OK, I'm wrong to trash Harry Reid on Ho Lieberman
The excellent Bob Geiger explains. Long story short: Reid can't strip Whiney Joe of his committee assignmnets because that's not how the Senate works.
While many of the calls for harsh action from Reid may be righteous, bloggers castigating him for not stripping Lieberman of his committee assignments -- especially his standing as ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee -- and urging their readers to call Reid's office to harangue him about this, are simply wrong and not reporting accurately on what is or is not within Reid's authority.
Based on the way the Senate works procedurally, this is simply not something that Reid even has the authority to do.
Let me break down why that is.
The membership in Senate committees is decided at the start of every Congress with a haggled-out thing called an "organizing resolution." The entire Senate votes on it and it usually passes by unanimous consent. ...
To give Joe his well-deserved comeuppance by taking him off committees and effectively making him the most junior member of the Senate, Reid would have to formally propose an amendment to the current organizing resolution, manage to get it to a vote and then get every Democrat and a handful of Republicans to vote for a new committee organization sans Lieberman. If Majority Leader Bill Frist decided to filibuster Reid's action, 60 votes would be required to keep it alive.
Based on that procedural construct, Harry Reid can't just unilaterally, or even by a closed vote of the Democratic caucus, strip Lieberman of his committee assignments.
In short, it ain't gonna happen. Even if Reid were to go way out on a limb like this and even if he were to get all Senate Democrats to make such a big move, I stand a better chance of getting a hot date with Salma Hayek then there is of even one Republican voting with them to boot Joe.
Which makes sense. Why would Republicans vote to strip a Republican of anything?
So, I get to be wild about Harry again!
Now, remember that Reid is a master of parliamentary procedure. That's how he's managed to Deke Frist over and over again. So, I'd hope that Reid would, procedurally, arrange for Ho Lieberman to step on a very big banana...