Critics asked a New Haven election official to remove Sen. Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party on Monday, a request which could potentially lead to a hearing in which the longtime Democrat would have to argue that he still adheres to the principles of the party.
The group, whose members described themselves as peace activists, said Lieberman cannot belong to the Democrat Party while running for office under the "Connecticut for Lieberman" party banner. (AP)
It is kind of a tricky point, I suppose. If you're running a cutthroat campaign against the nominee of your own party, are you still in good standing? Here's Lieberman campaign manager Sherry Brown's response:
“The purge campaign launched today by Ned Lamont’s supporters is dirty political tricks at its worst, ranking up there with the outrageous tactics that Katherine Harris and the Republicans used in 2000 in Florida to stop all the votes from being counted.
“This kind of ridiculous, partisan game-playing is not going to provide anyone in Connecticut with better jobs, better health care, or better schools. All it’s going to do is deepen our divisions and add to voters frustration with our broken political system.
Okay, so it does kind of, sort of, maybe remind me of the frequent purging of the party rolls in Soviet Russia and other Communist countries. At times, the party rolls grew too large, and the leadership wanted to prune it down for various reasons. Some of those reasons were relatively benign, others far more sinister. But I remember reading of party members hauled before a committee and made to answer questions about Communist ideology and history. These men and women would stay up late poring over volumes of dense and incomprehensible Marxist thought, which they had probably never read in their lives, in the hopes of providing the correct answers and being allowed to stay a party member.
Maybe that's what's going to happen to Joe Lieberman. He'll be made to stand before a committee of low-level New Haven Democrats and answer questions about the ideology behind the Democratic Party's platform in 1988. If he can convince them that Michael Dukakis appearing in that tank helmet was somehow a victory for the proletariat, he'll be allowed to stay.
One thing I'm not reminded of is voting irregularities in Florida. Where did that come from?
In any event, the peace activists who are trying to get Lieberman kicked out of the party are technically correct. The rules say that "...being a candidate for office under the designation of another party or organization" is a no-no. And I'm sure they have good intentions. They want to help Ned Lamont and the Democratic Party, in the end.
That doesn't mean that this isn't a stupid move. It gives Joe Lieberman more ammunition, it makes Lamont supporters look like bullies, and, best of all from Lieberman's point of view, it means that Lamont will have to spend more time dealing with the independent actions of his supporters (who are an independent and action-minded bunch to begin with) rather than focusing on his campaign.
None of that helps Lamont. It will help even less if Lieberman is called before a hearing, because if that happens, he'll be able to say all of his campaign talking points in front of a ton of television cameras, all the while looking like the victim.
And, unlike the cowering, stammering Communists hauled before a purge committee in Soviet Russia, Joe Lieberman will win no matter what is decided.
"Lieberman's independent run questioned by Democrats." Associated Press 21 August, 2006.
"Lieberman Campaign Denounces Party Purge Effort by Lamont Supporters." Press Release. Friends of Joe Lieberman. 21 August, 2006.