Democrats are starting to pressure Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) to step back. It has been reported that Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is calling on Lieberman to give up his bid for re-election as an independent as a matter of party loyalty.
Citing his own Presidential primary loss and subsequent support of the party nominee, Dean told NBC’s Meet the Press that “[t]he way to help this country is to limit Republican power.” Democratic blogger Josh Marshall is also calling on all liberals and progressives to back the party’s candidate, which means throwing support behind the winner of last week’s primary, Ned Lamont.
But wait a minute, where were all these loyalist Democrats when Senator Lieberman was fighting for his political life during the Democratic primary? If memory serves, many were loathe to come to his aid for fear of offending the angry left, a group which was actively working to undermine one of their party's most loyal and respected members.
So, these loyalists held back during the primary, the Senator lost, and now they want him to show the kind of loyalty that they were unwilling to show? This is a classic double standard.
Furthermore, not only did Lieberman see less support during his primary, those who did show up to support him were treated in a manner that was, to say the least, less than courteous. Lanny Davis, special counsel to President Clinton from 1996 to 1998, writes that his experience campaigning for Lieberman during the primary exposed him to the hatred and vitriol of many on the left who are reviling the Senator for his decision.
As for Lieberman's peers in Congress — Senators Kerry and Clinton, for example — most of them offered their best wishes from afar, all the while reminding angry left bloggers that they would "support the winning candidate." I guess you could say they were with him in spirit, right up to the point where he lost. Then not so much after that.
Now that the election is over, all of the Senator's "loyal" - but distant - friends back in Washington are urging him to "do the right thing." In other words, Senator Lieberman is being asked to do as party leaders say, not as they do.