Congress: Secret ballot for we but not for thee

posted at 12:40 pm on November 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Senate Democrats will vote on whether Joe Lieberman should retain the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, a panel he largely created by drafting legislation for the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks.  They will conduct that vote by secret ballot rather than publicly state their positions, which provides more than a little irony for the Democratic support of Card Check legislation:

Senate Democrats will vote by secret ballot on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman ’s fate this week, according to North Dakota Sen. Byron L. Dorgan .

The caucus is due to meet Tuesday to decide whether Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent from Connecticut, should be punished for his aggressive support of Sen. John McCain , R-Ariz., for president. …

Lieberman is expected to speak to the caucus during its first post-election meeting. If the vote follows the form of a leadership election, senators — with no staff — will sequester themselves, one Democrat will ask for a vote and another will second the motion.

Lawmakers will write their vote on slip of paper, those papers will be collected and counted, and the final tally will be read aloud to the caucus. Lieberman, then, will be able to know how many of his colleagues stood with him but will not know their identities.

Byron Dorgan refused to take a public position on the issue during his appearance on Fox News Sunday, continuing the irony:

The Democratic Party issued full-throated support for the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act during this year’s campaign. Most members of the Democratic Senate Caucus have already committed to voting for Card Check in the 111th Congress. That strips the secret ballot from workers and forces them into committing publicly to whether or not they support organizing their workforce. Yet the Democrats won’t allow a public vote on which members want to punish Lieberman for his support of John McCain during the campaign?

On Lieberman’s crime and punishment, expect the caucus to come up with something just short of removal from the chair of the Homeland Security Committee. They know they’ll need Lieberman to fight Republican filibusters for the next two to four years, and they can’t afford to alienate Lieberman entirely.  If they do remove Lieberman and he joins the Republican caucus as a result, the final irony may be that the secret ballot that forced his hand will result in his joining a filibuster to preserve the secret ballot for American workers — who need its protection a hell of a lot more than the Senators who want to strip it from them.

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C’mon, Joe. Go have a chat with a nice, conservative rabbi and re-think your position on life issues. Then come over to our side.

Y-not on November 17, 2008 at 12:44 PM

So he’s off the committee, then.

Vashta.Nerada on November 17, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Y-not on November 17, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Orthodox, not conservative.

Aristotle on November 17, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Yes, It was George Bush that eroded our freedoms. Trampled on the consitution.

/sarc

Kini on November 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Bryan Dorgan is correct name.Kent Conrad is the other dork from ND.

geo on November 17, 2008 at 12:51 PM

The hypocrisy of it all astounds me…

Meanwhile, kids are buying Obama t-shirts in droves.

/spits

Kevin in Washington State on November 17, 2008 at 12:52 PM

I caught that when he said it, and since I was recording the show, I stopped it, and played it back.

The hypocrisy from the left is stunning, and even more stunning is the media’s ignoring of it, and our side’s lack of communicating it as effectively to the nation as needs to be done.

ReaganConservative3 on November 17, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Orthodox, not conservative.

Aristotle on November 17, 2008 at 12:47 PM

I was speaking politically, but thanks. You’re right.

Y-not on November 17, 2008 at 12:55 PM

They told me that if I voted for George Bush small groups of powerful white men would work feverishly in total secrecy to deny American citizens the right to confront their accusers in open procedures – and they right!

Heh.

Bruno Strozek on November 17, 2008 at 12:56 PM

If Joe would just leave the Democrats behind, I could start saying, “I hate Democrats,” without having to add, “except Joe Lieberman.”

It would make life a little easier for me.

myrenovations on November 17, 2008 at 12:57 PM

You all should be used to the Congressional hypocrisy by now. This is nothing new.

HawaiiLwyr on November 17, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Help me out with this one, was Lieberman not doing a good job? Was he incompetent and they want to replace him with someone more knowledgeable? Gosh, why would they replace him?

sheesh on November 17, 2008 at 1:02 PM

/snorts

You all think this is something new?

**rollseyes**

With more watching their Senators and Congressmen… (and they don’t seem to care if we are watching them) they are going to keep doing the same crap.

Wake Up America!

upinak on November 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM

This is all a sham setup people – don’t fall for it.

Obama needs to ‘break ranks’ with the DEM leadership, so you see Obama out there affirming that Lieberman should caucus with the DEMs, etc.

