It's party line or nothing for the Dems.
Conn. Democrats delay plan to censure Lieberman
In this April 8, 2008 file photo Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., addresses the Vets For Freedom on Capitol Hill in Washington. Connecticut Democrats are considering whether to ask Sen. Joe Lieberman to leave the party for speaking at the Republicans' convention and backing GOP presidential nominee John McCain. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Sep 24, 2008 - 23:45:18 CDT
By SUSAN HAIGH
HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Democrats, angry that Sen. Joe Lieberman is campaigning for the Republican presidential candidate and criticizing his own party's nominee, agreed Wednesday to circulate a resolution to censure the veteran politician but won't consider acting on it until after Election Day.
The state party's central committee Wednesday agreed to send copies of the resolution to every Democratic town committee in the state. The resolution condemns Lieberman for speaking at the Republicans' convention and backing John McCain.
Party officials said the group plans to get input from the town officials and revisit the issue in December.
"When we have someone who is our elected senator, as a Democrat, standing in front of not only a national, but an international audience, speaking in support of Sen. McCain, it was the final straw for me personally," said Audrey Blondin, a 30-year party veteran who helped to put together the resolution.
Lieberman was re-elected to the Senate as an independent after losing the Democratic primary in 2006 to businessman Ned Lamont. While he calls himself an "independent Democrat" in the Senate, he remains a registered Democrat and has said he has no plans to change his party affiliation.
Lieberman was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 and ran for the party's presidential nomination in 2004.
Lieberman and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont have been caucusing with Democrats in Washington, giving the party control of the Senate with what is effectively a 51-49 majority _ even though each party has 49 members. Democrats, in turn, have made Lieberman chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The resolution says Lieberman's actions are "extraordinary disloyalty to countless Connecticut Democrats without whom his career as an elected official would never have been possible" and calls on state Democrats to ask him to resign from the party.
Blondin said Lieberman's speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he praised McCain and criticized Democrat Barack Obama, convinced her that state Democrats needed to take a stand.
"Our point is not that Joe should in some way be prohibited from supporting McCain or speaking at the National Republican Convention. That's not the issue," Blondin said. "The issue is, he's a Democrat. And Joe, in our opinion, needs to reconsider membership in our party."
John Olsen, a party superdelegate at the national convention and former chairman of the Connecticut Democrats, said he's disappointed in Lieberman but questioned the need for a resolution chastising him.
"First of all, Joe's not on the ballot, right? So what you do is you turn around and you elect Obama and you elect as many Democrats as you can," he said. "Joe is supporting someone else. The bigger the votes you turn out, you rebuke Joe that way."
Lieberman, speaking earlier Wednesday to a radio station, said that he was surprised by the move to censure him.
"Honestly, I thought that was the kind of thing that happened only in the former Soviet Union. I understand that people are unhappy, but, you know, I'm doing something that I really believe," Lieberman told WICH-AM. "I thought in this country you don't get punished for that. So, I hope that in the end, my colleagues will understand and life will go on either way."