In an appearance on Face the State just two weeks ago, Sen. Dodd answered a question about Sen. Lieberman by stressing how hard he worked for Lieberman in the 2006 primary, how he thought Lieberman was the best candidate for Democrats in 2006, how he made an "impassioned plea" to keep him in the party in late 2008/early 2009, how he anticipates that Sen. Lieberman will remain a Democrat in 2012, and how that "would help" him earn Dodd's support in the 2012 campaign:
Q: Let's talk about your friend Senator Joe Lieberman, who has unequivocally endorsed you for re-election this year. Does he have to be a Democrat in order for you to support him in his next re-election bid? If he's an independent, will you support him over the Democrat?
DODD: It would help if he'd stay a Democrat. And I suspect he will. I made an impassioned plea on his behalf at the Democratic caucus in January, in opposition to several in the caucus who took a different point of view. But I've known Joe for 40 years. He had a position that was not unlike other Democrats on the Iraq war. And unfortunately, as you know, I campaigned hard for him in that primary, and believed he would have been our strongest candidate. And Joe wanted to be back in that caucus. There were several of us that spoke on his behalf. He's very much a member of that caucus, and I suspect he'll stay such.
Q: So if he says, that I'm going to run as an Independent, will you support him against a Democrat?
DODD: Well, I'm anticipating he's going to stay a Democrat.
But Lieberman's fellow Connecticut senator, Democrat Chris Dodd, who faces a tough reelection fight in 2010, dismissed the idea that Lieberman would incur any retribution.
"No, no, no. People are going to be all over the place," he said when asked if Lieberman should be punished. "The idea that people are going to be reprimanded because somehow they have a different point of view than someone else is ridiculous. That isn't going to happen."
In fairness, this forgiving attitude towards his junior colleague been a consistent stance of Sen. Dodd's for almost three years now. Unfortunately, it has been a consistently wrong-headed and almost unfathomably misguided one, which, despite Sen. Dodd's crucial work on multiple policy fronts these days, continually calls into question his personal and political judgment in a very serious way.
Update: This was the official statement from Sen. Dodd yesterday on Lieberman's filibuster threat:
"Joe and I disagree on the public option," said Dodd. "I and many others support a strong public option because it will save money, and it will introduce more choice and competition into an industry that badly needs both. And I'm optimistic Joe will join us."
"Joe and I are good friends," Dodd told me, "and there's a difference on this and that's certainly his right to express it.... I'm disappointed we're not in agreement on this, but that happens from time to time on issues."
He did acknowledge the consensus on the public option: "I believe it brings down costs, I think it's going to save money as well," Dodd said. "And so I'm still hopeful that before we complete this process there'll be a lot more support for the public option, possibly even a good colleague and friend from Connecticut."