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June 12, 2006

The Lieberman Problem

Posted in: 2006 Election,Joe Lieberman,Ned Lamont

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I met only one politician at Yearly Kos, but since I had a question I really wanted to ask him it seemed worth making the effort.  

Before Harry Reid’s speech he had a private meeting for a few bloggers.  Matt Stoller got him to commit to supporting net neutrality, then Matt double-dog dared me to ask Reid my question.

So I asked him — if Joe Lieberman leaves the party, what will happen with regard to his Committee appointments?  Reid was very careful with his words, and very specific.  He said that his letter written to delegates on behalf of Lieberman had made it crystal clear that he was endorsing Joe specifically because Joe was committing to stay in the party.  But, I pointed out — Lieberman has since that time given several interviews where he has refused to run out the possibility of an independent run.

I told him we weren’t unsympathetic to his situation — we weren’t the Club for Growth going after Lincoln Chafee.  I might not like Ben Nelson’s politics but we mostly leave him alone for a reason, taking him down would assuredly deliver the seat to a Republican. But I said Ned is a genuinely good candidate, and Reid agreed.  He said he’d met with Ned twice and liked him a lot.  And as to the opposition we’ve been mounting against Joe?  Reid said it to me twice, and he chose his words very carefully:

It’s important for people to know that their actions have consequences.

By which I took it to mean, from the context, that Lieberman’s actions have brought this on himself.  I was actually a bit surprised that Reid spoke about the situation in such a forthright manner.  Obviously he was a bit more clued in than Barbara Boxer about the temperature of the YK crowd with regard to Lieberman, but still — it was a lot more than I expected.

And I pass this on in the FWIW category.  Ever since the convention last month, people have been  furiously floating rumors that Lieberman would leave the party.  Given the numbers it’s a rather obvious point of speculation and I’ve attributed most of these tales so far to just that — rumors — but I finally heard it from somebody quite knowlegable of Connecticut state politics whose judgment I trust, that Lieberman would in fact be leaving the party in the next few weeks.  I have no idea if it will happen but if Reid is hearing the same thing it does provide some context for his remarks.

Meanwhile, Ned Lamont challenges Lieberman to support the winner of the August 8 primary. Party loyalty, anyone? 


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