Dear Joe Lieberman,
I feel for you. Your re-election campaign in Connecticut has been turned upside-down as former supporters abandon you for neophyte Ned Lamont--and all for supporting the war in Iraq. You will now be forced to run as an independent if you lose to Lamont in the primary.
Joe, I feel for you. But I feel for ME more. I feel for the Democratic Party more. Unfortunately, your race has become the club by which the Democratic Left wants to bludgeon George W. Bush. That's a bummer for you, but it is a catastrophe for all Democrats. I simply cannot understand why Democrats would choose to attack one of their own in order to send a message to a President representing another party, as if GWB gives a rat's a** whether Joe Lieberman lives or dies politically.
What are we hoping to accomplish here? To prove that have officially become that which we have so hated? I recall feeling horrified (and yet gleeful as a Dem) back in 1992 as the GOP's big tent was demolished, moderates were banned, and Pat Buchanan became the keynote speaker at the convention. It was a banner hour for Democrats because the rigid orthodoxy of the Republicans was the means by which their intolerance was exposed to the general public. Since then I've had numerous conversations with people discussing what a shame it is that John McCain and moderates like him are not supported by the GOP.
Which brings us to Connecticut. The state that has exposed the massive fault lines in the Democratic Party. Fault lines that will absolutely prevent us from winning the Senate or House in 2006 and the White House in 2008. What kind of party have we become when a long-time Democratic senator is ousted from office because of his vote on ONE ISSUE. I recognize that the war in Iraq is a monumental issue with strong feelings on both sides. But for Democrats to do a mafia-style rubout on one of their own? That is unforgivable.
If Lieberman runs as an independent, he and Lamont may split the vote and thereby ensure a seat pickup for the GOP. For that reason, the Lefties are crowing that he should "listen to the people" and not run if he loses the primary. Hmm...Show of hands how many of those people fully supported Ralph Nader's run on the grounds that he was following his conscience? Since when have Democrats been in favor of narrowing access to the ballot? Beside the heartache of seeing the schism widening in the Dem Party, Lamont's run is a shame and a travesty for one practical reason: Ned Lamont will lose when exposed to the broader electorate that doesn't tune in to primary races and doesn't necessarily choose to vote on one issue alone. I'm calling the race now: Ned Lamont will lose.
Besides my anger at the potential loss of a Dem seat, I'm stunned and saddened to see the developments in Connecticut because they establish the fact that the Democratic Party is now fully in GOP-political-orthodoxy territory. Where is our big tent? Where is our center? Where is our loyalty? Where is our political savvy? Are we children?--"nyah nyah nyah, you can't be in our club if you don't do everything we do!"
Turning Joe Lieberman out of office to "send a message about the war" to George Bush is the weakest, lamest and most ill-considered move in modern political strategy. George Bush doesn't care about Joe Lieberman; he doesn't care about Connecticut; he sure as hell is not going to manage his foreign policy based on the internecine strife within his opposing party--unless of course it sends the opposite message than is intended: here is a party completely hijacked by its fringes, and therefore too disorganized and disillusioned to represent any real opposition.
As always, we will get the leadership we deserve.