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"Don't Expect Democratization of Democracy to Be Pretty"

Joe Lieberman has quickly become the very sharp tip of the national Republican Party's spear - a spear that is aimed at the heart of the Democratic Party.
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The last 24 hours have witnessed a political earthquake. Ned Lamont's victory over Sen. Joe Lieberman has sent the national Republican Party into a tizzy of anger, the corporate wing of the Democratic Party into a deep depression, and the vast majority of ordinary citizens a message that their votes actually matter in our country's democracy. "What you're witnessing is the democratization of democracy and don't expect it to be pretty," said Carol Darr, director of George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. "The candidates and the parties are about to see that they are no longer in control of politics," Darr said.

But remember folks - though we were victorious, we have a huge battle ahead, both in Connecticut and around the country. In Connecticut, Lieberman 's exploitation of election loopholes that allow him to ignore the will of primary voters is fast becoming a magnet for national Republican Party activism. Here's what I mean:

In short, Joe Lieberman has quickly become the very sharp tip of the national Republican Party's spear - a spear that is aimed at the heart of the Democratic Party.

Sadly, the New York Times reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton yesterday "spoke warmly of her decades of friendship with Mr. Lieberman [and] stopped short of calling on the Connecticut senator to withdraw from the race." Meanwhile, at least one Democratic Senator - Ken Salazar - is endorsing Lieberman, claiming to the Denver Post that Democratic leaders in Washington have not urged him to respect Connecticut voters. While I'm not sure I believe Salazar, it nontheless raises questions I previously raised about whether the Washington, D.C. Democratic Establishment is truly behind Lamont, or whether they are trying to simultaneously bask in Lamont's glow of victory, while working to protect Lieberman - even as Lieberman goes on national television to disparage the Democratic Party. The New York Times today seems to confirm my fears, noting Senate Democrats "were notably less aggressive" than others in telling Lieberman to stand down with "several saying they thought it was insensitive" to call him to respect voters. Right, because in the Senate Democratic club, it's "insensitive" to tell a colleague to respect the will of actual voters, and "sensitive" to keep being nice to him and keep preserving his committee assignments even as he goes on national television to disaparage the Democratic Party.

All of this spells trouble for other Democrats, who, as I noted earlier, could get less resources because of Lieberman's disgusting move. Lieberman's people have tried to claim this is all Ned Lamont's fault - as one Lieberman supporter in Washington, D.C. argued in a radio debate with me yesterday, the Lieberman campaign actually expects the public to believe that Lamont's decision to be a candidate in a democratic election is some sort of mortal sin, and that Lieberman's willingness to exploit election law loopholes to ignore that democratic election is a virtue. But, simply put, that kind of twisted logic insults voters intelligence.

The way we can make sure that Lieberman's despicable behavior doesn't spell trouble for the Democratic Party is by making sure three simple things happen:

1) More Democratic icons like Sen. Russ Feingold, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, General Wes Clark courageously, enthusiastically and publicly endorse Lamont.

2) As many citizens as possible contact our Democratic Senators and Representatives and urge them to quickly endorse Lamont.

3) As many of us as possible donate to Ned Lamont and to the other Democratic candidates in key Senate and House races to make sure we get a Democratic Congress in 2006.

Joe Lieberman may be aggressively working to undermine the Democratic Party's prospects for a majority in 2006 - but as we showed this week, Joe Lieberman, his good friend George W. Bush, and all the professional political operatives in Washington don't get to control the political destiny of this country anymore - ordinary people do. We've got work to do, but as I told Reuters, it's now clear to everyone that our work produces real results - results that may not be pretty, consultant-packaged or poll-tested, but results that can create political earthquakes even in this era of Bush conservatism, Washington corruption, and establishment disdain for the democratic principles this country was founded on.

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