by user AYD
Ned Lamont ran a great campaign and the Democratic Party of Connecticut let Joe Lieberman know what they think of him. I have serious reservations about whether Joe got the message. While the Democratic party was telling Joe he is too far to the right, that only pushed Joe to the right in order to win the Republican vote. Joe's election is due to a calculated decision by the Republicans. Perhaps in a race between Lamont and Schlesinger they would have been full steam behind their candidate, but with Joe in the race they conceded the seat to work for the more conservative Democrat. This was there one victory on election day. They won, we lost. Now its time to welcome Joe back to the Democratic Party.
I say this not because of craven political reasons, such as we need to keep him from defecting to the Republican party. I don't think that is a real possibility. I say that because it is the right thing to do. Joe Lieberman never changed his political ideology. Joe Lieberman never said he wasn't a Democrat (although his campaign tactics sure were Republican). And as Democrats we need to continue to have our big tent philosophy. Ours must be a democratic party that is as welcoming to Joe Lieberman, however painful that might be, as we are to Ted Kennedy.
I am not a defender of Joe Lieberman. I can't ignore his views on the war, the rhetoric he employed, his views on school vouchers and his attempts to censor Hollywood. But I also can't discount his economic policy, his work for civil rights (even as he talks out of both sides of his mouth attacking certain African-American Leaders) or his work on health care and other important social issues. The bottom line is that as a Democrat I can't dismiss Joe any more than I can Ben Nelson.
I hope that Joe Lieberman is as forgiving to us as we are to him. While the people of Connecticut put Joe back in the Senate, the rest of the country rejected the agenda that Joe Lieberman aligned himself with. With a new Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, I would hope that Joe realizes that the right wing policies he championed have been rejected and come back left. I have no illusions that he actually will. But if we are going to be a party of big and diverse ideas we have to accept Joe Lieberman back into our fold.
The Republican Party is a party that has no room for dissenting views and no room for moderates. We are a better party than that. We accept Bob Casey and James Langevin into our party despite their incorrect views on a woman's right to decide what to do with their own bodies. We accept Roberty Byrd into our caucus despite the bile that he has spewed in his life about racial equality. And God knows how many Democrats we accept despite their perfect voting records with the NRA.
I wish Ned Lamont had won. I wish that Joe Lieberman had the vision and integrity of Jon Tester and Jim Webb. He doesn't. He is easily the least likeable Democrat since Zell Miller. But we must remember that the Democratic Party that rejected the Bush agenda is millions strong while Joe Lieberman is but one person. Joe Lieberman may have won his battle, but the rest of us are winning the war.
You can read more of my writings at http://www.angryyoungdem.blogspot.com