Postmasters: Lieberman Endorsement of McCain Could Have Repercussions

According to National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS) :

On Monday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the 2000 Democratic VP nominee, endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for President. The Lieberman endorsement is an attempt to bolster McCain’s sagging support among GOP stalwarts and to energize independent New Hampshire voters. A NH loss would be fatal to McCain’s presidential hopes. (NH independents may vote in the presidential primary.) Sens. Lieberman and McCain have similar views on foreign policy and national security. In addition, Sen. McCain’s former press secretary is the communications director for Lieberman. It should also be noted that, earlier this year, Sen. Lieberman endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for reelection.

The McCain/Collins endorsements may have ripple effects for the postal and federal community, since Sen. Lieberman chairs the Committee with jurisdiction over federal and postal matters. Presently, Lieberman is the Democratic majority-maker in the Senate. Although he is identified as an “Independent”, he caucuses with Democrats. Without Lieberman, the Democrats can count on only 50 senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The breakdown would be 50-50, if Lieberman caucused with the GOP – VP Cheney would be the tie-breaker. Consequently, Democrats feared that Lieberman would jump ship if they denied him his chair. Moreover, the Lieberman-chaired Committee has been hailed as a model of bipartisanship and productivity in a highly divisive Congress. Nonetheless, the upcoming 2008 elections could change the Senate dynamic, yielding to a stronger Democratic majority that may try to deny Lieberman his chairmanship, as a payback for the McCain endorsement.

It appears that Democrats could pick up 3-5 Senate seats. Therefore, there may be a diminished necessity to accommodate Sen. Lieberman with a chair. If the Democrats strip Lieberman of his chair, the Democrats would need to look down the Committee list to see who Sen. Lieberman’s Democratic successor could be. The most senior committee Democrat is Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI); however, it is doubtful that he would relinquish the chair of the Armed Service Committee. Next on the list is Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI); he presently chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee. After Akaka is Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE); although he chairs a subcommittee, he does not chair a Full Senate Committee. Of course, we will have to wait a year to see what happens.

source: eNAPUS Newsletter