Liebermann's in for a world o' hurt:
Joe Lieberman's fate remains very much in the air. Nico Pitney reports:Bolstered by a newly expanded majority, Harry Reid met with Joe Lieberman on Thursday to sketch out the conditions by which the Connecticut independent could continue to caucus with Senate Democrats. But Lieberman did not accept Reid's initial offers, leaving his future in the caucus uncertain, and potentially setting off a campaign to pressure the Democratic
steering committee to decide Lieberman's fate.
Reid offered Lieberman a deal to step down as chairman of the homeland security committee but take over the reins of another subcommittee, likely overseeing economic or small business issues officials said.
Immediately after his meeting with Reid, Lieberman told reporters that he had not made a decision about his future in the caucus, and appeared to launch his first public appeal to members of the Democratic steering committee, whose members decide committee chair assignments.
"I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get our economy going again and to keep the American people safe. that is exactly what I intend to do with my colleagues here in the Senate in support of our new president, and those are the standards I will use in considering the options that I have before me," Lieberman told reporters.
I suppose Lieberman wants Senate Democrats to think of him as someone who's cooperative and open-minded, his offensive conduct during the campaign notwithstanding.
Jane Hamsher added some insightful speculation: "Reid told him he can stay in the caucus if he steps down from his committee chairmanship.... I imagine Reid told him they'll wait to do anything until the other Senate races are decided, but that's the way it's going to go down. Those are the rather well-sourced rumors circulating, anyway. Joe now goes to see if he can get a better deal from the GOP, knowing his chances of winning in Connecticut as a Republican in 2012 are about 'zero.'"
Rock, hard place, do you mind if we just squeeze Libermann in there? Thanks.
Rahm Emanuel confirms he'll be Obama's Chief of Staff:
After a day or so of "agonizing" over whether to take the job, Rahm Emanuel has accepted the job of Obama's chief of staff, a Democratic aide confirms to us.
The move is an interesting one for a variety of reasons: Emanuel comes out of the Clinton world. He's a longtime D.C. insider joining the administration of a new outsider who is vowing to change Washington.
And he's a bit of a partisan warrior who can bang heads together behind the scenes to implement Obama's agenda while Obama sounds conciliatory, consensus-building tones in public.
It's Obama's first major public appointment.
I'm seeing some strategy in this choice. Obama never does anything without thinking it through, so I do believe this means he expects to need a fighter in this administration. Considering what the blithering idiots otherwise known as our press corps are saying, that's a fair assessment:
On October 18, Newsweek ran a cover story titled “America the Conservative” by Jon Meacham, in which Meacham argued:Should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal – a perennial reality that past Democratic presidents have ignored at their peril.
Yesterday, in an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, Meacham again reiterated that America is “center-right.” Meacham suggested that progressives should not stake too much in Obama’s progressive agenda and that they’ll forgive him out of “faith” if he tacks to the right...
As ThinkProgress has noted repeatedly, the country is not “center-right,” despite what the cover of Newsweek said last month. In fact, the center of the country favors progressive legislation like raising
the minimum wage and providing universal health care, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) explained yesterday.
Based on the solidarity of progressives regarding past feuds over FISA legislation, for example, it’s highly unlikely liberal activists will just “forgive” Obama if he relents on his progressive agenda.
That won't keep the media, conservatives, and other assorted dead-enders from frantically trying to convince us we actually wanted and voted for a conservative president, mind you. Be prepared to be loud, proud, and ready to rumble, my darlings: we need to show our new Democratic congress, Democratic Senate, and Democratic president that we the people are not much interested in heading right.
And make no mistake: we are getting bluer by the minute:
Democrats get a little more good news.Democrat Jeff Merkley has ousted Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, a victory once considered unlikely against an incumbent who had highlighted his efforts to work across the aisle in hopes of surviving a wave of anti-GOP sentiment.Smith, who had run campaign ads trying to tie himself to Obama, called Merkley this morning to concede. All of the votes are not yet counted, by Merkley enjoys a 2-point lead with votes in heavily Democratic areas yet to be counted.
Smith's loss -- the first for an incumbent Oregon senator in 40 years -- means Democrats are poised to have at least 57 votes in the Senate next year. He had been the last GOP senator standing in the three Pacific Coast states south of Alaska.
"There's a lot of work for us to do together," Merkley told a crowd of supporters Thursday morning as they jammed a
room at Portland State University and spilled into the hallway.
"It's time for a very different approach," he said, in such areas as health care, job creation, affordable housing and energy
Barack Obama has won North Carolina, according to projections from NBC News, the New York Times and the Associated Press, with Obama leading by 14,000 votes out of over 4.2 million cast.
Not everyone has called the race yet, but assuming Obama's apparent win here holds up it would be a major watershed event.
'nuff said on that front. Let's move on to the bloodshed in what's left of the Bush administration:
Yesterday evening, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief Julie Myers will be stepping down on Nov. 15, although he gave no reason for her departure. From the press release:Assistant Secretary Julie Myers has announced that she will depart the department on Nov. 15. Julie has been an extraordinary Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and when she approached me in mid-September to discuss her departure, I knew this would be a loss for the department. Julie has been a major force in transforming ICE into a 21st century law enforcement agency. […][snip]
Myers has been a controversial figure since the day that President Bush nominated her. She was widely criticized as being a crony hire, being the daughter of former Air Force Gen. Richard Myers and possessing almost no immigration or customs experience. During her tenure, ICE was heavily criticized for carrying out politically-motivated immigration raids.
Myers’s resignation comes just days after a “federal law enforcment official” told the AP that Barack Obama’s aunt was living in the United States illegally. ICE officials, however, are “prohibited from commenting on any individual’s status or the status of any case.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has called for an immediate investigation into the matter. On Saturday, Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone questioned whether Myers may have been the source of the unauthorized leak.
It may not be spring - it isn't even January - but the White House clean-up job has already gotten off to a very good start.