I got into a short discussion with my favorite cousin about blogging this weekend and inevitably the issue of Lieberman came up. I have been making a conscious effort to NOT write about the Lamont/ Lieberman race but it's practically impossible under the current political environment. As Steve Gilliard points out Lieberman is the "Flying Wedge" of the Republican strategy for retaining control of congress in 2006. Like it or not the Connecticut Senate race has implications well beyond the state and that's putting aside Lieberman's effect on the three House seats Democrats might be in better position to pick-up in Connecticut if Joe dropped out.
It was fascinating to read the give and take between several prominent moderate to progressive sites on this very issue. Most notably Josh Marshall has been bantering back and forth with Duncan Black and Matt Stoller over where progressive netroots support and energy ought to be heading. Josh takes the position that the resources being poured into the Lieberman race would be better spent on other important races around the country. I say Josh but most of his arguments have been posted in the form of emails he received from "TPM reader DK"
Putting self above party at the expense of party should have consequences. But at what cost? I part ways with those wanting to enforce party discipline even as they admit it might cost Dems a Senate majority. As I have said before, a Democratic Senate with Lieberman in it far surpasses a GOP Senate without Lieberman.
It'd be difficult to quantify how ignorant this comment is of the current mood among grassroots Democrats and party activists. Most Democrats have a difficult time imagining how a Democratic Senate would be better than it is under Republican control. The party's failure to morph into a true opposition party over the course of the last decade in the minority makes it clear they have yet to see the modern Republican party as the threat it really is. There is little possibility that the a Democratic Senate wouldn't revert to the same go-along-to-get-along form it took the last time they were in charge. That means that all of the things which the Republican majority took away by brute force (blue slips, committee make-up, ability to get legislation to the floor, conference committee) would be ceded back to Republicans when they are then in the minority.
And all of that's taking Joe Lieberman's ego out of the equation AND taking the dubious promise he's made to caucus with Democrats at face value. Once you figure him in and his "Meet the Press" approach to governing it's impossible to see how a Democratic Senate would be better if Joe Lieberman were a part of it.