How do you solve a problem like Joe Lieberman?

The erstwhile Democrat may not be welcome in the Senate's Democratic caucus next year, especially if he speaks at the Republican convention.

Published July 14, 2008 5:19PM (EDT)

The question of Joe Lieberman and his intentions -- not to mention the intentions of Senate Democrats toward him -- isn't going away, at least not yet.

Lieberman, who won reelection to the Senate as an "independent Democrat" after he lost the Democratic primary in 2006, has been shifting further and further to the right ever since, and has been a prominent supporter of John McCain's run for the presidency. Democrats have, for the most part, grinned and borne this. But columnist Robert Novak suggested that Lieberman might be on his way to heading one step too far. In his column on Sunday, Novak wrote, "Democratic insiders are certain that ... Lieberman will be kicked out of the party's caucus next year and lose his Senate chairmanship if he addresses the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., as planned."

Separately, on Monday the New York Times' Mark Leibovich explored the tension surrounding Lieberman in the Senate and Democrats' growing dislike of him, not to mention Lieberman's sometimes cavalier attitude about it. Leibovich reports that Lieberman will not attend the Democratic convention, but says it's still not certain that he'll address the Republicans'.

Talking Points Memo's Greg Sargent took issue with Leibovich's piece. "There are two facts about Joe Lieberman that the big news orgs simply can't bring themselves to tell their readers and viewers," Sargent wrote. "The first is that during the 2006 campaign against Ned Lamont, Lieberman and his aides vowed multiple times that he would continue caucusing with the Democrats. The second is that Lieberman also vowed to help elect a Democrat to the White House in 2008 ... the paper's main failing here ... is to remind us that the big news orgs just won't stop airbrushing away the fact that Lieberman misled his constituents in two key ways."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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