The "Betrayal" of Joe Lieberman
In the Connecticut Democratic Primary, Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman. Naturally, most national Democratic leaders responded by giving their support to Lamont. That’s how democracy works. One would think, after Lieberman ran and won as an independent, he might show a little humility for upending the political process and defying the wishes of his Democratic base. One might expect, perhaps, an apology for treating the Democratic party like a dog on the side of the road.
According to The New York Times, that’s not exactly what is happening.
On Election Night, his son Matthew referred to Democratic leaders as “happy to leave my dad by the side of the road.”
Really? It was Joe who was left by the side of the road?
But there’s more.
People close to [Joe Lieberman] say he remains miffed, if not bitter, about what he considers the betrayal of allies who supported an unknown, untested and unfamiliar candidate.
… Mr. Lieberman has suggested he has felt especially wounded by Mr. Dodd, Connecticut’s senior senator, with whom he had shared a close bond since arriving in the Senate in 1989. Mr. Dodd had supported Mr. Lieberman in the primary, but endorsed Mr. Lamont after he won. Mr. Dodd’s appearance with Mr. Lamont at a Democratic “unity” rally and in a campaign commercial infuriated Mr. Lieberman, friends said.
… Earlier in the day, [Mr. Dodd] attended a Capitol Hill news conference that drew every Democrat in Connecticut’s Congressional delegation except Mr. Lieberman.
… Mr. Lieberman classifies himself as an “independent Democrat” and has said that recent events left him feeling “liberated” and “unshackled,” not exactly reassuring words to Democrats.
… Mr. Lieberman restated that it was possible he could join Senate Republicans, but he added, “I’m not going to threaten on every issue to leave the caucus.”
Clearly, friends say, he is relishing his sudden ascent from Democratic reject in Connecticut to Senate kingmaker in Washington. “He is just sitting there in the catbird seat, and it must be delicious for him,” Ms. Collins said.
So it wasn’t Lieberman who betrayed his party after he lost the primary, but his party that betrayed Lieberman for not, essentially, cancelling the wishes of the primary voters. And now, for the next two years, Democrats will have to tiptoe around Jumpin’ Joe, lest he switches sides. Such humility in the most nationally recognized model of traditional Jewish ethics.