One of the many things U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman will be doing when he returns to Washington DC is continuing his attempt to put an end to the genocide in Darfur. “It deeply agitates me,” he said Wednesday, hours after his independent victory over Democratic candidate Ned Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger. Lieberman said along with conservative Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas he’s been trying to get the United Nations to be more aggressive in ending the “slaughter of innocence in Darfur.” He said he strongly feels that if the United Nations is not successful in its mission, then it should bring in NATO to help. Click here to read more about the genocide and here to see what Lieberman said about it in the past. Lieberman said ending the genocide in Darfur is a “classic example” of how he’s been able to work across party lines to get things done, which seemed to be the main theme in his post-election briefing.
Lieberman said he took the results of Tuesday’s election to be a “mandate from partisanship.” Lieberman said his campaign staff calculated that he received 38 percent of votes from unaffiliated voters, 37 percent from Republicans, and 25 percent from Democrats. But this mandate from partisanship has helped Lieberman ascend the ranks of the Democratic party’s hierarchy the past 18 years. Lieberman said he spoke with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid this morning and besides reassuring Lieberman he would maintain his seniority, Reid reassured him “he’s committed to trying to break the partisan gridlock to get things done.”“My mission now is really an independent mission,” he said. He expects to maintain his seniority in the Democratic caucus and even take over the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. “My seniority is important in that it gives me the ability to deliver for the people of Connecticut.” He said “you’ve really got to be a member of a caucus to have seniority.” He said while he doesn’t agree with the way the system is currently set up, that’s just the way it is. Overall there’s “too much venom” and “too much hatred” in our politics. When asked if he would abandon the Democrats and caucus with the Republicans or accept a position in President George Bush’s administration, Lieberman said “No.” “It’s not so much which party controls Congress it’s what that party does,” and the challenge is to make it work, he said. Since 37 percent of his votes came from Republicans does he feel he owes them anything? “I don’t feel I owe anybody anything,” Lieberman said. He said Republicans who voted for him did so because he’s not partisan when it comes to issues of national security.