Lieberman’s love affair is with McGrahamnesty. Three peas in a pod. He’s not a Republican and won’t caucus with the GOP. He’ll end up caucusing with the DEMs again after Reid puts on a show about some squabble with Obama and how Obama demonstrated ‘great leadership’ by bringing all sides together and reaching a peaceful resolution.

gatorboy on November 17, 2008 at 1:07 PM

obie wants to work with mccain, who has agreed to play scapegoat/strawman as needed. liebs was just setting an example for obie

billypaintbrush on November 17, 2008 at 1:09 PM

I do get the irony. I just want to mention that we sometimes get better outcomes by politicians secret deals then if monitor them all the time. Publicity can make compromise impossible. On the other hand, I suppose there are many issues which don’t want Congress to make any “progress”.

thuja on November 17, 2008 at 1:15 PM

“for we”? GAAAAAACK!

(Ich bin Grammatiknazi.)

The Monster on November 17, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Would replacing Joe as chairman qualify as a hate crime?

jerseyman on November 17, 2008 at 1:21 PM

Congress should NEVER be allowed “Secret votes”(unless it may involve national security)
They are public servants, every thing they do officially should be open to public scrutiny. They work for us!
What cowards to even ask to do it this way.
Spit

redshirt on November 17, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Congress should NEVER be allowed “Secret votes”(unless it may involve national security)
They are public servants, every thing they do officially should be open to public scrutiny. They work for us!
What cowards to even ask to do it this way.
Spit

redshirt on November 17, 2008 at 1:23 PM

What is wrong with people like you? This isn’t a vote in congress. Lieberman isn’t being removed from being a senator (though I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that).

This is a private matter by the Democrat party – unless somehow you think the Democrat party is now congress (and that is scary).

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 1:31 PM

I couldn’t agree more stongly that this is a cowardly act, but posting that here doesn’t do near as much as deluging your democratic congress person’s office with calls/e-mails that this is Un-American and that we expect these kind of votes to be made in the light of day.

Chewy the Lab on November 17, 2008 at 1:36 PM

gatorboy, I think you got it right.

If we are serious about the total revamping of the Republican Party, forget about adding Lieberman. He’s a good guy, and I’m glad he supported McCain, but he is a Democrat.

The last thing the Republican Party needs right now is a Senator who votes like a Democrat in regarding to economic issues. Isn’t that the problem right now? Republicans spending like Democrats?

jcheney on November 17, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Will anyone ask the Democratic Senators why they get a secret ballot, but workers don’t? Or are we not allowed to ask Democratic Senators any question anymore, lest we get “investigated”.

rbj on November 17, 2008 at 1:41 PM

That would be great, if he went to the Lighter Side! I am wondering if The One, will offer McCain a position. What do some of you think. Do we really need McCain to stay in the Senate? In a way, I think he should. But then, he has made me mad a few times. About immigration for one thing. And how he was not that serious about his Campaign. I don’t know. Joe is a wonderful man. I hope he does come to our side.

sheebe on November 17, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Will anyone ask the Democratic Senators why they get a secret ballot, but workers don’t? Or are we not allowed to ask Democratic Senators any question anymore, lest we get “investigated”.

rbj on November 17, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Good One! I wouldn’t put it past them. They are above and beyond their People that pay them, to be there.

sheebe on November 17, 2008 at 1:42 PM

from being a senator (though I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that).

This is a private matter by the Democrat party – unless somehow you think the Democrat party is now congress (and that is scary).

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 1:31 PM

THis isn’t a private matter. They are still members of Congress and are still beholden to their contituents, who btw are not only Democrats. Leiberman is the chairman. I would like to know who it is among the Democrats that wants to vote his ass out of the chairmanship and why? They should have to answer why they did or did not want him to remain as chairman. If it is for partisan political reasons only, then go on record and say so. This is just cowardly to do by secret ballot. They should have to state their case as to why he is removed if that is what ultimately happens.

JAM on November 17, 2008 at 1:43 PM

This is a private matter by the Democrat party – unless somehow you think the Democrat party is now congress (and that is scary).

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Yeah well I believe those types of positions STILL affect us voters. I agree they shouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING like that in secret. I want to know who these people are & what they’re capable of.

