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The Real Problem with Traitor Joe's Chairmanship

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In looking back through some of the more recent developments on Capitol Hill, the one that raises my blood pressure the most is how Senator Joe Lieberman was so easily let off the hook.

Lieberman is now an Independent, but was a leading Democrat in the Senate for years, and even ran as Al Gore's VP nominee in 2000. But then he went all Zell Miller on us. He campaigned for John McCain this year and even made a prime-time appearance at the Republican National Convention, where he spoke very insultingly of Barack Obama.

At the RNC, he said, "Country matters more than party." Indeed. And that is precisely why I am disappointed that the Senate Democratic Caucus voted on November 18 to allow Lieberman to continue chairing the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

While I admit that my anger is partially due to a desire for vengeance (which, in this case, I prefer to think of as justice), I also have a far more pragmatic reason to oppose Lieberman's continued chairmanship.

You see, the American people elected Barack Obama because of his promise of change. And one very important change that Obama promises is in how we interact with the rest of the world. And a big part of that relates to homeland security -- the committee which Lieberman will continue to chair.

And this is the area in which Lieberman is most dangerous.
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While Lieberman tends to vote with the Democrats on a lot of social issues, he is much more Republican when it comes to foreign policy and homeland security. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of George W. Bush's (and John McCain's) hawkish policies regarding the Iraq war and the homeland security issues that his Senate committee deals with.

And so I see his continued chairmanship as a potential impediment to the change we need in those areas.

Perhaps Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent of Vermont) said it best when he explained why he voted against allowing Lieberman to retain his chairmanship: "While millions of people worked hard for Obama, Lieberman actively worked for four more years of President Bush's policies."

The Republicans always say that the Democrats are weak on national security. Ironically, this latest development may have proven their point.

I hope I am wrong.
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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 

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