7.26.2006

Attn. Democrats: Don't sacrifice Lieberman

Last night on the news I saw a Quinnipiac poll that put Sen. Joe Lieberman 4 points behind liberal challenger Ned Lamont. I have to say that I was disappointed.

Sen. Lieberman, although I do not agree with him on all issues, is a man of integrity and courage. He stands up firmly for what he believes in and in my opinion is among the best in the Senate. If he loses this primary in August it will be the single worst thing the Democrats can do for themselves. To be perfectly honest, the Republicans should not be able to hold both Houses of Congress this year. The Democrats, if they were intelligent, should be able to capitalize on public discontent with the current Party in power. However, they will not.

The Democrats have no hope of taking back Congress for the exact reason of what is going in Connecticut. Rather than getting behind a man who is possibly one of the most respected men in Washington, the Democratic party is allowing him to be thrown to the wolves simply because he is in support of the War in Iraq.

What strikes me most though is the disregard some of the "leaders" of the Democratic Party have shown for their long-time colleague. Al Gore refused to support his former running-mate because Gore apparently does not weigh-in on primaries. Funny, Gore tried to be King-maker in 2004 when he endorsed Howard Dean for President. John Kerry, Lieberman's Senate colleague also claims he does not comment on contested primaries, yet just a month ago was in Virginia campaigning for Senate candidate Jim Webb. Why the sudden change of heart? Is the Democratic Party so closed and vindictive that no difference of opinion can exist among its members?

Consider a similar situation in the Republican Party two years ago. When Sen. Arlen Specter faced a stiff primary challenge from the far-right of the Party, did GOP leaders stay silent? No, they campaigned hard for their friend and colleague. President Bush spent considerable time in Pennsylvania. Sen. Specter's fellow Senator Rick Santorum also campaigned heavily for him, despite many ideological differences. Specter is considered one of the more liberal or moderate Republicans in the Senate yet Santorum, or staunch conservative, gladly campaigned on his behalf. Why? Because despite their differences, Sen. Specter is a capable man of integrity who has served his constituents well.

The Democrats would do well to learn that lesson. The key to political success is not a single a party of only one mind, but a party in which diversity of opinion is accepted. Sen. Lieberman may not agree with the Democratic Party on Iraq, but probably on 75-80% of everything else he does. Isn't it more important to have a person in office that stands up for principle and conviction than simply towing the Party line?

My hope is that the Democratic Party is not so short-sighted as to take its anger at President Bush out on Sen. Lieberman. A man who has devoted his adult life to public service and the Democratic Party deserves much better, and so does this nation.