Ex-Democrat Excised From Party
If Democrats ever needed a clear sign that Joe Lieberman hasn’t been one of us for a very long time, his decision to run as an Independent candidate for Senate is it. Now, at least, he won’t be an embarrassment to the Party and he can be a weight around his own neck from now on.
What remains unclear at this point, is what will happen in Connecticut with a three-way race for Senate and what a Lieberman campaign will look like. While it’s true that there are more registered Independents in Connecticut than registered Democrats, Lieberman has already received money from many Independents for the primary, and they can’t give more now. Without support from the Democratic Party, the logistics of running a campaign will be difficult for Lieberman. He’ll virtually be starting from scratch while Ned Lamont will now receive the benefits of the Party apparatus. Even if the votes are there on paper for Lieberman, it’s hard to see how he makes it across the finish line as an Independent candidate. He’d be better off making a clean break and becoming a Republican. Too bad that’s not an option for him at this point.
It will also be interesting to see whether or not Joe accepts the help being offered by Karl Rove and the White House. I guess it will depend on how desperate Joe is feeling right now. If he’s going to continue on with his, “I have stood up to the White House” and “I am a Democrat with a long history” campaign strategy, accepting campaign help from Rove and Bush probably isn’t the best idea. But of course, Lieberman can always change his tune. If he really supports this war and the Presidents policies and tactics in fighting “the war on terra”, then he should embrace that and see how many voters will bite. My guess is, not enough to win.
The Republican spin machine is out in full force trying to paint Lamont’s win and Lieberman’s swift kick out of the Party as a disaster for the Democrats, but we all know that whatever they say, the opposite is likely true. This is a good thing for the Party and it is a good thing for democracy. Ordinary people are getting involved in the political process and writers and readers of blogs are defining the message and the debate. The only ones more afraid of actual citizen participation in politics than the Republicans, is the Democratic establishment in DC. Now they must come to terms with the fact that they have a new constituency to deal with, and we’re not easily classified making it all the more troubling to them. The answer, of course, is to be honest, authentic and principled and to be able to articulate a vision for the country, and not the fake triangulated positions that they’re used to spewing.
The candidates that are winning around the country are those that take a firm position on the important issues, and not just a firm position, but the right position. We the people want out of Iraq, we want oversight, checks and balances, competence and integrity. Republicans can’t offer any of those things and neither can (ex)Democrats like Joe Lieberman. Too many suburban voters see too little difference between the two Parties. Excising Joe Lieberman, scaring other right leaning Democrats back towards the left and redefining what the Democratic Party stands for, will help solve that problem. I don’t expect the Democratic establishment to thank us just yet, but someday they will, even if they have to do so while enjoying an early retirement in their home states, rather than from the power center of DC.