Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No Joke: Lieberman Backer Mark Pryor is Vice-Chair of The DSCC

Even though I cover the Senate, I'm the first to admit that I don’t know it all about the body's customs and every procedural nuance of the legislative process. But what I'm about to tell you seems pretty easy to figure out.

In the short list of three Democratic Senators who have chosen to ignore Ned Lamont as the legitimate Democratic candidate for Senate in Connecticut, in favor of supporting non-Democrat Joe Lieberman, is Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Not a good thing on its own but when I was on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) web site yesterday to refresh my memory on who is leading the Democratic effort to take back the Senate, I found that one of the DSCC Vice-Chairmen is none other than… Senator Mark Pryor.

Doesn't that strike you as just a little odd and inappropriate?

Here's the very first sentence of the DSCC's formal mission statement: "Our mission is to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate."

And yet here we have Pryor, one of the alleged leaders in that effort, working to see that Joe Lieberman's gut-punch to the Democratic party is sustained and that he goes on to defeat Ned Lamont, Connecticut's Democratic nominee for Senate.

"Your support helps fund efforts to mobilize voters and ensure that the playing field is level between our candidates and well-funded Republican candidates," the DSCC mission statement continues.

Here's an idea: How about removing anyone from the DSCC leadership that does not oh, I don’t know, support all Democrats running for Senate?

The only other Democrat on the DSCC leadership team who, while not pledging to support Joe Lieberman, has not committed to Lamont either, is Pryor's Arkansas colleague, Blanche Lincoln.

Pryor needs to either support Lamont and get off the Lieberman bandwagon or get off the committee whose sole mission is to support Democratic candidates -- and Lincoln needs to commit to Ned Lamont or remove herself as the Women's Senate Network Chair. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) or Hillary Clinton (D-NY) may be better suited to Lincoln's role if this is such a difficult decision for her.

Supporting Lamont would hardly be a huge act of courage on the part of Pryor and Lincoln as Arkansas is a state that has voted for Democrats in 20 of the 27 presidential elections since 1900 and currently has Democrats as five of six members of its Congressional delegation -- hardly the reddest of the red states.

But it's not about the political expediency of it anyway. If you are a leader in an organization whose sole purpose is to elect Democrats, you should not be backing those running against Democrats. Period.

Feel free to contact DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and ask him where he stands on this. His phone number is 202-224-2447 or you can send him an e-mail here.

You can reach Bob Geiger at geiger.bob@gmail.com

Update: If you would like to question Senator Pryor about this directly, his office phone number is 202-224-2353. His web form for e-mail is here. Senator Lincoln is at 202-224-4843 or you can send an e-mail here.