Joe Lieberman, Democratic Survivor

Nothing is official yet, but the momentum seems to be on Joe Lieberman's side in his bid to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Needless to say, this is a distressing development for Lieberman's many passionate critics on the left, who believed that his fervent support of John McCain – and occasional elbow in Barack Obama's face – combined with the Democrats' beefed up Senate majority would be enough for the party's caucus to jettison him once and for all.

But that's not how things have played out since last week's election – and it really shouldn't come as a surprise.

The Lieberman saga began, of course, after the 2006 elections, when Senate Democrats, locked out of the majority for all but 16 months of the previous 12 years, found themselves with 49 seats. The chamber's two independents, Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders, were needed to put them in control – and Sanders, who insisted on retaining his independent status while reliably siding with Democrats, wasn't really an issue.

But Lieberman was.

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