In the wake of Joe Lieberman’s defeat in the Connecticut Democratic party primary to netroots supported candidate Ned Lamont, Ken Salazar, the junior U.S. Senator from Colorado, has announced that he supports Lieberman’s run as an independent in the general election against the Democratic party’s nominee.
The primary was one of the most closely watched in the nation and represented a rare primary defeat for an incumbent U.S. Senator. Salazar’s decision to take sides in the race has brought Colorado to center stage in this Connecticut and national drama.
Salazar had suggested that he would do this before the Connecticut primary election and has followed through on this now, despite calls from the vast majority of other Democrats who has supported Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, like Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), former Senator John Edwards and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rally around the voter’s choice, Lamont. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will also be backing primary winner Lamont according to Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)
According to 9News, at a Wednesday event for 7th District Democratic party nominee Ed Perlmutter, Salazar said in support of Lieberman:
He’s a very good friend of mine. I think if there’s a lesson to be taken from the Connecticut primary, it’s that people do want change. I think what happened with Senator Lieberman is that the people of Connecticut saw him as being too close to President Bush and I think the message that people were sending is that the country needs a new direction.
Translation: The people of Connecticut, even if they have good reasons, and the Democratic party are less important than my personal friendships.
Ken Salazar, one of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Senate (far more conservative than Lieberman in his voting record), was elected to his first term in 2004, and faces the voters again in 2010.
9News on the “Gang of 14”
The 9News story also deceptively says that both Lieberman and Salazar are part of the:
“Gang of 14,” a group of senators who banded together to preserve the Senate’s rules against partisanship.
The Group of 14, of course, did not such thing. Instead, they banded together to oppose the use of the filibuster in support of extremist conservative judicial nominees. There are no Senate rules against partisanship, as it is an inherently and intentionally partisan institution organized along party lines.
The Gang of 14 deal actually strengthened partisanship, to the detriment of Democrats, because the filibuster, by requiring a bipartisan majority to pass nominations and bills in the Senate, forces bipartisan cooperation, something that is not necessary when use of the filibuster is prevented.
Senate and party leaders have not yet indicated if Salazar or Lieberman will face any sanctions from the party for breaking ranks with it in this race.
Many people active in the Democratic party are pushing to have Lieberman stripped of his committee appointments in the U.S. Senate, because he run as an independent amounts to a resignation from the Democratic party, and political parties assign committee seats to the members in Congress.