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Lieberman Will Meet with Reid

11:29 AM, Nov 5, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Several outlets (including Roll Call) report that Joe Lieberman will meet with Harry Reid on Thursday to discuss Lieberman's place in the next Congress. Speculation is rampant that Reid will strip Lieberman of his chairmanship:

A growing number of Senate Democrats have been pressuring Reid to penalize Lieberman for aggressively backing Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in this year's presidential contest. At stake for Lieberman is his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and his place in the Democratic Conference.

It remains unclear what Reid will say in his upcoming meeting with Lieberman, but Democrats believe he is inching toward at least wresting the Homeland Security gavel from him. Lieberman, who sides with Democrats on most issues except the war in Iraq, became one of McCain's most ardent allies and one of President-elect Obama's vocal critics this presidential season.

Senate Democrats were particularly incensed with their Connecticut colleague after his bruising speech during the GOP presidential convention, during which Lieberman went on the attack against Obama. Lieberman was Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 2000.

This will be the first test of how Barack Obama and the Democrats plan to run Washington. Both Obama and the congressional leadership have promised bipartisanship and comity. Harry Reid said last night that the election results are 'not a mandate for a political party or an ideology." He'd seem quite the hypocrite if he said that at the same time he was planning to eject Lieberman from the conference.

Beyond that, Democrats who were contemplating a 60-vote Senate majority 24 hours ago, have awakened to find that they may have as few as 56 seats. Do they really want to make it 55 -- even before Obama decides whether to tap any Senators for administration posts? Given the challenges ahead, and considering the public relations hit they'll take, the wiser course of action is to attempt to rebuild bridges with Lieberman. The primary constituency for ditching him is the Democratic netroots. Is Harry Reid more committed to them, or to the moderate course Democrats have promised?