Thursday, November 6, 2008

Joe Must Go! Joe Must Go!

After Joe Lieberman endorsed John McCain despite his already fragile relationship with the Democratic "base," it was pretty clear that his future with the Democratic Party was tenuous at best. Today, it would seem, he has begun to reap the rewards for his disloyalty, being informed that he will likely no longer be able to hold his position as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. He was offered the ability to chair a lesser subcommittee, which it would seem he rejected. As a result, it is increasingly unclear whether he will be allowed to remain a member of the Democratic Caucus (presumably he would then caucus with the Republicans if he is kicked out).

The prospects of this move are nothing but music to my ears - and should be music to the ears of all libertarians. First - and most important - Lieberman is perhaps the single most pro-Global War on Terror Senate Democrat; there is thus no worse Senate Democrat to chair the Homeland Security Committee from a libertarian (or liberal) perspective. Indeed, his views on foreign relations can pretty much only be described as "neo-conservative." Whoever his replacement may be, that replacement is guaranteed to be an improvement.

Second, if Lieberman is indeed removed from the Dem Caucus (as he should be), then that will marginally increase the ability of Senate Republicans to filibuster Dem legislation. In other words - it marginally increases the chances of a successful filibuster on any given issue. From a libertarian perspective, frequent filibusters are almost universally the best we can hope for whenever there is single-party rule in Washington (regardless of which party that may be).

Although less relevant to the moral implications of rooting for Lieberman to be sent packing to the Republicans, it's worth noting that his departure would play a significant role in the slight reformation of the political coalitions. Specifically, Lieberman is quite left-of-center on economic issues. I would expect that his switch of coalitions would hasten the gravity pulling the Republicans to the economic left, while also removing some small modicum of the inertia keeping the Democrats from slowly moving towards the economic right.

The bottom line - there are few things that are, in the long run, more beneficial to libertarianism than the immediate departure of Joe Lieberman for the ranks of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, because of Lieberman's apostasy on foreign relations and the Global War on Terruh, his departure would be a huge victory for liberals as well.

For what it's worth, Jane Hamsher - a powerful voice for civil liberties - has put forth a petition asking the Senate Democrats to strip Lieberman of any committee chairmanships. Liberals and libertarians alike can sign it here.

More at memeorandum.