On Tuesday the Washington Post reported that "Critics of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's independent run to keep his job attacked on two fronts Monday, with one group asking an elections official to throw him out of the Democratic Party and a former rival calling on state officials to keep his name off the November ballot." Lieberman staffers have of course identified these moves as dirty politics.
But is it unreasonable to ask election officials to throw Senator Lieberman out of the Democratic Party, or is this merely a dangerous request? Henry Lowendorf, of The New Haven Peace Council, underscored the fact that "[t]here was an open vote, and he was voted out. He joined a different party."
True enough. Though there are several Democrats in Washington who have openly declared their support for Senator Lieberman, he did lose in his party's state primary race and could technically be thrown out of the party if he chooses to run against the official Democratic candidate. But what if Senator Lieberman is expelled from his party and goes on to win in November as currently expected? Having been summarily rejected by his party, would he be as inclined to caucus with them in the future?
Which is likely why John Orman, a Fairfield University poli-sci professor who gave up on his challenge to Lieberman last year, filed a complaint on Monday asking that Lieberman's name not be included on the state ballot. The Post notes that Orman has accused Senator Lieberman of creating "a fake political party." "He's doing anything he can to get his name on the ballot."
Certainly he is. And as long as it is legal, why should anyone have a problem with this? It seems to me that Mr. Orman himself was doing anything he could to get his name on the ballot not that long ago. Unfortunately, he raised about $1000 to Lieberman's $3.8 million in the same period of time.
Which underscores the fact that Lamont's ability to launch his campaign was due in major part to his ability to utilize his personal fortune to fund his campaign. For all the fervor anti-war activists bring to the table, rarely are there funds attached.
As I noted in a recent post, Lieberman will, at the very least be able to match Lamont in dollar-for-dollar campaign spending. But with Lieberman still in the race, Lamont must now run to the center and shed the one-dimensional stigma he gained as the "anti-war" candidate. Lamont won the Democratic primary with only 15% of the voting population in Connecticut, but did so narrowly, and recent polls show Lieberman with a 12-point lead among likely voters.