When Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut ran as an independent against Ned Lamont, the man who won his state's senate Democratic primary back in 2006, many of his colleagues in Washington distanced themselves from the party's 2000 Vice Presidential nominee. And although Lieberman emerged victorious from his near-defeat less than four years ago, he hasn't forgotten the slight.
Since declining to ascede to the results brought about by his state's Democratic voters back in 2006, Lieberman has stung Democrats numerous times, perhaps most notably in his support of John McCain, the Republican nominee for president in 2008. In a stroke of magnanimity, President Obama urged Democrats not to strip Lieberman of his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship in retribution, at the very time when many Democrats wanted to see the Connecticut Senator punished.
But Lieberman made Democrats cringe again earlier in the week when he announced that he would not support the health care reform bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is bringing to the Senate floor, citing the public option as his major concern. Reid largely dismissed Lieberman, saying that, "Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems."
But the fact is that it won't take too many "problem" Senators to derail landmark health care reform legislation. And for his recent years of battling his former party-mates, Lieberman is happy to be that legislator.
What's likely to spark even more ire is that Lieberman yesterday told ABC news that he'd likely campaign for some Senate Republican candidates in 2010.
Still, Democrats may not have much choice in dealing with Lieberman's less-than-assured support for their bills. Because without him, Senate Democrats are mired at 59 votes- one shy of the number they'll need to pass much of anything in a the bitterly partisan legislative chamber.