Lieberman Won’t Support Fellow Democratic Candidates

While some naively argued that Joe Lieberman’s appearance yesterday did not constitute campaigning with Republicans, Joe Lieberman has made it clear where he stands. The New Haven Independent reports that Joe Lieberman will not support the Democrats running for Congress from his state:

Declaring himself a “non-combatant,” U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, in remarks at a New Haven press event Friday, raised anew the question of whether his “independent” candidacy will help Republicans hold onto three Congressional seats in Connecticut — and control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lieberman — who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election — was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.

“I’m a non-combatant,” Lieberman declared. “I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race.”

Jane Hamsher, who deserves credit for revealing that yesterday’s event was a thinly disguised campaign event, has some words for those who argue it was not a campaign event:

I must say I was thoroughly charmed by the childlike innocence of those who thought Joe Lieberman’s trip to the Groton sub base with Republicans candidates Jodi Rell and Rob Simmons yesterday did not, in fact, constitute “campaigning.” Most people leave that kind of wide-eyed credulity in childhood; how wonderful that some manage to carry it into their adult years.

I guess the logic wraps around the fact that a “conference” was held at Groton in order to determine “specific recommendations on steps to be taken to avoid having the base targeted again in future base closing rounds.” No politics involved at all, right? It’s just a concidence that “saving” the Groton sub base is one of the fundamental claims Joe makes in trying to prove his value to Connecticut voters, and that Democrat Chris Dodd refused to be a part of a GOP dog and pony show.

If so, perhaps Joe would like offer up an explanation for his trip later in the day with Simmons, candidate for the hotly contested House seat against Joe Courtney, to the Millstone nuclear power plant?

As Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan was overheard to say, “What were they doing at Millstone, a fucking inspection?”

Perhaps if those buying into the “non-political conference” tale can tear themelves away from emailing their bank account numbers to that international lottery they just won, we’ll get some answers.

There is some intentional ambiguity in yesterday’s event, but the media reports do portray it as primarily a PR event which could certainly be considered a campaign event. The lack of other Democrats who had been instrumental in saving the base argues against this being a case of a Senator performing normal business. The words of praise for Lieberman from the Republicans present make it clear that Joe Lieberman is the Republican-preferred candidate.

Update: Two conservative blogs have linked to this and have tried to describe it as some sort of purge or other unreasonable criticism. They ignore a few facts:

  • As Lieberman has been increasingly aligning himself with Republicans (as opposed to running as a true Independent) but also retains a significant amount of support from Democrats, it is valid to point this out in the hopes of convincing more Democrats to drop any loyalty to Lieberman which he does not deserve.
  • The fact that Lieberman’s defense on this comes from conservative sites only acts to confirm that he is the de facto Republican candidate as opposed to either a Democrat or Independent.
  • This is hardly a purge, as the conservatives are calling it, as I’ve also opposed the actions of some to either remove Lieberman from the party or strip him of his seniority at this time.
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