Connecticut's Manchester Journal Inquirer reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (De Facto R) today unleashed a vicious attack on Vermont Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders - a longtime progressive hero and the leading candidate to keep Vermont's U.S. Senate seat out of GOP hands. According to the newspaper, the Lieberman campaign sent out an official email attacking, among others, Sanders and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of DailyKos.
From now on, I am going to be referring to Joe Lieberman as De Facto GOP Nominee Joe Lieberman and I urge everyone else covering this race to do so in the interest not of partisanship, but out of respect for objective accuracy. Over the last few days, it's very clear that is what Joe is. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is refusing to endorse the actual GOP nominee in Connecticut, and is instead heaping praise on Lieberman. Same thing for the White House, which is also refusing to endorse the actual GOP nominee in Connecticut. Lieberman has been telephoned with a supportive call from Karl Rove, GOP candidates accross the country are rallying to endorse him, and a Swift Boat Vets-ish front-group run by neocon leader William Kristol and Bush Iraq War spokesman Dan Senor is beginning to air ads on behalf of Lieberman. Meanwhile, Joe is parroting Vice President Cheney's talking points overtly implying that Connecticut voters are Al Qaeda sympathizers, and now attacking leading U.S. Senate candidates necessary to win back the Senate for Democrats.
But even if you don't believe Lieberman is the De Facto GOP Nominee in Connecticut from all of that, consider this new MSNBC story about GOP donors rallying to fund Lieberman's general election campaign:
"Quite willing to speak was Bruce Bialosky, a leading Republican donor in California, who said he will raise more than $10,000 for Lieberman....On Tuesday night, once Lamont had defeated Lieberman, Bialosky sent an e-mail to the 2,000 people on his political list 'expressing my despair over Lieberman's loss in the primary' and making it clear he'd raise money for Lieberman's independent bid. 'I've never seen such a tremendous response' from his list, Bialosky said...A Republican campaign fund-raiser based in Washington, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name, said, 'There's a definite sense among a significant number of the Republicans who I deal with that Joe Lieberman is a man of principle and a man we should support.' This fund-raiser said he'll contribute money to Lieberman's campaign and raise money for him."
This comes on top of the fact that, according to MSNBC, "a number of corporate PACs, such as the National Beer Wholesalers' PAC, have already given Lieberman the maximum amount permitted."
My favorite in the MSNBC story is the one supportive Democratic fundraiser, Mitchell Berger, who said he's supporting Lieberman because "He did a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party two years ago and raised a million dollars." Berger didn't mention that Lieberman also headed down to Florida just weeks before the 2004 election, stood before Jewish audiences, attacked Sen. John Kerry (D) and praised President Bush (R) on Israel issues - landing a big story in a major Florida newspaper just before the vote. Wow, what a loyal Democrat, huh?
But then, that's why Joe Lieberman is De Facto GOP Nominee Joe Lieberman: because he and his friends like New Republic editor Marty Peretz who refuse to openly support the idea of Democrats winning Congress are really very angry, very hard core Republicans - and the Republican Party's Big Money establishment knows it.