Eager to prove that the Democratic Party left him and not the other way around, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) urged his colleagues on Tuesday to move to the "center" following a humbling Senate race in Massachusetts.
"I think the message is from the voters of Massachusetts that people are anxious about the future and they're unhappy about what's happening in Washington," said the Connecticut Independent Democrat, during an interview on Fox News. "They're anxious about the economy, the continued high unemployment. They don't like all the partisanship and deal-making here in Washington. And they're really skeptical about the health care bill."
"So this is going to be a loud message from Massachusetts and whether it's right or wrong, I was impressed again by one of the national polls I saw yesterday that said two things; one is opposition to health care reform is very large among independents, unregistered with the party voters, and Massachusetts is thought of as a blue state and it generally does vote Democratic but almost 50% of the voters are unaffiliated so they've got the liberty to..."
Asked whether he was giving any additional consideration to formally leaving the Democratic Party to caucus with Republicans, Lieberman repeated that his intent was to remain in his current standing.
"I was elected as an independent but remained a registered Democrat so I'm with the Democratic caucus. So I call myself an Independent Democrat. I think the independents are speaking loudly around the country today and they're telling us: one, to get together in Washington [and] get some things [done]... Second thing is to do something about the economy and move to the center and worry about things that they're worried about."
The potential loss of Attorney General Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts Senate election is going to spark a major debate about the future direction of the Democratic Party. Undoubtedly, conservative Democrats like Lieberman will make the case that health care reform has effectively scared away a huge swath of Democratic-leaning independent voters. But the data, if anything, points to equal, if not more, concern over the inability of the administration to deliver on legislative promises. New numbers from the polling firm founded by Democratic consultants Stan Greenberg and James Carville reveals that while 46 percent of Republicans are intensely enthusiastic about the 2010 election, just 33 percent of Democrats feel the same way.