As US Senator Joe Lieberman’s future with his former party hangs in the balance everyone seems to have an opinion about whether he should stay or go.
As the voices in Connecticut to punish Lieberman for working against the Democratic presidential ticket grow louder, one New York lawyer in his early 30s, who asked to remain anonymous, hopes to reason with the opposition through his new Web site: Let Joe Stay.
The Web site started after the election encourages Democrats to keep Lieberman in the caucus.
Keep reading our Q and A with the mystery blogger to find out what he thinks and how he seeks to influence the debate in Washington DC and Connecticut.
Q: What prompted you to take the time to start a web site as opposed to sending a letter to the editor of a major newspaper or just commenting on other web sites?
A: I actually did write a few letters to a couple of newspapers and posted some comments on various websites but I realized that it’s not really going to have any affect. Similarly, the problem with writing to Congressmen and Senators is that one letter on its own does not carry much (or any) weight. At best you’ll have a twenty year old intern send you a form letter stating that the Congressman appreciates your concern and so on. However, if you can mobilize a large amount of people to contact an individual Congressman, that Congressman will take notice. Blogging is one of the fastest and most effective ways for a person to get his message out to a multitude of like-minded people. I felt that this was the best route to go.
Q: How do you plan on influencing the debate in Washington?
A: I’m hoping that readers of the blog will contact Senator Harry Reid and members of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and tell them that Senator Lieberman should not be expelled from the Democratic caucus or stripped of his Chairmanship positions. After all, this is a man who votes with the Democratic Party 90% of the time on domestic issues. Why would we want to ostracize an ally?
Q: Would you still support Lieberman if he took the Republicans offer and switched parties?
A: No… but I don’t think that would happen. With the exception of foreign policy, what do the Republicans and Joe Lieberman have in common? He is still in line with the general progressive platform of the Democratic Party.
Q: Should Lieberman remain a Democrat if he’s stripped of his chairmanship?
A: Yes. Senator Lieberman is the Chairman of these committees and should stay Chairman. If the Democratic Party wants to punish him for not toeing the party line and putting his convictions and friendship above the party nomination, so be it. But he shouldn’t abandon the party because of that. You know, there was always that kid in elementary school who would exclaim “this is my ball, and if you don’t play my game I’m taking it and going home.” That’s not what’s going on here. Senator Lieberman’s beliefs and political views are still in line with the Democratic Party. For Senator Lieberman to caucus with the Republicans would mean ignoring his ideals. That’s not the type of person that he is. If anything, this last election shows he sticks to his ideals, no matter how unpopular they may be.
Q: Do a majority of people you know support Lieberman’s decision to campaign with McCain?
A: Depends – are we talking Democrats or Republicans? Most people I know who are Democrats think he crossed the line but understand why he felt he had to do it. My friends that are Republicans (obviously) thought it was the greatest thing since Zell Miller.
Q: Why should the Democrats welcome Lieberman back into the caucus?
A: “Welcome” is a tough word. I don’t think they should (or would) throw a parade for the man, but he should be allowed back. As you know, Senator Lieberman (and the Senate’s other independent, Bernard Sanders of Vermont) vote with the Democratic caucus on most occasions and have given the Democrats what amounts to a 51-to-49 majority. He could have easily have said “you supported Ned Lemont. I’m out of here.” But he didn’t. I’m all for the concept of one good deed deserves another.
Q: Why do you want to remain anonymous?
A: I’m not a politician and I’m not looking for publicity. I simply want people who feel the way I do to know there are others like them. Once your name gets out there, these things tend to become more about you than about the issue. I just want to keep the focus on Senator Lieberman’s role in the Democratic Party.