Joe and Russ
Wednesday, July 05, 2006 :::
There's been more than a little chatter over the possibility that Sen. Joe Lieberman will run as an independent should he lose his primary race with Ned Lamont. Today's Wall Street Journal says, "If Democrats drive Mr. Lieberman from their ranks, they will be sending Americans a message that George Soros and MoveOn.org dominate their party."
Perhaps. But I suggest that Lieberman is not necessarily fighting the good fight, or standing up for the principles he holds dear. Rather, it strikes me that he's got a touch of Russ Potts syndrome, and it ain't pretty.
For those who've forgotten, the old-timey Republican Potts broke with the party last year to mount an independent bid for governor. He refused to leave the GOP, however, saying instead that it had left him.
Outside of a few Virginia newsrooms, Potts never enjoyed an real support. And once his quest gasped its last, ignominious breath, he skulked back to the Senate and the temporary security of his chairman's gavel.
Joe Lieberman, while he appears to be mercifully free of Potts' instability, whiplash-inducing flip-flops, personal vendettas, and malapropisms, is not entirely different when it comes to holding office.
Incumbents dislike primary challenges. They can be costly, they can be personally draining and, in Lieberman's case, they might even be career-ending. In the face of a strong challenge, however, most incumbents will run even harder. And if they lose, they endorse the successful challenger, and move on.
But not Joe. It strikes me that he believes his views, or at least his claim on the Senate seat he occupies, trump any primary results. He must be on the ballot, he simply must. The DSCC has already made it known that they will welcome him, and Lieberman has made it known he will vote for Harry Reid as the Democratic leader in the Senate.
And he will call himself an Independent Democrat, along the lines of Potts' Independent Republican.
Has the Democratic Party left Joe Lieberman as the GOP left Russ Potts? In their minds, I'm sure it seems that way. But neither one really wants to walk away from the party that helped make them what they are. And neither one of them seems willing to let the decision of a few primary voters stop them from making a general election appearance. That would be admitting their times have passed -- which is the hardest thing for any politician to do.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 7/05/2006