body with odd rules and procedures that don’t lead to efficiency or fairness or integrity. Lieberman gets to trash the party’s nominee, hold back on investigating the other major party (a party that did very little to draw him over to the other side), and speak lavishly on behalf of the other major party’s candidate. Yet what was his punishment? Less than a slap on the wrist.

With a crazy system such as this, you can imagine that Sarah Palin was salivating at the chance to join this body. With a high-wire act the Flying Wallendas would have found amazing, Palin straddled the line between endorsing Ted Stevens and not endorsing him. We do make fun of Palin and her winks, but her winks to Republicans during the Senate campaign were so fluttering we feared she would have to wear an eye patch.

She wanted Stevens to “win” the election, then “tragically” have to resign, and then run in the special election. As you might not remember, Palin has been working behind the scenes to put her stamp on Washington representation. She put a lot of political capital into getting her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to win the House primary against longtime incumbent Don Young. Young won the primary, and barely pulled out the general election.

The American public felt Sarah Palin didn’t have enough experience, or even knowledge, to be vice president. But even her skeptics realize that given the makeup of the U.S. Senate, Palin would probably fit in there just fine. And the Dan Quayle analogies would have been more apt in this environment.

This isn’t to say Palin would have lasted 40 years in the Senate, like Stevens did. But she might find it a better fit for her than vice president, at least for now.

But now that Mark Begich will be the new freshman Senator from Alaska, would Palin run in the Republican primary for Lisa Murkowski’s seat in 2010. In her only election in 2004, Murkowski didn’t win 50% of the vote, and only lost by less than 10,000 votes.

The Senate is going through a tumultuous time right now. We still have four uncertain seats and likely a fifth one in New York. But being a Senator is a great position — incredible perks, job security, prestige. And it allows you to exhibit behavior that would otherwise be scorned. Joe Lieberman, who has been in the Senate since 1989, knows this all too well, and Sarah Palin, who has never been in the Senate, would like to find out.


Written by democracysoup

November 19, 2008 at 10:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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