Party Politics in Connecticut

The recent news regarding Senator Joe Lieberman’s intention to attempt to run as a “petitioning Democrat” should he lose the upcoming August 8 Connecticut Democratic Senatorial primary has put this tiny state in the unusual position of national prominence. Rarely does a state with only seven electoral votes have the chance to affect the national debate on any subject.

Although there are other issues discussed in the campaign, the primary between Senator Lieberman and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont has become a referendum on Lieberman’s blind support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with the Lamont campaign calling for withdrawal of troops and closing of all bases.

The lefty blogs have been leading the Lamont charge since the campaign’s inception attempting to rally anti-war Democrats across the country to support the quixotic efforts of a heretofore relative unknown in CT politics. Their efforts have helped narrow the gap in pre-primary polling to the point where there is a legitimate shot of the biggest upset in Connecticut politics since Lowell Weicker’s victory as an independent for Governor in 1990.

Now with the Lieberman petition announcement, Lamont supporters are having kittens over the “disloyalty” of the Senator’s actions. They feel that the loser should pledge full support for the winner after August 8. Lamont has run radio ads saying he would do so should Lieberman win. But nobody should be surprised by Joe’s actions. This just another instance of opportunism that has been a hallmark of Lieberman’s career since his first campaign for the Senate in the late 1980s when he ran with the support of such “Democrats” as William Buckley.

But what about Ned? Why should he stick to his pledge to support Lieberman if he is the Dem nominee? If Joe won’t support him then why should he support Joe? If the main issue of his campaign is the end of the Iraq war then he should announce that he will petition as well. He can use the same line as Lieberman: “I want the opportunity to put my case before all the people of Connecticut in November.”

It appears as of now that Lamont will put all his eggs in the primary basket. Should he lose then he will be a good Democratic lemming and march along with the pro-war Lieberman “for the good of the party”. What hogwash!

If Lieberman wins the primary then Lamont should immediately pledge his support for a true anti-war campaign, such as the Green Party’s Ralph Ferrucci. Lamont supporters would do well to do the same. It would show that there is a real debate on the Iraq war in Connecticut politics and in turn help foment a real debate in the country this campaign season.

Vincent Maruffi lives in Middletown, Connecticut. He can be reached at: vmaruffi@sbcglobal.net



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