Senator Harry Reid just spoke to reporters after the private caucus meeting with Dems over Joe Lieberman's fate, and he confirmed it: Lieberman will not be stripped of his Homeland Security chairmanship, because the "vast majority" of the Democratic caucus wants him to stay.
"This was not a time for retribution," Reid said, quoting an unnamed Senator. We're "moving forward," Reid added.
Lieberman was removed from the Environment and Public Works Committee, a largely meaningless punishment, a committee where (unlike Homeland Security) he has no differences with Dems.
Asked about liberal "anger" towards Lieberman, Reid said: "I pretty well understand anger. I would defy anyone to be more angry than I was."
But he added: "If you will look at the problems that we face as a nation, is this a time we walk out of here saying boy did we get even?"
"I feel good about what we did today," Reid said. "We're moving forward."
Lieberman himself, meanwhile, said he was able to keep his slot thanks to Barack Obama, whose recent statement said he held "no grudges" against Lieberman. Lieberman singled out the "appeal by President Obama himself" as a key reason he's staying.
So, Senate Dems will be allowing Lieberman to keep his plum spot despite the fact that he has been deeply awful in that role, and despite the fact that he endorsed efforts by the GOP to imply that Obama is in league with terrorists, suggested that Obama endangered our troops, and said Obama hasn't always put the country first.Worse, Reid is echoing an argument he knows is false: That this is only about retribution. Reid and his fellow Senators have made the political decision to leave Lieberman in a job that he was a disaster at, rather than make the good governmental decision to remove him for the good of the country.