Joe Lieberman-Dems’ McCain-Like “Maverick”-So They Purged Him From Their Party


Members from both of our major political parties have spent days regaling the late Senator John McCain’s willingness, throughout his congressional career, to “reach across the aisle”. 

Democrats, especially some of the most partisan ones, have been particularly lavish in their praise.  We can assume, given lots of the “GOP Maverick’s” non-conforming departures landed him firmly the Dem camp, much of that appreciation was genuinely heartfelt.  

But many of those sanctimonious pols heaping adulation on McCain’s bipartisan approach, while calling for more to follow in his footsteps, were part of the cabal that purged their own McCain-like senator, Joe Lieberman from the Democrat Party.  

Leiberman, representing the deep blue state of Connecticut, was as a fellow so in tune with his Republican colleague from Arizona that John was seriously considering asking Joe to run as his Vice President in 2008.  

It wouldn’t have been his first time running for the number two spot on a presidential ticket.  Lieberman, then a highly regarded senator sitting for two full terms, was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. 

Yet, a short 6 years later, after having been previously elected by 64% of the vote, he was defeated in the Democrat primary by Ned Lamont.  He decided to run as an independent.  Hillary Clinton supported Lamont while then Democrat heavyweight Howard Dean called on Joe to quit the race, claiming he was “being disrespectful of Democrats and disrespectful of the Democrat Party.” 

In the kind of nonconformist style that his fellow Dems found so incredibly laudable in McCain, Lieberman’s bid for reelection found big-name support from “the other side”.  GOP stalwarts such as Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani joined some honorable Democrats, and he won by 10 points.

It was his last campaign. Joe Lieberman, principled Democrat Maverick, left the Senate after having served 4 consequential, scandal-free terms.  But unlike his bipartisan brother-in-arms, John McCain, there were no Dem tears shed over Joe’s loss.  

Lieberman’s courageous willingness to find common ground with Republicans on critical issues was more than leading Democrats could take. He went from VP nominee to persona non grata, to pariah.  Joe Lieberman was purged from the “Big Tent Party” and many of today’s chest clutching Democrats, calling for the kind of civility he faithfully provided, couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

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5 years ago

Thank you Greg for your knowledge and perspective.

5 years ago

From the bits and pieces I have read it looks like we are seeing a repeat of the Paul Wellstone memorial, on in the reverse. If this is true it could backfire just as was at that time.

When a person uses a memorial for their own political frustration it is indicative they have a cavalier and dismissive attitude on the part of the person who passed away. There is actually no concern for the passing when emotion is centered elsewhere. As in so many facets in culture and life the center is an afterthought. How is it a “memorial” to the person being memorialized when that person is not the focus.

By definition, which is changing day by day, a “memorial” is “in memory” of some person. With the countless people directing the comments to the President it suggests that Trump is the primary factor in McCain’s life. If it is about His remark, is that to say McCain’s “life” was related and
determined by the President.

I can certainly understand having memorials for people who were public figures, even politicians. But to have more than a week of memorials borders on nauseating. I don’t care how great a person is I seriously doubt anyone deserves this much coverage and memorials. Even Presidents haven’t received this much attention. Was his importance of such magnitude that overshadows all others. None of this is warranted. It is Wellstone revisited.

I suspect the cue was given by McCain’s own wishes. McCain wasn’t the only one who felt the sting from the Trump campaign. When Trump used those arrows I took it as a “message” to the opponents. Whatever candidate would succeed they Had to Face the “Clinton Machine”. This isn’t something you take lightly. They would use anything and everything to beat the person into the ground. Therefore, the others had to “taste” the type of onslaught the Clinton machine would unleash. If they are unable to withstand such arrows they would fail. Cruz felt the arrow and was unable to survive, and thus would have failed against Clinton. But, Cruz had just cause to be an antagonist against Trump in the same manner as McCain but eventually he overcame his animosity.

Sure, it would be nice to see politics be about ideas and honest discourse among opponents, but that most certainly went out the window when Republicans regained the House in 94. From that time on the Democrats have used the most vile of accusations that have continued to this day. The difference Now is, Trump has “returned the favor”, and all those who now speak against are furious he uses Their own tactics against Them, media and all. They all just need to “Get Over It”.

Frank S.
Frank S.
5 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Eloquently stated Greg.