Monday, August 14, 2006

Free Press Release for Senate Democrats on Lamont-Lieberman

It's been almost a week since Ned Lamont won the Democratic Senatorial nomination in Connecticut, defeating George W. Bush's best friend in the Democratic party, Joe Lieberman. Like me, I'm sure you've watched as a large number of Senate Democrats came out of their pre-primary shells and announced the correct choice from both an ethical and political perspective: To support Lamont as the duly-chosen nominee of the party, even if it means withdrawing support from their longtime colleague.

This shouldn't be that difficult now that Joe has abandoned them and their party, an act of disloyalty so profound that it would seem to release them from any personal obligation they may feel to stick with him.

As I said in my piece yesterday about the current status of all Democratic Senators vis-à-vis the sad Lieberman situation, 22 have yet to take a stand.

I am baffled as to why this might be.

I've been the one telling people to get off Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's back and to quit asking him hypothetical questions a month before the August 8 primary, because it was backing Reid -- and other prominent Democrats -- into an untenable corner. I maintained that we should just wait to see what they would say on August 9, when the situation and the need to make a call, became real.

It's past August 9. The situation is real and Ned Lamont is the Democratic nominee to serve the people of Connecticut in the Senate. That should be it. Period. End of story.

What kind of clubby, inside-the-beltway world is inhabited by the fence-sitters that, even accounting for the fact that they are off on their August recess, they can't have a staffer issue a short press release on the subject?

As a strong Democrat in good standing and one with a fair amount of experience as both a writer and a political operative, I'm here to help.

Since there's no possible reason this should require even a nanosecond to consider, the only possible explanation for the silence has to be that everyone is on vacation and trying to recover from fighting Bill Frist and the Republicans all summer on the vital issues of the day -- flag burning, tax cuts for Paris Hilton, a fake minimum wage measure and, that old favorite, same-sex marriage.

So, to you weary Senate Democrats who haven't yet taken a stand, I've written your press release for you. Here it is:
Press Release of [Insert Senator name here]

"Senator ____________ Calls for Party Unity in Connecticut Senatorial Race"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator ____________ of [State] watched with great interest as Connecticut Democrats went to the polls in large numbers last week to choose the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by [his/her] colleague, Joe Lieberman.

While Senator ____________ considers Joe Lieberman a good friend and has high regard for the way he has served the people of Connecticut in his three Senate terms, it would be inappropriate for any elected Democrat to ignore the will of the people and to do anything but support the Democratic standard bearer chosen to represent them in the general election on November 7.

"Joe Lieberman has served in the Senate with great distinction and I hope our good friendship will continue," said Senator ____________. "But the people have spoken loudly and clearly and have selected Ned Lamont as the Democratic nominee. I have enjoyed working with Joe and it is unfortunate that he was unable to convince Connecticut Democrats that he would best communicate their values and beliefs in Washington."

Senator ____________ is pleased to announce his support for the candidacy of Ned Lamont for the U.S. Senate and wishes Senator Lieberman the best in all future endeavors.

"As I'm sure Joe would have expected of me had he prevailed, I will support Ned Lamont unconditionally and call upon my friend Joe to accept the voters' will and to find another mission to which he can contribute his considerable abilities and talents."
How difficult is that?

In the absence of using this press release or something of similar in tone and content, I call upon the 22 silent, Senate Democrats to issue a statement saying why such a straightforward situation puts them in such a quandary and explaining why there should even be an open question about supporting their own party's nominee.

Now, that would be a hard press release to write.

You can reach Bob Geiger at