The Lieberman switch?

He says there's only a "very remote chance" that he'd change parties, but a vote on war funding could push him over the edge.

Published February 22, 2007 9:44PM (EST)

Joe Lieberman tells Time's Massimo Calabresi that there is only a "very remote possibility" that he'll ever leave the Democratic Party for the GOP, but Calabresi is all but daring him to do it, anyway. "Lieberman's GOP flirtation has its risks -- and a time limit," Calabresi writes in this week's issue. "By this time next year, the 2008 election cycle will overshadow anything that happens in the Senate. The longer he waits to capitalize on his moment, the greater the danger that he'll be tagged as one of those politicians for whom having power is more important than using it."

Would Lieberman actually make the switch -- and, in the process, hand control of the Senate back to the Republican Party? We wouldn't count on it, but only because the Democrats are unlikely ever to take the tough step that might lead him to bolt. In an interview with the Politico's Carrie Budoff, Lieberman seems to say that he can tolerate Democrats' opposition to the war but would find himself itching to switch if the party ever united behind the notion of cutting off funding for the war in Iraq. "I hope we don't get to that point," Lieberman said, without explaining exactly what "that point" is. "That's about all I will say on it today. That would hurt."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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