Badger40 on November 17, 2008 at 1:44 PM

While I agree we need to know who votes against Joe, it will probably remain a secret ballot. That’s alright, we still know them for the weasels they are.

sheebe – Mac had better be careful how he parlays will Barry. If he works too closely with him or accepts a position, people will see him as a naive,self-serving
weasel.

kingsjester on November 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM

will=with
oops.

kingsjester on November 17, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Cowards, all.

whitetop on November 17, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Oh, not just cowards. Hypocritical cowards. They’d leave American workers subject to bullying and intimidation by union officials (think personal friends of Tony Soprano), but they’re convinced that they need a secret ballot to prevent… what? To prevent Joe Lieberman from figuring out which of them screwed him?

Moreover, Dorgan makes it sound like Lieberman abandoned his party. I seem to recall that Lieberman’s party abandoned him, and endorsed Ned Lamont when the latter ran against Lieberman.

So, let’s call them bitter, small-minded, hypocritical, vindictive cowards. That seems a bit more accurate.

morganfrost on November 17, 2008 at 2:16 PM

This is a private matter by the Democrat party -

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 1:31 PM

B.S. These are public servants conducting the public’s business at the public’s expense in a public building. Unless there is a compelling reason to do something in secret (e.g., national security is at issue), there is no excuse for them to be doing anything in secret.

AZCoyote on November 17, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Calm down people.

They are voting on if they want to keep Lieberman in their party. That is their choice. Just like a decision to expel Ted Stevens from our party – same thing, it is OUR choice, and it is a PRIVATE matter.

As for what he heads – again, that is basically privately done. There is no vote. DeMint right now is heavily lobbying to get on the committee he wants – and there is no vote that can stop him from doing that.

Again – this is not a public matter. If they kick him out of the Democrat party, HE IS STILL A SENATOR. The people of CT picked an independent, and that is what he will be.

Sheesh.

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Reminder to all who read this and voted for Nobama and the blatantly suppressive leadership, Hitler and Stalin were historical elected officials too, how’d that work out? Oh, yes I did…

PatriotPete on November 17, 2008 at 3:39 PM

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Sorry, they are public officials and supposedly Obama ran on a platform of “Transparency”. Everything they do is a public matter. Their decisions affect the public, and we have a right to know.
Curious, though, do you support card check?

redshirt on November 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM

I don’t know what the big deal is with Lieberman. Do the Dems not realize that if Franken wins (steals it) and Chambliss loses, all Lieberman has to do is hold up his independent middle finger and causus with the Republicans and good by 60 votes.

Go ahead Dems, make his day.

revolution on November 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM

Pussies.

holygoat on November 17, 2008 at 4:27 PM

I doubt that Lieberman will join the Republicans even if he does lose his committee chair, because his positions on most issues are closer to those of the Democrats. However, even as an “Independent”, he might be persuaded to join Republican filibusters on national-security issues, if Obama veers too far left.

Since Republicans will have fewer Senators next year than now, they should start looking for “moderate” Democrats who might be susceptible to filibustering far-left proposals such as “card check” unionization and socialized health care. Some potential candidates would include Ben Nelson (NE), Mary Landrieu (LA), Tim Johnson (SD), and incoming Senator Mark Warner (VA), and possibly whoever is appointed to Joe Biden’s seat in Delaware. This might be needed if Norm Coleman (MN) and/or Saxby Chambliss (GA) are not re-elected, or if there are some Republican defectors. One other point to consider–Democrats’ efforts to get 60 votes might be hampered by frequent absences by Ted Kennedy (MA) or Robert Byrd (WV) due to health reasons…

Steve Z on November 17, 2008 at 5:05 PM

It’s just ‘Mean Girls’ all over again.

Will the Democratic Party please grow up!

Common Sense on November 17, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Again – this is not a public matter. If they kick him out of the Democrat party, HE IS STILL A SENATOR. The people of CT picked an independent, and that is what he will be.

Sheesh.

A Axe on November 17, 2008 at 2:50 PM

I disagree. It is a public matter because they work for us. Very incompetently, i might add. When they take out
competent people with years of experience so they can settle a grudge, it is not serving the american people well.

sheesh on November 17, 2008 at 8:09 PM

As a North Dakota resident, I hereby dub thee
Sir Byron Dorgan: National Embarassment

Cylor on November 17, 2008 at 10:48 PM