Joementum hits a wall in Connecticut.

Being a dubya enabler and a Democrat doesn’t seem to go over too well in some locales.

In an extraordinary encounter last week with members of the Democratic State Central Committee, the senator was forced to defend his hawkish record by Myrna Watanabe, Harwinton’s town chairwoman.

Watanabe, a professional science writer who took notes on the exchange, told Lieberman that while she appreciated his “very good” voting record, she wanted to know how she could present him for re-election in her town when “our people are pretty pacifistic” and were opposed the war in Iraq “from the beginning,” when “our people don’t support Rice,” and when “they are most unhappy with Gonzales.”

She said Lieberman responded that he does what he believes is right, that he didn’t want the war to be used as a litmus test, and finally that he didn’t have to come to Harwinton.

Manchester Journal-Inquirer as quoted by the Swing State Project.

Myrna Watanabe writes:

….Now, let’s get back to DTCs. If the state Democratic convention were held right now, Lieberman wouldn’t have the votes to get the nomination without doing some very, very, very serious arm twisting–and even then he might not have the votes. Maybe the population still likes Joe Lieberman, but his friends in the Democratic Party are having second or third thoughts about him. To some it’s the votes, to others it’s the war, to still others it’s the Dem-bashing rhetoric, while others are concerned about the spectacle of Lieberman at Bush’s elbow when Bush signs some particularly un-Democratic piece of legislation. But even more telling is that his good friends, people who’ve known him for 20 or 30 years and who came into politics with him or came up in the party with him, don’t want to be associated with him. Months and months ago, many of them, independently, contacted Joe or his close associates and made it clear that Joe was doing himself and the party no good by kowtowing to the Bushies and by continuing his strong support of the war.

After I asked my polite question to Lieberman at State Committee last week, I started getting emails and calls from people telling me that they, too, are seriously disturbed about Lieberman’s political stances. The day after the State Committee meeting, there was a meeting of 4th C.D. town chairs at which Mitchell Fuchs, the Fairfield DTC chair, lambasted Lieberman for his votes, his coziness with the Bushies, his stance on the war, etc. One town chair sent me the following email: “Tell him he doesn’t have to come to XXX either, unless it’s to announce he isn’t going to run again.” Another town chair told me, “We hate him here!” He probably doesn’t have many friends on State Committee either. When he responded to my question by saying that he had a 70 percent favorable rating, someone in the back yelled out, “From Republicans!”

As I see it, Lieberman has a choice: he can go forward, risk not being the party’s nominee, and come up with a third-party endorsement; switch to the Reps, with whom he will be very uncomfortable; do a mea culpa and take on the cloak of leadership of the Democratic Party (“I made a mistake on the war; I shouldn’t compromise with these people because there is no compromise; I will lead us out of this political morass.”); or declare that it’s time to retire and think of something else he can do as an elder statesman.

I suspect that Joe won’t like any of these choices. But he should have thought of that before he cuddled up with the Bushies. Yes, Joe, Democrats do have a litmus test. You have to support good Democratic principles, 24-7, every day of the year, every vote in the Senate (not exactly every vote; we’ll leave you some leeway, but on the big things, and especially in what you say and how you say it, you’ve got to prove you’re a Democrat). And you can’t sleep with the enemy because the stench of dead bodies stays on you.

Swing State Project

….I think this should be all over the web. It’s not just us lefties who think Lieberman is an [xxxxxxx] who needs to “consider his options”

Steve Gilliard

….Watanabe even says Lieberman’s presence at the top of the 2006 Democratic ticket has hurt candidate recruitment.

Again, Lieberman may be wildly popular with Connecticut Republicans, and (to a lesser degree) with self-identified Democrats. But those who know him well aren’t too pleased.

Will it be enough to spawn a strong primary challenger? We’ll see.


My first federal contribution for the 2006 election will go to a primary challenger in the Connecticut Senate seat race.

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