The Warm, Comforting Feeling of Doing Nothing (For Now)

So the gathering consensus for why Lieberman should keep his chairmanship and seniority for now is that we might need his vote down the road. And that’s a real concern, albeit one that would be a little easier for me to accept if we hadn’t been listening to that tune since 2006. What has it gotten us so far?

There’s a certain psychological tic prevalent in individuals of all political stripes that Lieberman is a master of manipulating. It’s the reason why he’s still a member of the Democratic caucus, and it’s the reason why so few pundits have the stones to go hard on him like Ezra Klein did. Basically, there’s immense institutional pressure–from the media, yes, but also from what influence Lieberman already wields in the Senate and within beltway opinion–to just let his numerous infractions slide. But not permanently; just for now.

After all, now isn’t a very good time. There’s all this stuff going on. Why not just kick the can down the road a little while longer, until there isn’t all this stuff? Maybe when the Democrats have 61 seats, or when Ezra Klein has Charles Lane’s job and can say whatever he wants. In the meantime, let’s just leave it be. And who knows? Maybe he’ll stop screwing us in the meantime, on account of us being so accommodating.

The problem is, there’s no end to this line of thinking. It’s the perfect perpetual inaction machine. And the longer this remains the consensus, the more damage Lieberman can do.

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