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Dodd: Lieberman Being Reprimanded Is “Ridiculous”

Last week Chris Dodd said he might support Joe Lieberman as an independent in 2012. And yesterday after Lieberman threatened to take the unprecedented and historic move of joining the Republicans to break the caucus’s filibuster-proof majority, Dodd said there would be no consequence:

But Lieberman’s fellow Connecticut senator, Democrat Chris Dodd, who faces a tough reelection fight in 2010, dismissed the idea that
Lieberman would incur any retribution.

“No, no, no. People are going to be all over the place,” he said when asked if Lieberman should be punished. “The idea that people are
going to be reprimanded because somehow they have a different point of view than someone else is ridiculous. That isn’t going to happen.”

As tparty says over at MLN, Dodd is demonstrating a “forgiving attitude towards his junior colleague” that I understand. But it’s one thing to say “Joe’s being Joe.” It’s another to assert his authority within the caucus as a powerful committee chair to say Lieberman will face no penalty for abandoning the caucus on a critical procedural vote. He went too far.

As I recall people weren’t too happy when Bill Clinton sent a similar signal on Larry King — with disastrous consequences. For everyone but Joe Lieberman, that is.

I held my tongue when Dodd ran that credit card bill through Senate Banking like it was a heroic move, when in reality the Fed had already mandated everything in the bill and he just codified it and moved up the timeline a little so he could take credit for it.

Now Dodd’s opponent Rob Simmons is applauding Lieberman’s bold move to derail health care. Before this gets out of hand, Dodd needs to man up and say Joe — and every Democrat in the Senate — should insist on caucus unity on an “Upper-Down Vote.” Because even Arlen Specter is calling for that.

Harry Reid screwed up and didn’t demand that Lieberman vote with the caucus on cloture votes as the price of his committee chairmanship. “I trust Senator Lieberman…. We’re looking forward, we’re not looking back,” he said. Well, Joe’s looking back — to the same old Joe. If Chris Dodd has more loyalty to an “old boy’s club” notion of the Senate than he does to an issue he was tasked to lead on by both the President and Ted Kennedy, I think he firmly moves into “part of the problem” territory.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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