So much for Joementum

Under seige from the liberal blogs, Joe Lieberman may soon face a primary challenge from a "real" Democrat.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 18, 2005 2:37PM (EST)

If every liberal blogger in America up and moved to Connecticut, Joe Lieberman might have cause to worry about his job. The junior senator from the Constitution State has been in the cross-hairs of the blogosphere almost daily of late, and not without reason.

While Harry Reid is trying hard to keep Democrats united against the worst of the Bush agenda, Lieberman has sided again and again with the Republican majority in the Senate: He voted for the confirmations of Alberto Gonzales, Condoleezza Rice and Michael Chertoff; he voted for the Republicans' class-action reform bill; he has flirted with Senate Republicans on Social Security reform; and while he ultimately voted against the bankruptcy reform bill, he voted for cloture on the bill, helping deny Democrats their last best chance to stop it.

Moreover, Lieberman has gone out of his way to criticize fellow Democrats in the process. He's no Zell Miller, but Lieberman didn't win any love among liberals when he lectured his colleagues about the need to support Rice's nomination. And he won't be any more popular once liberals get a load of what he has to say in this week's New Yorker, where he opines that Howard Dean "was wrong on the war and what he was talking about was bad for the country."

Bloggers have begun to suggest that it's time for a "real" Democrat to challenge Lieberman in the 2006 primary. It appears they may get their wish. John Orman, a politics professor at Fairfield University, tells the Associated Press that he's thinking about making a run. "Our party's senator is no longer a Democrat," Orman told the AP. "He has joined the Republicrat Party. After 17 years as a safe-seat senator, Joe has lost touch with his party and with his state."

Orman may be half-right. While Lieberman has set himself apart from other Democrats, the man Josh Marshall calls "the dean of the fainthearted faction" remains wildly popular among Connecticut voters: According to the New York Times, recent polls show that more than two-thirds of the state's Democrats -- and more than two-thirds of the state's Republicans -- approve of the way Lieberman is handling his job. Orman says he understands that challenging Lieberman would be a challenge, but he sees a benefit in just trying: Having someone run to his left "could make Joe Lieberman be a Democrat for a year."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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