Bill Clinton Will Campaign For Joe Lieberman
Some people seem to think this is surprising:
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is rolling out the big gun in his increasingly close primary battle with Greenwich Democrat Ned Lamont.
Former President Bill Clinton is slated to campaign on behalf of the three-term incumbent Monday in Waterbury, Lieberman’s campaign spokeswoman said today.
“We are thrilled to have President Clinton come to the state to campaign for Senator Lieberman,” the spokeswoman, Marion Steinfels, said. “It is not only a big day for our campaign, but it is a big day for Waterbury and Connecticut.”
Actually, I’m from Connecticut and ANY DAY is a big day for Waterbury. MORE:
Steinfels said Clinton was expected to speak in the late afternoon, but added that plans for the event are still being made.
Clinton and Lieberman have known each other since Clinton worked on Lieberman’s first campaign for state Senate in 1970, when Clinton atended Yale University in New Haven, she said.
She also noted that Lieberman was the first senator from outside of the South to endorse Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign.
The bottom line is that when Clinton ran for President he and Lieberman most definitely belonged to the same faction of the party — the faction that was trying to make the Democrats more marketable to the general electorate and more in line with national political changes that put the country’s center a bit more to the right than in past years. AND:
Lieberman famously broke with Clinton in 1998 when he took the Senate floor to condemn the president’s marital infidelity as “immoral” and denounce his “premeditated” deception. The speech was widely interpreted as Lieberman’s stepping-stone to the Democrats’ vice presidential nomination two years later.
Clinton, in a recent speech at the Aspen Institute conference, defended Lieberman and his staunch support for the war in Iraq. He questioned why antiwar Democrats are seeking to oust a fellow Democrat, saying that instead of seeking to retire Republicans they were pursuing “the nuttiest strategy I ever heard in my life.”
So why is Clinton not getting even by avoiding Lieberman’s campaign (and jumping into the fray for Lieberman as polls show JL’s numbers in the primary are shrinking)?
The two share a political space plus a key political viewpoint: it’s the idea that in order for a political party to win it needs to be a tent that increasingly expands in size to allow more in. This runs counter to the view in segments of both the Republican and Democratic parties that some people need to be stopped at the door from getting in because they’re not pure enough for entry (the idea being that you’ll get more in your tent if people see like-minded people in it instead of some who won’t go along with political peer pressure). It’s a matter of fundamental political approach, as well as philosophy. And time (2006 and certainly 2008) will tell which approach was the wiser one.