16 nov. 2008

Rachel Maddow Show: Risks of Keeping Lieberman as Chairman

Many in the blogosphere, including OpenLeft (here and here), have noted that the removal of Joe Lieberman from his committee post isn't about revenge -- it's about political pragmatism. In specific, it's about making sure a guy who has repeatedly displayed his deep personal and irrational hatred for Barack Obama doesn't have the subpoena power to embark on witch hunts against President Obama. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night took all of those arguments and summed them up in a really great piece:
So, to reiterate -- removing Lieberman is not about revenge, it's about helping make sure the next administration doesn't have to spend all it's time fending off a crazed McCarthyist with subpoena power.
Maddow's final point is really important -- This idea that Democrats can just strip him of his chairmanship the moment he gets on his first witch hunt is absurd. Once he's down that road, he becomes almost impossible to control, because he will be portrayed as the Honest Crusader, and Democratic efforts to restrain him will be likened to Richard Nixon's "midnight massacre" where he fired Archibald Cox. It will, in short, create a martyr more powerful than even a Chairman Lieberman.