One of the big hobby horses with left-leaning political blogs at the moment is that despite the collective lefty howling mass calling for the obliteration of Joe Lieberman for being a traitor to the left, it looks like he might hang on and stay with the Democratic caucus, in no small part due to the intervention of Barack Obama, whose people have hinted that it would please the president-elect to have Lieberman stay within the fold.
This is causing consternation — what’s the point of being in power if you can’t settle scores? — but I believe there may be a good and practical reason that Obama has hinted that he’d be fine with Lieberman hanging about. As you might know, on the day Obama came and toured the White House, on the way back to Chicago he held a couple of other meetings with undisclosed people. I suspect one of those meetings went like this:
SCENE OPENS on SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN sitting alone in a nondescript back room at Reagan National Airport. It’s clear he’s been made to wait a long time. Suddenly, the door to the room opens and two Secret Service agents enter and examine the room. After they’ve given the all clear, another man enters the room. It is PRESIDENT ELECT BARACK OBAMA. LIEBERMAN stands.
(Holds up hand to silence LIEBERMAN)
Let’s make this quick. To recap, for the last couple of years you’ve been in the pocket of the Republicans on the war and other topics. You campaigned against me and for the Republicans. You even spoke at the Republican National Convention. And now you want me to help you save your seniority with the Democrats.
Yes, sir. Please.
If I do this thing, you understand the cost.
Fine. Hand them over.
LIEBERMAN looks around at the other men in the room, who stare at him impassively. Finally, LIEBERMAN sighs, reaches down into his pants, and detaches his TESTICLES. He raises them up to look them, wistfully, then moves to offer them to OBAMA.
No. Give them to Carl.
OBAMA nods toward one of the Secret Service agents, who is holding up a lunch-sized paper bag. LIEBERMAN drops the TESTICLES into the bag. CARL quickly folds the top of the bag over twice, three times, and once the TESTICLES are secure, hands the bag to OBAMA, whose takes it without looking, having kept his eyes on LIEBERMAN. OBAMA raises the bag, still looking at LIEBERMAN.
These are mine now. I’m keeping them for the next four years. I’m going to keep them in a drawer in the White House desk. And if at any time in the next four years there’s so much as a hint that you might do something to displease or oppose me, then I’m going to take them out, and then I’m going to take this —
(OBAMA raises a large rubber mallet he’s been hiding behind his back)
— and I’m going to turn them into pate, which I will then feed to Malia and Sasha’s puppy. Or maybe I’ll just skip all of that and give them to Rahm.
(eyes widening in abject terror at the thought of what RAHM EMANUEL might do to the TESTICLES, if given a chance)
That’s not going to be necessary, sir.
Let’s hope not, Joe. Let’s sincerely hope not.
(OBAMA turns to go, then pauses, jiggles the bag, and looks back at LIEBERMAN)
This bag is really light, Joe. You know, I thought they’d be bigger.
OBAMA leaves, followed by his Secret Service agents. LIEBERMAN is left in the room, still unzipped, mouth open.
Now, maybe that’s not exactly how it went. But I bet it was something along that line.