Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Sore Loserman

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sore Loserman

Yeah, I know, the title's kind of obvious, but what can you do? Tonight's big news, of course, is the Joe Lieberman loss to Ned Lamont in the Connecticut senate primary. Early on, of course, the junior senator from Connecticut tried to blackmail Democrats in his state by threatening to run as an independent if they voted him out. Well, now he's acting on that threat. During a concession speech, he announced that his independent candidacy is on. Referring to his primary loss, Lieberman taunted, "For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand." That's right, he's ignoring the will of Democratic primary voters for the sake of the Democratic party. The party is more important than the voters that populate it.

The hubris in that statement is overwhelming. This isn't about the Democratic party, Connecticut, or the nation. This is about Joe Lieberman, who feels the people of Connecticut owe him a seat in the Senate whether they agree or not. If it were about the Democratic party, Lieberman wouldn't be ready to draw focus from the races where Dems really have a chance to pick up House and Senate seats. That lack of focus could make it less likely that Dems can take control over either body. Would someone concerned about the Democratic party really put himself in a position to help Republicans? (Of course, that's one of the main charges against Lieberman, that in the name of "bipartisanship" he was too eager to fall unquestioningly into line behind an irresponsible president and Republican party.) Would he tell Dems to sit down and shut up because criticizing the President during wartime (no matter whether the criticism has merit or not) is bad for the country?

This may be wishful thinking, but I'm hoping that the national party comes down hard on Joe and makes clear that Democratic voters have the final say, not the candidates they vote out of office. Chris Cillizza reports that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Lieberman supporter during the primary and another moderate/conservative Democrat, has come out for Lamont, the party nominee, and Harry Reid and Charles Schumer are expected to make statements tomorrow.

But we need more than statements. Kos and John Aravosis have each called for a concerted effort to lobby Senate Dems to strip Lieberman of any party positions he has in the Senate. I think that's a great idea. He's the ranking Dem on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and he's also on Armed Services (where he's the ranking Dem on the Airland subcommittee), Environment and Public Works, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. I'm not sure they can simply kick him off the committees themselves, but he can certainly be stripped of whatever responsibilities the Democratic party has given him. The voters of Connecticut have spoken. He shouldn't get a do-over just because he doesn't like what they had to say.


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